The following discussion questions and lesson
plans comprise a unit that uses the Internet as a learning tool
in the subject areas of Literary Arts, Health, History. They are
written for grades 7-12. These classroom activities include: learning
objectives; an outline of the relevant national standards met by
the plans; a list of necessary tools and materials; a notation regarding
the total time needed to complete the individual lessons; a teaching
strategy; assessment recommendations; and extension ideas.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS Leaving Elsa
These questions are aimed at high-school
age viewers serve to guide group discussions or individual writing
or journal assignments. They primarily focus on issues relating
to college preparation, decision-making skills, health education,
and future goal planning. There are discussion questions for each
video diary and wrap-up questions for students who have viewed all
ESL LESSON: Using Leaving Elsa with ESL Students
Note from Janet, the ESL teacher who developed this plan for
These are some comprehension questions I've been using with my
students before watching each episode. Each student in my class
is following one of the three teens. After they watch the episode,
they write the answers to the questions. Then they meet in groups
to discuss them along with new vocabulary words. The following
day, I pass out the episode summary as a follow-up. It serves
the dual purpose of keeping them abreast of all three teens. That
way they can compare the three more effectively...
I don't know if the questions will be of much use to [non-ESL
teachers]. They are very basic because of the limited English
skills of the students. Gradually, we plan to elicit students'
opinions with more sophisticated and open-ended questions. We
also plan to prepare them to write an essay. It's all still a
work in progress from week to week.
Thanks to POV for providing such a stimulating opportunity for
LESSON 1: Using P.O.V.'s Borders Snapshots
Art as Symbolic Journalism
The term "borders" refers to both very
real and very symbolic phenomenon. In fact, in the era of globalization,
it's a concept that more and more cannot be fully understood from
any single viewpoint. In some arenas, such as race and class relations
within many nations, the "real" borders are disappearing
while many of the symbolic borders hold fast. Many would-be immigrants,
however, find the "real" borders as tight as ever, but
find the borders between ideas, information and communication disappearing
by the day.
Art has the power to explore an issue from many levels and viewpoints.
Throughout history, one of the roles of artists has always been
to look at the world (the politics, history, culture) and interpret
it and try to make sense of it through their art.
In this exercise, we will use the metaphor of "Art as Symbolic
Journalism" to explore how art can sometimes be a better tool
for analyzing and interpreting the world than strictly factual or
journalistic approaches. Students will use this framework to analyze
the idea of "borders" and create poetry and artwork in
LESSON 2: Storytelling and the Power of Personal Narrative
A comprehensive lesson on the importance of
storytelling. Themes addressed in the plan include: a brief overview
of the personal narrative, storytelling structure and the historical
significance of telling one's own story (Frederick Douglass, Anne
Frank). With an emphasis on journal writing, self expression and
the use of language, this lesson plan is a guide for students who
want to gain heightened communication skills and who are preparing
to write personal statements for colleges and universities. The
application of this plan will go beyond English and Language Arts
uses as the exercise and discipline of writing regularly is a multidisciplinary
RELATED LESSON PLANS: AMERICAN HIGH TEACHERS' LOUNGE
These excellent lesson plans provide
a framework for creating student-produced video diaries, like those
featured prominently in AMERICAN HIGH and P.O.V.'s BORDERS.
The Guide was authored by Jonathan Mednick, the award-winning filmmaker
and experienced educator, whose role on AMERICAN HIGH included teaching
video production to the students featured in the series.
Note: In order to access and print the PDF version of lesson
plans, you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not already
have this tool, you may download
Adobe Acrobat free of charge at the Adobe web site.
Suggestions for lesson content improvement and implementation are
always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.