The Teacher's Pet Blog
With the current threats of nuclear war hovering in the air, you might want to consider exploring John Hersey's book Hiroshima with your students this fall.
Hersey interviewed survivors right after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and this book is his account of the event from the point of view of each of six survivors.
An historic account of the event, this book will give your students the real picture of what nuclear war looks like from the ground level. Have your students additionally explore how the bomb was developed, the mission of the Enola Gay, the reasons why the bomb was used, and the surrounding moral/ethical questions.
Use all of this information as a springboard to discuss the threats present today. Compare and contrast them to the circumstances when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Discuss students thoughts and anxieties about the new nuclear age and ways to cope with a nuclear world. Guest speakers (counselors, foreign policy experts, etc.) would be good to incorporate in a unit of study.
It would be good to keep the nuclear threat in historical perspective. We've been living with the threat of nuclear war since the bomb was developed in the 1940's, and to date, the only bombs used have been on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When I was in elementary school, we did the "get under your desk" drills; it's something everyone in the modern world has to find a way to live with. The best thing you can do for your students is to make sure they know the real facts, not just media hype and unsupported stories and opinions.
We're living in The Information Age, a time when there is more information about EVERYTHING more readily available than ever before in human history. Yet, ironically, students' knowledge of background and general information seem to be lacking more than ever. How can we fix this?We can broaden our students' knowledge base, without giving up the [...]
Being a terrible writer of fiction myself, I've always admired authors who are able to craft their stories with close attention to details, using literary devices like foreshadowing. We typically think of mystery novels as being laden with foreshadowing, which they certainly are, but clever and talented authors of works in other genres use it [...]
We often define the term allusion when we're talking about literary devices, but did you ever stop to think about the real value of reading literature that is full of allusions--or what you could do with the allusions that are present?Why We Don't Look At Allusions More CloselyMost often we probably think of allusions as [...]
"What the heck is a rubric?" I innocently asked. Turns out, it's just a form specifying the criteria for the acceptable completion of an assignment. It takes some time to create a good rubric, but the time spent is well worth it. Here's why:1) Rubrics Help You Focus Your AssignmentWhen you have to actually think [...]
Some things would have been good to know in my early years of teaching literature. Here are five of them (in no particular order; they're all important): 1. You Don't Have To Know EVERYTHING.First of all, it's impossible for you to know everything about a work of literature and the author. As a new teacher, I [...]
It's October now--time for Halloween and spooky stories. A great time to teach the stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe. But, sadly, many students won't be reading Poe this October. Why not? Because Poe's vocabulary is just too much to tackle for some classes. And that's a real shame because those students are missing [...]
Overview CommentaryThe social revolution of the late 1960's and early 1970s in America broke the chains of our country's moral conscience that had bound us to "right" and "wrong" regarding our personal behavior. "Free love" and the idea that "I can do my own thing" pretty much axed our traditional moral values handed down from [...]
Overview Commentary on Of Mice and MenOf Mice and Men is a short novel--just a little over 100 pages--and the reading level isn't particularly difficult. However, because of the subject matter, it is most appropriate for high school juniors and seniors, who are old enough to understand the complexities of the book.On the surface, Of [...]
The key to teaching literature effectively is to see the books as a means to an end, not an end in themselves.If I thought the books were an end in themselves, I would have quit writing about them 20 years ago. I lose patience with characters like Holden Caufield (The Catcher in the Rye) and [...]