Like MJ noted, I’m going to start off class tomorrow with some targeted discussion on what is going on in Japan. Some resources I’ll show on the overhead include the following links:
I’ll start out with selected scenes from the Big Picture
Then I’ll move to the New York times first with an interactive before/after picture sequence:
And then follow with a quick animated sequence to explain the problem with the nuclear plants:
By that time everybody will be pretty bummed about everything, so I’ll shift gears dramatically and roll with an idea I stole off of Ben’s Blog last year, and which I expect to provide a much needed lightening of the tone.
Jeff Klamka sent this “Tournament of Awesomeness” idea into Ben last year to correspond with the NCAA Basketball tournament, and I really had a blast with it. Basically your upper level students nominate the 32 or 64 most awesome things in the world, and you create a bracket which pairs them off against each other (the beach vs. mini corn dogs; snow day vs. Justin Bieber). Your students debate the merits of each, you tally the votes, and then move onto the next round. Full details are found here:
Last year we really had a lot of fun doing this, and we got some great debates going and had a lot of fun. As it stands I am emphasizing the structures used to provide reasons (because/so that/in order to) with my upper level classes right now anyway, so this will dovetail with that perfectly.
Last year I only did 32 items, but this year I’ll do 64 spread out over two classes, so their respective brackets will go up against each other. When it gets down to the final eight, my upper level students will make PowerPoints to show to all of my classes, who will then all get to vote on the ultimate winner.
Also last year, I didn’t learn about this until the NCAA tournament was almost finished so I just did them a few days back to back. This year I’ll do the voting to correspond with the actual tournament rounds (the rounds of 64 and 32 this week; the rounds or 16 and 8 next week; the final rounds the following week). Actually we’ll have spring break during the finals week, so we’ll start making our PowerPoints by the end of next week.
Is this too much for one day? Yeah, but I’ll deal with that when I get to it. We’ll learn a bit, we’ll mourn a bit, we’ll have some fun. I love how TPRS is flexible enough to provide a forum to process what is going on in the world–both the tragic as well as the fun– in a way that makes sense for our students.