All workshops can be adjusted to meet the language level of any class, just ask!
Youth and the Civil Rights Movement: From Emmett Till and The Birmingham Children’s Crusade to Modern Popular Representations
The role of youth in the Civil Rights Movement was invaluable to its success and the start of activist groups and organizations that still thrive in America today. This workshop examines the stories of the youth activists, how they came to the movement, and the role they played in fighting for social justice. Starting with Emmett Till and The Children’s Crusade and moving toward modern representation of youth’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement in young adult literature, television, and film, we will examine the American Civil Rights Movement’s impact on youth.
The American Teenager: Beginnings and Portrayals in Literature and Film
The concept of the American teenager is less than 100 years old. It was not until the rise of high school attendance in the 1950s that a culture of the American teenager began to take shape. Teenagers started to participate in extracurricular groups and activities as a way to occupy time previously spent in the workplace. With the advent of teenage culture, American business and media began to sell and create images of American teenagers. This workshop addresses the historical roots of the American teenager and explores the evolution of teenage culture in popular culture, literature, and film.
Athletes as Activists
The recent #TakeAKnee protests by National Football League players across the United States caused controversy and questions about the role of athletes. There has been a growing controversy in public media about whether or not athletes should use their public platform for activism. Yet, athletes as activists is not a new phenomenon. This workshop explores ways American athletes have made political statements on and off the field. We will examine athletes such as Jackie Robinson, Althea Gibson, Muhammad Ali, Wilma Rudolph, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, Etan Thomas, Bill Russell, and Colin Kaepernick and their activist stories.
Rock-n-roll and jazz are two music genres that originated and evolved in the United States. Jazz emerged out of New Orleans, Louisiana in the early 1900s and rock’s roots are found in the 1940s and 1950s African American music of jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, gospel, and country. This workshop explores the history and beginnings of jazz and rock-n-roll and how they evolved over the past 100 years. We will discuss the connection from some better-known artists as well as those who are often forgotten to see the connection between the origins of jazz, rock, and more modern music genres.
DACA and DREAMers: Fighting Against a Wall
The 2016 United States Presidential Election heightened the long-standing immigration debate in the United States. This workshop focuses on the DREAM Act (Development Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). We will discuss the background of each and how the recent political climate in the United States has impacted the undocumented youth. We will look at examples of how DREAMers have fought for the DREAM Act and formed organizations such as United We Dream to protect immigrants and fight for rights and against discrimination of undocumented youth.
Hamilton versus Jefferson: Cabinet Battle #1 and the U.S. National Bank
Through a close reading of Cabinet Battle #1 from Act II of the musical, in this workshop students will learn more about the differences between the Democratic-Republicans (Thomas Jefferson) and the Federalists (Alexander Hamilton).
Who Tells Your Story? Point of View and Narrative
Using songs such as Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story, Alexander Hamilton, and My Shot, this workshop will explore the ways in which different individuals view events in extremely different ways. How do we view our lives and experiences differently? How does that change how we talk about history?
Thinking Like a Writer: Approaching Writing Complex Texts
Students often struggle with how to approach writing assignments and writing tests. This workshop focuses on engaging students with thinking about what it means to be a writer and how to approach the task of writing longer, more complex texts. We examine what it means to be a writer, analyzing thinking like a writer and positive writing habits. We also look at what it means to position yourself an academic writer, the common features of an academic argument, and how to organize and argument and go about writing academic texts. (Note: This workshop can be adapted for different academic levels and writing abilities. Please note that it works best with a group that is academically similar. I will adjust the presentation based on academic ability and level.)
#BlackLivesMatter Movement and History
This workshop explores the start of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement and its impact on US culture and politics. We will look at some of the present day and historical reasons for the BLM movement, laws and institutions in place that impact the BLM movement in the United States, and counter movements and critiques of BLM. (This workshop can also be paired with a discussion of the book, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. If you would like this to be a part of the workshop, please note this when requesting it.)
The United States Prison System
This workshop examines the prison system in the United States, how it is structured, its demographics, and impact. The workshop allows for discussion of both state and federal laws, mass incarceration in the US, the death penalty, and other elements of the prison system in the United States. We will also read writing from prisoners in the United States to get an ideal of what prison life is like. (This workshop is primarily geared for visiting prison schools but can also be adapted for all audiences.)
What Do You Want to Know?
Do your students have questions about the United States? Are there things they want to know? This is an interactive workshop. You will submit questions from your students prior to the workshop. I will create a workshop based on the questions you submit. This works best with groups who are willing to ask questions and actively interact. There will be time for follow-up questions and well in order to fully respond to their inquiries.