Teaching in the Trump Era: DACA, Twitter, and Talk Lessons
Teaching during the Trump Era means we will have a responsibility to cultivate hope and healing in the classroom. Here's a 3-day lesson I used to kick off the first week of school. Many of the strategies can be applied to other subjects and content areas.
I can show empathy for the youth impacted by Jeff Sessions' announcement to end DACA.
Day I. IMAGINE
I gave the students a prompt to spark their empathy, even though they did not know the subject yet. Before they could answer the question, students were taught how to set up their writers' notebooks and the rules of a quick-write.
Imagine if Trump enacted a law that said:
ALL PEOPLE BORN AFTER 2001 MUST LEAVE THE UNITED STATES AND RETURN TO THE COUNTRY THEIR ANCESTORS CAME FROM.
Students responded with questions and comments in their writing such as:
Where will we go?
What about our parents?
I don't know where my ancestors are from.
Each student's response was one page long. We shared a few at the end of the period.
Day II. INVESTIGATE & EXPLORE
Before starting the lesson, I began to review what we talked about yesterday. I asked students to share and they began to talk over each other. In my classroom, I don't want students to raise their hands. I teach them to have group discussions. I hadn't planned on teaching talk but it was clear that I couldn't move on without addressing it. See video below:
Next, students were prompted to critically respond to a Tweet. They still were not knowledgeable about DACA. I was leading up to it by building their empathy first.
Students wrote one page and shared their responses with their partners.
Next, I showed two videos from CNN. Students broke into 6 groups and gathered information on:
Above are the group leaders of each category.
After the video, students shared their findings.
Day III. CREATE
Students were promoted to craft messages of hope. Before illustrating on the cardboard, they were asked to write at least 3 messages. Then, choose the best one for their sign.
Although the goal was build empathy from these lessons, I was also able to informally assess: student writing abilities, reading stamina, and collaborative skills.
The signs have become my first bulletin board of the school year.