All workshops can be adjusted to meet the language level of any class, just ask!
I explain the principles of propaganda, and then we examine some example of propaganda together so students can see the techniques. If there’s time, students will create their own (either in poster form or on a piece of paper). This is an activity that all students, no matter their English level could participate in. Nor prior preparation necessary.
Students will read poetry about creating identity (Sandra Cisneros’ “My Name,” Nikki Giovanni’s “Ego Tripping,” or Sherman Alexie’s “How to Write the Great American Indian Novel”). Then students will write their own identity poem.
“This I believe.”
Students discuss and examine statements of belief as in large and small groups. Then, they outline their own beliefs and share them with small groups. No prior preparation necessary.
Writing for Coherence
One of the goals for International English and for the literature class is to write for coherence. I have a variety of exercises that students will work with to practice adding coherence to their writing. This works best if students have already written a text that they can revise, but we can do the workshop without prior preparation.
The Legacy of Jim Crow
“Jim Crow” laws were the groups of local, state, and federal laws that perpetuated segregation. The legacy of Jim Crow lives on. Students will examine racist images so that they can understand their implications. No prior preparation necessary.
The Politics of Monuments and Memorials
In this workshop, students will examine a variety of 20th and 21st century American monuments and memorials. Then we will have a discussion based on some of the following questions. 1) For whom are memorials built? Survivors? Victims? Families of victims? Fallen soldiers? Friends of the soldiers? Who should decide? 2) How important are memorials for a country? They usually cost a lot of money. Are they worth it? Who decides? Are structural monuments the best memorials, or is something more dynamic (like a library, hospital, charitable foundation, etc.) 3) Do memorials actually facilitate the healing process for victims, families of victims, the region, or nation? If so, how? Why? Finally, I will have students consider some Norwegian memorials and analyze them with the same questions. No prior preparation necessary.
Analyzing the Rhetorical Devices and Allusions in King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
Students will receive background information on the American Civil Rights Movement. Then, they will work in small groups to analyze King’s essay. While students could analyze small sections in class with little to no prior preparation, class would be more meaningful if students can read this lengthy essay ahead of time. Works best for advanced students.
The American Flag in Art and Protest
In the past 2 years, some players from the National Football League have knelt during the playing of the U.S. national anthem in protest of police brutality against black people. Many see these actions as disrespecting the flag and the country. However, protesting with the American flag has a long history. We will examine some of these protests and also consider how the American flag has been used in American art. No prior preparation needed.
American Abstract Expressionism
After World War II American artists became artistic innovators in ways they never had been previously. Yet much of this post-World War II art confuses people or makes them feel uncomfortable. We will examine a variety of American artists, consider how and why they are innovating, and help students better understand those innovations. No prior preparation needed.
The American Sonnet (Claude McKay, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Robert Frost, Gwendolyn Brooks, Countee Cullen)
Related to the teacher workshop. After a discussion of the importance of sonnets, students will read and examine one or more sonnets, depending on time. Prior reading would be helpful but is not necessary.
American Short Stories
I will lead a discussion of one or more stories from the provided anthology. A few of the stories are short enough to read during class time, but most will require prior preparation. (See list)
I will lead a discussion of 3-4 poems from the provided anthology. Most of the poems are short enough to read during class time, although students could read them ahead of time. (See list)