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Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Making Civics Real Workshop 5: Patriotism & Foreign Policy  
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Workshop 5

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Teacher Perspectives
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Teacher Perspectives: The lesson

Alice Chandler: My learning objective is to include the arts with United States government regarding foreign policy and patriotism because when my students leave Ellington, they may have opportunities to work for the State Department since they are here in Washington, D.C. I want them to understand the appropriate themes and people and places that they could possibly use if they were called upon to do so. This is really a long-term goal. Students can use, as a part of their resume, that they have prepared an interactive museum. The other students, if they are called upon [to perform at the White House or the Capitol] will understand what it is that they should be addressing regarding foreign policy, especially from their particular art. So I really have a goal that is beyond the classroom. They will have this for a lifetime. I hope that they really understand foreign policy and that they’ll be able to bring it into a reality for themselves as they begin to brainstorm and put together some ideas.

This was the first time I’ve tried this lesson on any class. I was very pleased that they were able to take the information we had discussed earlier [and combine it] with what I added to date. The pivotal piece was that the class brought added meaning [by] playing off one another as peers. However, I did not realize that it was going to go in so many different directions. I think they really covered more than I expected. I’m very pleased that they remembered a lot of their American history, which would have been last year’s work. I didn’t have to add as much foundation as I had expected to. They really did answer the questions in a comprehensive form. I realized in giving them the worksheet, that they were aware of many of those terms. When I handed out the rubric, there didn’t seem to be much of a concern about what was expected of them. The students were able to grasp the concept of patriotism, and in many instances, roll it over into foreign policy and see that link in their art, for example, when Laura mentioned Katherine Dunham and how she had gone to the Caribbean and been a voodoo priestess. Then Myra asked me about Bob Hope and [I was able to direct her to] a Library of Congress exhibit that was online.

I would say that the most challenging part for our students would be the foreign policy piece. I think they have a grasp of what patriotism is or is not. When it comes to foreign policy, I think they [typically] come in contact with it when they see cars block the intersections or flags up around the White House or [when they are] going through Embassy Row.


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