We are in the middle of a huge curriculum writing season here, if there is such a thing. The list of courses we are either writing anew or creating from scratch is mind-boggling. One of the newer course we are adding to our high school Social Studies offerings is Contemporary Issues. Today was the first day we really got down to discussing what we want to do with the class.
Our idea was to marry a few areas together into this class:
- applying the lens of historical inquiry to the flow of information we call news
- learning how to recognize how media is manipulated
- manage to trim the deluge of information present in the media to a manageable and intelligible framework so that it “works” for you.
Here is what we came up with for our introductory unit:
The idea of creating a “current events” class kind of turned us off. We didn’t want the class to turn into an academic version of TMZ every day (although that idea will rear it’s head somewhere in the design), so we we’ll begin this class withe the election of 2000. A watershed event to help the students understand the true workings of a contested election. It’s also a great jumping off point for the discussion of the role of modern media propaganda. We want to walk the thin line between historical analysis and modern themes.
We haven’t really begun to forge our assessments yet, nor have we ironed out the tech backbone for this class, but a good deal of that will depend on the comfort level of the teacher I am working with. Thoughts?