Lesson 8 extends our thinking from the previous lesson on personal memories from different perspectives in order to build up an understanding of collective memory. The coolest part: your students themselves will be immersed in collective remembering as they watch the video about a staged theft.
Goal: for everyone to gain an understanding and appreciation for how memory is shared in groups.
- This class’s discussion is a lot more free-form, so be sure to modify your questions in order to guide the discussion to a concrete understanding of collective remembrance. Especially for younger students, make things tangible with your own experiences.
- For the drawing activity, be sure to provide enough structure for your students, depending on their age, so that they can successfully engage with the assignment.
Please include suggestions, questions, and comments below:
Today’s class is really awesome! I struggled to make it work in a virtual format, but I think it will be really successful in a physical classroom. It is a station-based lesson where students explore examples of different media through which communities remember traumatic memories. I wanted to bring in different performances of remembrance like eulogies, memorials, artwork, and apologies, though you should feel empowered to change those as you see fit. Have fun!
Goal: for everyone to gain an appreciation for how groups collectively remember traumatic memories.
- Since some of the material is really heavy and might evoke sad feelings/memories in students, I would recommend making a statement at the beginning of class that recognizes that and holds space for those feelings. I would also suggest that you give students the option to talk to you or step out of the room at any time if they are feeling strongly.
Today’s lesson is a unique investigation into the practice of history – how do we know what happened in the past? Whose accounts do we believe/privilege? What is the relationship between history and memory? Students will complete an activity that directly compares different textbooks, examining them as primary sources that point to different historical narratives. This will also set up tomorrow’s class on controversy in history.
Goal: for everyone to gain an understanding of how history is written.
- Following the textbook activity, the class discussion remains really free-form. You may want to have a socratic-style seminar where students lead the discussion and talk about their critical examinations of historical narratives. You may choose to lead a more structured discussion about the role of power in controlling popular/public knowledge. It may also be really amazing to talk about the current climate of local activists and researchers identifying and sharing long-repressed historical narratives.
This lesson was originally designed around students being able to explore the 1619 Project website on their own before a class-wide discussion. But since NYT is the worst, I had to troubleshoot on the spot. As you look over this lesson plan, you may choose to scrap the lesson entirely since it covers controversial topics. If you do choose to do the lesson, you should think about how you want to redesign the first half of the lesson. Do you want to do stations where students read either excerpts from the 1619 Project or the 1776 Commission? Do you want them to read an article about CRT arguments in a local school district? Alternatively, perhaps it would be best to spend the first half of class having students learn about something they have never been taught before, something erased from the historical narrative (ex. the Tuskegee Syphilis Studies). Whatever you decide, please don’t put your job/livelihood at risk, especially if you are working in an educational space.
Goal: to gain a vocabulary to describe current historical controversies.
This was one of my best lessons, I think because of the engaging nature of the material and my ability to get students invested in a question like “Are Instagram filters a form of lying?”. Ultimately, this lesson aims to show students that in many ways, photography is just as fallible as memory, just in different ways. It is sure to blow their minds!
Goal: to gain an appreciation for the similarities and differences between photography and memory.
Please include your recommendations and advice for others who might want to use this lesson plan below:
One of my favorite things about memories is how they can attach themselves to physical places and objects. Today’s class is all about understanding that phenomenon through reading Levi Romero’s “Woodstove of My Childhood”.
Goal: to understand how memory attaches to objects and places.
- Your students may need some additional support throughout this lesson, because they are learning a new language to describe how memory attaches itself to objects/spaces and because they are combining these ideas with collective memory. This is a big jump, though it may not feel like it. So, be sure to give more thorough explanations and lots of examples from your own personal life if you sense they need additional guidance.
Get ready for an exciting and fun class! Today, students take on the role of judges as they not only investigate how memorials express collective memories, but also determine what makes a memorial good or bad.
Goals: to start exploring memorials and the memories they communicate.
- Students may need some help in their small groups as they discuss the criteria for what makes a good memorial. Be sure to be moving around the classroom to help as needed.
- During the judging panel, consider whether you want to share the context for each memorial before students vote, after they vote, or not at all. I would recommend sharing before so that students understand both the message and aesthetics of each memorial, but it is totally up to you!
- I would recommend introducing the final project to your students at least a day or two earlier so that they have more time to think about what event or movement they want to commemorate with a memorial. In regard to the nature of the final project itself, I have many notes/suggestions about how to make it most meaningful for your students. Read about them here.
During class today, students will have time to really begin working on their projects, including identifying their topic (the event/movement their memorial will commemorate) and starting their research.
Goal: for everyone to decide what event or movement their memorial will be about and to begin their research.
- These last few lessons will likely need more deliberate modification on your end so that students have enough time and support to complete projects that they can be proud of. See more recommendations/considerations for the final project here.
- The neuroscience review activity can easily be moved to a lesson earlier in the class. You may also choose to cut it, especially if you feel that your students need more time working on their projects. With that said, I think it adds a nice full-circle moment of testing students’ own long-term memories that also subtly communicates to them the importance of being deliberate about what you remember.
Another work day! Depending on your class’s pacing and structure, your students may develop their memorial designs today, which is really exciting progress.
Goal: create a design for your memorial that meaningfully captures the message you want to convey.
Particularly in regard to the final project, be sure to comment your advice for organizing and structuring the assignment below:
Today’s class is another extended work day where all students should begin creating their memorials, whether that means drawing, building, or CAD-ing them. Your goal is to help students who are behind to catch up to that point.
Goal: start creating your memorials!
- I would strongly encourage you to add an additional class between this class (Lesson 17) and the following one (Lesson 18) so that students have an extra work day to create their memorials, especially for younger students who may be working on their projects entirely during class time and not at home.