The students of Wilbur Cross high school are a diverse group. Student identity ranges from a multitude of cultural backgrounds such as African American, Latino, Jewish, Asian, and Caucasian. These kids come from all over New Haven, offering a variety of perspectives on the socio-economic divide or our city. In my experience, it is this richness in diversity that makes this group of students in particular so amazing. They each carry their life experiences into the classroom.
Likewise, Wilbur Cross high school is made up of students from a variety of academic backgrounds. These kids come from middle schools located throughout the city of New Haven whose learning pedagogy differs from school to school. Students have a range of academic skills. Although this unit is designed for a 9th grade honors class, again in my experience, some of the students in this honors class struggle to read and write on grade level while other students excel in these areas. Regardless of these differences, the atmosphere of the classroom is inviting and safe for each student to share their ideas and perspectives with their classmates.
Anatomy of Your Enemy(1)
is a unit that I have created to fulfill the learning needs of these 9th grade honors world history students. In the past my honors students have demonstrated a level of enjoyment and proficiency in discussion-based methods of learning. During the three week time frame allotted for this unit, I will incorporate a variety of opportunities for discussion-based lessons. The main objective for this unit is for students to think conceptually, and to speak and write coherently about social issues. The readings require students to analyze historical texts, class activities encourage student participation, and daily "warm-up/warm-down" writing assignments require reflection and provide a venue to work on writing skills. Additionally, the display of positive interaction and respect amongst the group provides the opportunity to implement cooperative learning methods, which provide students the chance to feel a direct connection in the sharing of information.
In accordance with New Haven Public School standards, throughout the year students begin to recognize themes in history when they are encouraged to gain an appreciation for the impact of cultural interaction. Through the study of human migration, students realize the function of cultural interaction in creating a globally connected world. One of my ongoing classroom objectives is to promote an awareness of the influence that point of view can have when studying world history. Students share diverse perspectives in class discussion and by expressing their own perceptions of history in class writing assignments. The
Anatomy of Your Enemy
unit is an amalgamation of the many concepts that have been touched upon in previous units and therefore will take place towards the end of the year. From conflict between Catholics and Protestants during the Reformation, class struggles between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, to the construct of race in the United States, students can make cross-cultural connections to the implications of identity in instances of conflict throughout world history. Students will participate in discourse that will allow them to recognize why conflict continues to occur, in order to begin to work towards a more peaceful world.