Maybe this has happened to you: someone tells a joke - and you don't get it. But everybody else is laughing. What do you do? I'm betting it depends on the amount of energy you have, right? Sometimes you'll fake it and laugh along, not wanting to look stupid. Sometimes you'll roll your eyes and act like you're above the joke. Occasionally, you'll look confused or stare blankly at the person telling the joke.
Nobody wants to be on the outside. People don't want to feel stupid.
Yesterday on facebook, there was a lot of talk going around about the attacks on the Libyan Embassy . Sometimes I have students ask why they need to learn "this stuff." I asked them about the joke - mentioned above, and asked how many of them have facebook. Certainly, at their age, most are probably not commenting on Libya. But the idea is the same: it is important to be informed and stay informed, and (in general) nobody likes looking stupid. If I didn't know a little bit about Islam, Muslims, Libya, the Arab Spring, etc... I would have been an intellectual outsider.
In class, we transitioned from the 9/11 attacks (and the reasons for them) into a discussion about foreign policy - that different countries have different cultures, customs and laws. We discussed Islamic extremists and the Westboro Baptist Church. We talked about embassies and ambassadors.
I used the embassy discussion to jump into the topic of cultures. We'll spend a little bit of time on this.
If you want the extra credit for reading the blog today, you have to read it and discuss it with an adult. Maybe discuss why Osama Bin Laden attacked the U.S. What are Navy SEALs? What is an extremist?... Bring up those types of questions.
When you're done, write two thoughts or questions from the discussion you had. Then, have the adult you discussed it with sign the paper.