A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Va. teacher holds mock slave auction - The Washington Post

Va. teacher holds mock slave auction - The Washington Post

Yikes! Where was the team on this one? Simulations require fine-tuned planning and usually work best when done on a team-wide basis. Everybody needs to be in the loop. The problem, obviously, was that the teacher segregated by race, which wasn't at all necessary to get the point across. She could have simply assigned the students randomly to teams (blue team, red team, etc.), and used action/description cards to guide the simulation, and nobody would have complained.

If the teacher had been provided a "Slave Trade Simulation" kit in a box, I'm sure she would have preferred to use "best practice" procedures that someone else had already figured out. Such a kit might involve step-by-step procedures, leveled discussion questions, photographs, things that children can get their hands on, letters to send home to parents, suggested readings, activity guides, and ideas for reflection. Activities could include music (slave music), art (posters, quilts), math (accounting/algebra), reading (primary sources and textbooks, stories, biographies, reader theater, etc.), writing (journaling, persuasion, brochures, etc.), and technology (webquests). During the reflection stage, literature could be used to generate open-ended questions: why did Henry mail himself North? What are some problems he might have encountered? How must he have felt?

Abolitionists should have been included in the slave trade activity, as well as sea captains and rum runners. I still vaguely remember the "triangle trade" activity done that my older sister and brother did and told me about back in the 70's. I still remember hearing about the "triangle trade" activities in which my older sister and brother participated and shared with me back in the 70's. They loved playing abolitionists, and used a strategy of using fans to blow away paper slave ships. Slaves might be given the chance to escape via the Underground Railroad.

Unfortunately, in disfunctional teams, teachers often find themselves on their own, which is generally when teachers get themselves in trouble. Why would a teacher with six years of experience be reinventing the wheel in a history class? A lack of support?