Reading, Diversity & Global Learning Student Project for English 1101 & 1121
Prof. Nadine (Weinstein) Lavi
English Department at NYCCT
English 1101 & 1121
Activity Description: Provide a brief description of the activity
Students will examine an historical text, Alfred Schenker’s Secret War Diary, 1941-43 for:
A. 1. Analysis: Understanding of the context, content, spirit, and message
2. Place-based learning: Discovery & research of the names and places mentioned in the diary
B. 1. COMPARISON of a comparable, current event in terms of ethics, ethnicities, discriminatory issues, cultural understanding.
2. Place-based learning: Discovery of places related to the comparable event
C. HIEP: Diversity & Global Learning
Students will explore the cultural sensitivities/insensitivities of the primary text (diary) and the comparable historical or current event in a place-based context or otherwise (analytical – report/research paper, visual – PowerPoint presentation)
Learning Goals: What do you aim to achieve with this activity?
Students will a. engage with the primary text for discovery and analysis of its themes, names, places, and events to learn about it from a firsthand account and to challenge their own assumptions and perceptions, b. research and analyze a second historical or current event with similar themes (oppression, cultural prejudices, racism, genocide, etc.) to question and examine their assumptions and perceptions about it, c. determine how it affects them and their lives.
Timing: At what point in the lesson or semester do you use this activity? How much classroom time do you devote to it? How much out-of-class time is expected?
A mid-semester initial research gathering could qualify as a low-stakes assignment. Students can then do a Part 2 of a PowerPoint presentation with visuals about names and places in the diary and the comparable event. Students may then elect to add to the PowerPoint and/or write a report or research paper as an end of the semester high stakes assignment in lieu of a Final Exam (or use another text for that instead).
Logistics: What preparation is needed for this activity? What instructions do you give students? Is the activity low-stakes, high-stakes, or something else?
Students will follow a guided modeling of research by me, their professor, of either a similar event or something from the diary, and then have to do their own research about the diary and their comparable event.
A place-based component could involve locating places that were mentioned in the diary based on a theme, e.g. a. all of the bars where the Jewish Militia invited the Gestapo to get them drunk before they did the "actions"- rounding up and killing Jews, b. cross referencing various names of people and places that are mentioned in the diary to find out as much information as possible about specific figures or places, and c. doing the same for a local (NYC-based) place-based event, e.g. all of the bars where Mafia met to plan hits, or slave-based locations (slave auctions, cemeteries, etc.)
Assessment: How do you assess this activity? What assessment measures do you use? Do you use a VALUE rubric? If not, how did you develop your rubric? Is your course part of the college-wide general education assessment initiative?
The Reading Rubric from CityTech would be handed out to the students to use as a guide.
They would have to incorporate the answers to four questions assessing their experience in the PowerPoint presentation or report or research paper:
Students will incorporate 4 KEY QUESTIONS into the REPORT or POWERPOINT to show how the analysis, research, and discovery about Alfred Schenker’s Secret War Diary, 1941-43 and the COMPARABLE HISTORICAL/CURRENT EVENT impacted them:
1. What assumptions did I originally have about a. the Holocaust and b. the Comparable Historical/Current Event I have researched and analyzed?
2. What did I learn about each one?
3. How have my ideas/perspectives about each one changed?
4. How does this affect/impact me personally in terms of relating, values, my life, my vision?
Reflection: How well did this activity work in your classroom? Would you repeat it? Why or why not? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you address them? What, if anything, would you change? What did students seem to enjoy about the activity?
Having used this text as a primary source for several semesters, I have found that the students respond to it, but by adding a new dimension of 1. a comparable event for them to research that is either historical or current, that is 2. also place-based (e.g. in NYC), it would make it more immediate and have a greater impact, but I will have to wait and see how it goes.
Additional Information: Please share any additional comments and further documentation of the activity – e.g. assignment instructions, rubrics, examples of student work, etc. These can be links to pages or posts on the OpenLab.
Please share a helpful link to a pages or post on the OpenLab