Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chief Red Jacket -Lecture to a Missionary

My students are fond of the phrase "you got told" as a way of expressing that someone was just put in their place or taught a lesson.  The speech we are going to look at today is the best historical example of that I have ever seen. You are about to see how Chief Red Jacket used logic, well reasoned argument and a very respectful tone to tell a group of white missionaries to buzz off.

Chief Red Jacket's Lecture to a Missionary (1805)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Martin Luther King -A Stride Toward Freedom

 We have seen how Thoreau's ideas on civil disobedience influenced Gandhi. Today we will see how those ideas were used during the American civil rights movement.
"Prior to reading Gandhi, I had about concluded that the ethics of Jesus were only effective in individual relationships. The "turn the other cheek" philosophy and the "love your enemies" philosophy were only valid, I felt, when individuals were in conflict with other individuals; when racial groups and nations were in conflict a more realistic approach seemed necessary. But after reading Gandhi, I saw how utterly mistaken I was."  -MLK

We will read an excerpt from Stride Toward Freedom by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You will work with a partner to read the text and answer the questions on this form about what you read.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Modern Examples of Civil Disobedience

These four articles all deal with recent examples of Civil Disobedience.  In a way they have all been successful because they brought enough attention to their cause to make the news, but some are more likely to create real change than others.

Read through the articles. Think about what you know now about Civil Disobedience. Evaluate which of these cases is the most likely to result in real changes.

Write an entry in your English Journal to explain which case of Civil Disobedience is the most likely to result in change and why you think that.

UC Fee Hikes
Cindy Sheehan
Nuns Arrested
Blue Shield

Note: This post seems to be one of the most popular on my classroom blog. Teachers may want to follow me on twitter @jenroberts1 or check out another blog I write about teaching.

Following the thought train

So yesterday Blogger was having technical issues and would not show me a login screen.  This is the post I would have put up for you yesterday if I had been able to. Through the magic of tiny URL we were still able to read and discuss the text.

Keep in mind some of the questions that came up in our conversation.
  1. Does Civil Disobedience always work? 
  2. Why does it work? 
  3. When does it work? 
  4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Civil Disobedience? 
  5. How does what Gandhi says in his first paragraph compare to what Obama says about Afghanistan? 

Good Morning, (Monday)
   If you've been with us you should know by now what Emerson said in Self Reliance, and what Thoreau said in Civil Disobedience. Today we will see their thinking magnified by Mohandas K. Gandhi.

 You know that America was once one of many British colonies. India was also a British colony. In the 1930's Gandhi used his ideas about civil disobedience, his word was satyagraha, to help free India from British rule.

Today we will read a short excerpt from his speech on Civil Disobedience if you would like to read the full text you can find it here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thoreau Part Two

Good morning,

On Friday you read parts of Civil Disobedience by Thoreau.  You worked with your group to answer questions and you submitted your answers to me with the form.  Your answers went into my spread sheet.
Today I would like you to take a look at all the answers that went into the spread sheet. Read carefully.  Spread Sheet of Thoreau Answers

English Journal
1. Choose one answer you think is good. (Not one you wrote.) Copy and paste it into your EJ and EXPLAIN why you think it is a good answer. Try using different colors to make it clear which is the quoted answer and which is your explanation.
2. Then pick an answer you think was not sufficient or missed the point. EXPLAIN why it is wrong. Write what it should say.

Look at these articles about Civil Disobedience. In your EJ explain the connection between these issues and what Thoreau said.

UC Fee Hikes
Cindy Sheehan
Nuns Arrested
Blue Shield

Friday, December 4, 2009

What was Thoreau thinking?

Good morning,

Remember we may have visitors today and we may not.
  1. To start please vote in the poll at the right, (the one about how much you liked the ideas in Self Reliance)
  2. Then write an entry in your English journal to explain why you voted the way you did.
Emerson had a friend named Henry David Thoreau.  Thoreau was also a writer.  His ideas changed our country and our world. (I know that's a big claim, but we will see how.)

Today you will read an excerpt from his essay "Civil Disobedience" with 2-3 other people. Together you will need to figure out the answers to some tough questions about what it says.  You'll submit your responses to me in writing using THIS FORM. You'll need one person to submit the form with all your names. You can use docs or e-mail to share your answers with the person in your group responsible for the form.

These are the questions you will find on the form:
  1. What does Thoreau think about majority rule?
  2. What does Thoreau think about the military?
  3. How does he say we should deal with unjust laws?
  4. Why does Thoreau refuse to pay his taxes?
  5. What does he think of jail? 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Emerson Round Two

Good morning,

Lets go through Self Reliance again. Our excerpt is not long but it is dense in ideas and vocabulary. Remember our goal is to be able to explain what Emerson is saying.

Now copy and paste this section into your English journal. Explain Emerson's point in this section. Then give your opinion about his point. (Remember, explanation first and opinion second.)
"What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude..."

Important! Tomorrow! Thursday 12/3  We (ok, I mean YOU) take our second in class essay assessment. It is a part of your grade.  You will have to read, understand and explain what someone else wrote and then give your opinion.  Take a look at the RUBRIC I have to use to score those.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Good morning,
Have you thought about that question I gave you yesterday, "How do you decide what is right and what is wrong?"
There is a poll on the right. Please vote so we can see what influences us as a group.

Today we read excerpts from "Self Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson.  The entire text of this essay is quite long, but I am providing a link in case you want to see more.  (Your textbook has these same excerpts.)