Defining Privacy – Week One
The objective of this opening lesson is that students will begin developing a definition of privacy (both for themselves individually and as a class) that they will be building on and modifying throughout the unit. This definition will be the foundation of their final written argument. This lesson also seeks for students to grapple with the fictionalized account of Greg Lupinski in “Scroogled” and to draw corollaries between the story and reality.
- Students will have read Cory Doctorow’s “Scroogled” in preparation for the class.
- Begin class with a 7-minute journal write: What role does privacy play in your life?
- Students share their journal responses in pairs for 3 minutes.
- Full class discussion on topic of privacy. Take notes on white board during discussion. As students share from their responses, guide them towards defining characteristics of privacy. Possible follow-up questions:
- Why is privacy important?
- From whom do you seek privacy?
- How do you feel when your privacy is invaded? Why?
- Are there different types of privacy?
- Are there situations where privacy should be taken away? By whom?
- Pause the conversation and introduce the story, “Scroogled.” Ask students to write about their initial thoughts on the story. Allow 4 minutes.
- What are Greg’s trigger points and motivations throughout?
- How does Greg feel about privacy at the beginning, middle, and end of the story? Define the beginning, middle, and end of the story based on Greg’s attitude.
- Ask students to share from their responses. Direct the conversation to the topic of privacy but allow for some discussion of character and plot as well. Possible follow-up questions:
- Do you think something like this could happen in reality?
- What do you think of the government accessing your internet history?
- Where is the line of balance between individual privacy and public safety?
- On their Chromebooks, students are to take 10 minutes to search for information about themselves on the internet. They should assume the role of a government official for whom passwords are no obstacle. What about themselves can they discover online? Are there things they put online assuming a degree of privacy? Are there things about them online that they didn’t post that they would prefer not to have public?
- Once students search through their online profile, they should write in their journal once more responding to what their online profile is and how they feel about the information that is available to someone who wants to find it.
- Brief conversation of students’ thoughts on their online presence. Some students may be unwilling to share due to the private nature of some of their online information.
- Assignment of the reading schedule for Orwell’s 1984 should also be included in this opening lesson to allow students adequate time for reading.
Winston and Oceania, Character and Setting – Week 2
The focus of this lesson is to take a deeper look at the initial characterization of Winston Smith and the description of Oceania in the opening pages of Orwell’s 1984. The objective is for students to consider the specific details Orwell includes in the opening of his novel. Students will consider how these details work together and how they compare to details later in the book. Using the description of Winston Smith, later in the week, students will compare Orwell’s view of self-reliance with that defined by Emerson in his essay of that name.
- Students are to be broken into 5 small groups. Each group will be assigned a specific scene from the assigned reading:
- Winston begins writing in the diary, pages 1-9
- The Two Minutes Hate, pages 9-20
- Parsons and Newsflash, pages 17-29
- Dreams and The Physical Jerks, pages 29-37
- Winston at work, pages 37-48
- Each group will work to analyze the assigned section of text for characterization of Winston Smith and for description of the setting (micro and macro). Distribute a piece of chart paper and two markers to each group. They should take notes on a piece of paper and record their final findings on the chart paper to present to the class. Each group should answer the following questions:
- What details does Orwell include to characterize Winston Smith? Find five specific details in the text and record them. For each detail, explain in your own words what it shows us about Winston.
- What details does Orwell include about the setting? Find five specific details in the text and record them. For each detail, explain in your own words, what it shows us about the world of Oceania.
- Groups hang their completed chart paper around the room and students circulate to read them.
- Students write a short reflection on the process of composing their chart and on the other groups’ findings. Each student should include one similar and one different observation from another group in their reflection.
Building an Argument – Week 8
Students will begin work on the final written argument. The objective is for each student to consider an authentic audience—one in which they will address an actual or imagined recipient—for their individual argument. There are two components to the lesson: each student must consider what aspect of privacy they are most interested in building their argument about.
- Begin by reviewing the essential questions from each of the weeks of the unit:
- What role does privacy play in your life?
- How does the influence of others affect your thinking?
- Should the government have access to your personal information and conversations?
- In what ways do both age and peers influence one’s perceptions of privacy?
- To what extent should corporations be able to share the information you post on social media?
- Who should own information on the internet that is about you?
- What have we gained through digital technologies?
- Students should write a brief paragraph responding to each question. Encourage students to spend about 4-5 minutes on each question. Once they have written their thoughts, students should reflect on their responses and choose one that sparked a specific interest. Walk around during this process and work with students who are struggling.
- Now that they know what they are going to write about, to whom they are writing, and their purpose, students should begin thinking about which materials from the unit will best serve their needs. Students might also consider areas in which they need to conduct further research.
- Students should build an outline of their argument, including their main points and the supporting evidence for each.
- Finally, students should begin drafting their argument, drawing on the materials they have discussed in class.