Sometimes I think social studies classes are misrepresented, or at least common perception of them is off. I think people picture us setting up a DVD player (some parents probably imagine us setting up a film strip projector...) on day one, pressing play, then kicking our feet up the rest of the year while getting paid a modest salary for relatively little work.
Hopefully this blog will help dispel some of those rumors. We watch very few movies in here. We do usually hit a couple big ones - Gandhi and Promises - but other than that they are rare. (Even the big ones we usually trim down to fit into a week or two...)
Well, today was an exception - and I may add an exception that didn't take up the entire period. We watched the last of the monotheistic religions videos today. Each one lasts about 20 minutes and gives some insight into the religions we're studying. Obviously, at 20 minutes there's only so much that can get covered, but they're a nice way to introduce the religion.
I don't think students get a whole lot of the video itself. They get far more from the discussions that follow. Tomorrow we'll go over the sheets that they were to fill out during the movie. Honestly, it's a way for them to get some free points. It helps them stay focused and follow along, but it's not a big deal if they miss an answer because we go over it together in class later.
The beginning of class was taken up with a discussion of religious extremism. I thought it went pretty well. I would love to show a 2 minute summary video about that to all my classes, but there are no good ones out there. Go ahead and search youtube for yourself. They either have an anti-religion bias, or they have an anti-religion-that-isn't-Christian bias. I don't really feel comfortable showing either of those in class. (If you do find one, please attach it to this blog as a comment.)
For today, discuss the following questions after reading the blog: what is religious extremism? Do you think Islam gets a bad rap? Give some instances of religious extremism other than Islamic Extremism? We talked about people willing to kill or die for their faith. Is there anything you're willing to die for? If so, what? Would that make you an extremist? Why or why not?
To get the extra credit, write the following on a piece of paper: I'm an extremist when it comes to skateboarding. Backside 50/50 baby. Parents/Adult signing paper... (oh yeah, kids... you still have to get it signed...) by signing that scrap of paper you're saying your kid really did read and discuss the blog and questions with you.)