Each workshop can be offered at an introductory or more advanced level in order to cater to the readiness levels and prior knowledge of participants. Workshops can also be offered in a lecture style or in a more inquiry-based, active-learning approach.
Additionally, all of the workshops outlined below can easily be adapted for educators or community members seeking a presentation grounded in important issues in American society, history and literature.
Extra! Extra! This is fake news! – Web literacy, and consuming media critically
In a “post-truth” world in which leaders assert “alternative facts” and denounce the mainstream media as “fake news,” while misinformation spreads across the internet like wildfire, students are justifiably finding it more difficult to distinguish fact and fiction. To ensure students are prepared for a lifetime as informed and engaged citizens, it is essential they learn to navigate and responsibly utilize this unprecedented wealth of knowledge at their fingertips. In this workshop students will assess their own web literacy skills, look at the effects of being misinformed, and learn how to effectively utilize the internet to verify sources and information, becoming critical consumers of media.
The Wonder Years – A day in the the life of a New York City teenager
Gotham, The Big Apple, Melting Pot, Empire City. New York City is known by many names around the globe, but for 8.5 million people it is known as home. What does home mean to teenagers who grow up in The City That Never Sleeps? In this workshop students will spend a day in the shoes of a New York City teenager, exploring what their day-to-day looks like. From school, culture, fashion, and hobbies to the responsibilities and support provided at home, Norwegian teenagers will get a unique opportunity to contrast their lives with those of teenagers growing up in the United States’ most densely populated concrete jungle. When possible this workshop will use Skype to interact with a classroom of New York City Teenagers.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” – History of immigration in America
America was built on immigrants’ backs. From the transcontinental railroad, to the NYC subway system, without immigrants America would not have become the vast, unique, interconnected nation it is today. This workshop will explore immigration history, policy and societal attitudes in the U.S. As students explore these topics they will draw connections to the urgency to address the effects on the classroom, and compare and contrast what’s happening in the United States to contemporary discussions around immigration in Europe and Norway.
School to Prison Pipeline: Disenfranchising Youth; combating the prison-to-school pipeline
The high school graduation rate in the NYC sits at 70% (2014-15). However, the rates are only 65.4% for Hispanic students and 64% for black students. The statistics are similar across the nation, and look even more bleak for boys of color. In this workshop, students will have the opportunity to look at the history of education for students of color in the U.S., factors that are leading to low graduation rates among these populations today, and how schools are funneling these students into a pipeline that leads to prison.
American Democracy? Not exactly…
Americans’ pride themselves in promulgating the idea of democracy around the world… But what does the United States’ representative democracy really look like – and how democratic is it? In this workshop students and teachers will deepen their understanding of the history, and development of the American federal government and political systems, federalism and the role of the states, how Americans view and understand their democracy, and the meaning of voting, and discuss the relationship between these issues.
Civil Rights and Liberties – Why are we still fighting for freedom?
Since the formation of America, many groups of people have been denied the rights, liberties, and protections that have always been guaranteed to land-owning, Christian, white men. In this workshop students will use images, literature, music, and other cultural media sources to explore and investigate major turning points and events in the ongoing battle for freedom. Students will have the opportunity to see the lasting successes and failures of civil rights movements in the United States, and examine minorities’ seat at the table – and relationship with their American identity – looks like today.