Note: Student workshops can be adapted as needed to accommodate student needs’ (Interactive to lecture style, flipped classroom or online as well as different levels of English). For additional information about workshops, lesson extensions and resources visit https://reneebrekkeebbott.com/.
Friday night lights and other traditions that define the high school experience
From Friday night football games under the stadium lights to homecoming parades and prom formals, social and athletic traditions are embedded in the American high school student experience. This workshop presentation will describe a variety of US high school traditions, from the thrilling to the silly, and look at how the covid pandemic impacted social events and high school culture. We will explore the role student leaders play in planning and implementing these traditions and creating the school climate they desire. Content supports the interdisciplinary topic 2.5.1 Health and Life Skills
Can’t we all just get along? Life skills that promote respect and mutual understanding
Politics, racism, climate, guns…these are just some of the social issues dividing the US today but if we take time to listen to one another, perhaps we can find common ground. This interactive workshop will give pupils the opportunity to build respect for differences of opinion and promote mutual understanding by exploring the concept of identity. Norwegian pupils will explore the identity stories of American teenagers, compare them to their own identities, and discuss how we can understand perspectives different from our own. Content supports the interdisciplinary topic 2.5.1 Health and life skills.
Stress, anxiety and depression: Physical and mental health in American Schools
The transition into adulthood is naturally marked by immense physical and emotional changes, but today’s youth are facing additional threats to their mental health. This interactive workshop will describe current mental health issues plaguing American teens including stress, anxiety and depression and school efforts to support the physical and mental health of their students. Norwegian pupils will have the opportunity to share their own strategies for making good health choices in the face of life’s many challenges. Content supports interdisciplinary topic 2.5.1 Health and life skills.
Vaccines, Democracy and Human Rights: Choosing between individual freedoms and social responsibility
At what point do civil liberties take a backseat to the common good? When, if ever, is a mandate necessary? These dilemmas, sparked by the covid anti-vaccine movement, may have lasting impacts on the health of our society. This interactive workshop will analyze the relationship between democracy and the right to freedom of speech through the lens of the current anti-vaccine movement in the US. We will think critically about the impact of misinformation on American society and individual decision making. Content supports interdisciplinary topic 2.5.2 Democracy and citizenship.
The American dream through the eyes of Latinx students
The pursuit of prosperity and success in a society with few barriers, the American Dream, this is the individual success story in the US. It is undeniable, however, that some people face more barriers than others. How do public schools support our Latin American immigrant families and what can we do better? This workshop presentation will address current immigration issues from border camps to educational access We will promote compassion and understanding for immigrant students and highlight their role as contributing members of society in their pursuit of the American Dream. Content supports interdisciplinary topic 2.5.2 Democracy and citizenship
Mountain People: The story of the Ute North American Indian Tribe
Scattered throughout the sage-covered hills of western Colorado lies evidence of the first inhabitants to roam these mountaintops 10,000 years ago. Like a timeline in the soil, stone tools and remains of ancient structures tell stories of what life was like hunting and gathering on this rugged land, where the Ute creation story begins. Through this multimedia presentation, pupils will learn the story of the Ute, think critically about the history of indiginous people in the US and discuss present day movements to confront racist social structures. Content supports interdisciplinary topics 2.5.2 Democracy and citizenship and 2.5.3 Sustainable development.
Water: The lifeblood of the American West
Beginning its course high in the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado River flows 2,330 kilometers through 7 states and two nations until it reaches the Pacific Ocean. It is the lifeblood of the western US, a critical water supply for nearly 40 million Americans and vast desert ecosystems, but it is being rung dry. Drought, demand and outdated water management threatens the future of this majestic river and the life that depends on it. Through this multimedia presentation pupils will think critically about the imminent water crisis in the American Southwest and explore practices that promote sustainability and the future of water. Content supports interdisciplinary topic 2.5.3 Sustainable development.