Women in Politics

The objective of this lesson is to examine the growing role of women in politics.

The role of women in our society is growing each year, especially with music powerhouses like Beyonce and Madonna and breakthrough female film directors like Kathryn Bigelow leading the way. These strong females are really setting a benchmark for women all across the country.

Just like women in media, women in politics are breaking down that “glass ceiling.” 2013 marks a milestone in women’s political history, 19 female Senators have taken office. Though women are not a majority, their rise in political power reflects the changing times in our country. The U.S. population is 51 percent female. In Congress, however, 90 percent of the lawmakers are male, 89 percent in the House of Representatives and 80 percent in the Senate.

You’ve Been Catfished!

College football star Manti Te’o was in the news for his alleged victimization in an online relationship hoax. For two years, Te’o believed he was in a monogamous relationship with Stanford student Lennay Kekua. This relationship, however, was an elaborate hoax created by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who was pretending to be Lennay. While Te’o and Lennay never met in person, they did have extensive conversations on the phone and via email. This hoax was leaked to sports and media news outlets, and it was eventually revealed that there was no Lennay Kekua.

Te’o is not alone. One in five relationships begins on an online dating site, and that’s not counting romances that bloom via Facebook, Yelp, Twitter and during gameplay of popular games such as World of Warcraft. The Manti Te’o story also isn’t the first instance of false impersonating online. MTV recently debuted the reality TV show Catfish (a person who engages someone in a fake relationship online), which highlights a different “couple” each week who met online but have yet to meet face-to-face.

The objective of this lesson is to introduce students to the implications of online writing and the ways our writing reflects certain images of ourselves to capture different people. This lesson will also allow students to think critically about why and how they evaluate people, what sort of snap judgments they make, and how they read into situations without even realizing it.

Storytelling With the Stars

In this lesson, students learn about the literary elements of plot and characterization using popular movies and celebrities as brainstorming prompts.

Learning to “Lose Yourself” with Biofeedback Gaming

In this lesson, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” is used to introduce the topic of stress and how it affects students’ lives. YouTube videos are used to explain the science behind the “fight-or-flight” response, and students are shown new biofeedback-linked video games that train players to overcome stress through breath control.

Storytelling in the Twitter Age

Recently, Jack Dorsey, chief executive of Twitter wrote that the microblogging site is considering getting rid of its 140 character limit.

The limit was not part of the initial plan for Twitter and was only included so that tweets could fit in to a single sms message. These days people are getting more and more adept at using 140 characters to communicate; according to the statistics, there are 9,100 tweets going out every second!

This 140 character limit has been referred to as “a beautiful constraint.” Many writers and artists are getting intrigued and inspired by the challenges and opportunities that the Twitter format has inspired.

R.L.Stine, known for the Goosebumps series, has already started using twitter to tell stories, and true to form they are creepy!

Artists, Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman’s went even further with the technology, using the GPS information embedded in Twitter updates to locate where users were tweeting from and photographing the real world locations to create a visual story.

Even the Library of Congress acknowledges that 140 characters can be used to tell a story. In fact it is creating an archive of all tweets from 2006 to April 2010 to help them in their mission to “collect the story of America”. With Twitter accounts belonging to the likes of God and Bigfoot who can blame them!

There are many stories to be told and Twitter has succeeded so far – what do you think of Storytelling in the Twitter Age?

How Do Comics Reflect the Countries in Which They Are Created?

The objective of this lesson is for students to research comics styles in assigned countries and create their own comics that they believe would be popular in their assigned nations. Students also examine how comics styles reflect the countries in which they are created and compare the characteristics of their assigned country’s comics to comics with which they are already familiar.

The Culture of Legend of Zelda

Using the popular gaming series Legend of Zelda, students research the fictional societies that are present in the games and draw conclusions about the societies through cultural analysis.

What’s This Really About? Identifying and interpreting symbolism in film

A symbol is a person, place, or object that represents meaning for something other than itself. Symbolism in film is what gives a movie layers and can turn a blockbuster or box office flop into a cult classic that is debated and discussed for decades. It’s not always easy to identify symbolism and underlying themes in a film or TV show and sometimes may take a couple viewings. Check out these slightly edited movie scenes that give a more obvious interpretation of their underlying message. Students can go over these images in class to demonstrate their ability to interpret meaning in a story’s plot and overall theme.