One 90 minute block class to cover the topic, more time will be allotted if necessary. It is presumed that many aspects of this topic have already been discussed and reflected upon by the students during days one and two of this unit study. This lesson plan is day three of a one week unit regarding confronting genocide. Day three focuses on the U.S. policy regarding intervention in cases of genocide.
According to the International Association of Genocide Scholars, "In the 20th century, genocides and state mass murder have killed more people than have all wars." The U.S. response to genocide this century has been erratic and inconsistent even though our leaders have vowed, "never again." As U.S. citizens, we are constantly forced to choose among competing values in the ongoing debate about foreign policy; and in that context, it is important for individuals to understand multiple perspectives and critically analyze the information in order to make informed choices. This unit study is intended to teach students that, as citizens, they have an important role in the development and implementation of U.S. foreign policy. They will also learn that they have a role to play in their community and school.
Define genocide in accordance with Resolution 260 (III) A, of the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1948.
Explain the issues that surround four different sides of the debate on U.S. foreign policy regarding genocide.
Evaluate multiple perspectives on U.S. foreign policy regarding genocide by determining the main idea or essential message in real-world text through retelling, guided summarizing, and identifying relevant details and facts.
Identify cause and effect relationships in informational text as it relates to U.S. foreign policy regarding genocide.
Cooperate with classmates in staging a persuasive presentation.
Sunshine State Standards
LA 1112.5.2 Listening and Speaking
The student effectively applies listening and speaking strategies.
LA.1112.1.6 Vocabulary Development
The student uses multiple strategies to develop grade appropriate vocabulary.
LA.1112.1.7 Reading Comprehension
The student uses a variety of strategies to comprehend grade level text.
LA.118.104.22.168 - The student will use research and visual aids to deliver oral presentations that inform, persuade, or entertain, and evaluates one's own and others oral presentations.
LA.122.214.171.124 - The student will listen to, read, and discuss familiar and conceptually challenging text.
LA.1126.96.36.199 - The student will determine the main idea or essential message in grade-level or higher texts through inferring, paraphrasing, summarizing, and identifying relevant details and facts.
In our class discussions, we identified multiple approaches to multicultural education. The purpose of this day three lesson plan is to inform students that they must make decisions on important social issues and discuss actions to help solve them. Students must approach several sides of one topic and learn that there are no correct answers; there are only choices. Those choices have consequences; and those consequences may be paid in human life. My goal is to teach students that they have a voice and that they can, and should, use that voice to challenge the status quo as young people are doing all over the world.
All of the readings used in the unit study are taken from "Teaching with the News: Choices Program" by Susannah Bechtel, written in conjunction with the Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University, www.choices.edu. The readings include excerpts from books, newspaper articles, web sites, and documentaries. The articles in this unit study will allow students the opportunity to investigate the similarities of genocides across the globe with the purpose of grasping how interconnected the world really is and the effect of dealing with problems that cross state boundaries. These articles will also give students give students the opportunity to empathize with the victims of genocide, while realizing that there is no single reason why people are targeted, it happens for many reasons; and it can happen to anybody.
My goal is to teach students that in order to make informed decisions they must know as much information as they can about bias in anything they read or watch. This is a five day unit study, but the focus of this project is Day three. On days one and two of this unit study, students will learn the history of the word genocide and how it was defined by the Genocide Convention of 1948. They will learn that a word was needed to describe atrocities perpetrated by one group upon another and the importance of giving crime a name.
The readings for day one also briefly cover WWI, the League of Nations, The Madrid Conference and why these ideas failed. They then discuss how WWII changed the international community and what led to the to the December 9, 1948, genocide convention. Included is a solid definition of state sovereignty and how this concept "cooled" the U.S. feelings toward signing and ratifying the Genocide Convention, which wasn't accomplished until February 11, 1986. The first day readings conclude with a discussion of the International Criminal Court and why the U.S. has failed to become a member. This fact has a significant impact on my lesson plan for Day three.
Day two readings give students the opportunity to examine five historical case studies of genocide and give a brief overview of the responses of the United States and the international community. (Bechtel, 2010) Using reprinted articles, students will read and discuss The New York Times coverage of these different genocides and consider the role media plays in how genocide is reported and responded to by the U.S. public. More importantly they will learn that the first genocide was not the Holocaust of WWII, that there have been many before and after that event. At the end of the unit, day five, students will create a memorial to each one of these groups of victims of genocide.
On day three students will read and consider four alternative views held by people in the United States and conclude with presentations comparing these viewpoints. The articles in "Teaching with the News: Choices Program" by Susannah Bechtel, written in conjunction with the Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University, www.choices.edu, lists the four options which are:
Option 1: Lead the World in the Fight to Stop Genocide
Option 2: Stand with the International Community Against Genocide
Option 3: Speak Out, But Preserve State Sovereignty
Option 4: Intervene Only When U.S. Interests are Directly Threatened
These options are explained in detail with the pros and cons to each delineated. Groups will be instructed to ask themselves what are the feelings and motivations that guide the proponents of their option? Why the U.S. hesitates in cases of genocide, and why the U.S. has not joined the International Criminal Court? What impact would their group's option have on the U.S. and the world? As each group passionately defends its option, students will come to understand that other groups are feeling just as strongly about their options. "This teaches students that every story has a point of view and that every point of view is at best partial and at worst distorted" (Nieto, 1994, p. 16).
Students will divide into five groups, four of those groups will have the job of analyzing the issues that frame their group's particular option. They must identify the underlying values of their option, integrate the arguments and beliefs of their option into a persuasive presentation, and present it to group five who will listen to their arguments, ask relevant questions, and decide what action the U.S. will take. At the conclusion of this lesson, students will have the opportunity to express their own personal views about the merits and tradeoffs involved with each option.
Days four and five of this unit will give the students the opportunity to write their own option. They will answer six focus questions and read the article, Coping with Crisis (Bechtel, 2010) taken from "Teaching with the News: Choices Program" by Susannah Bechtel, written in conjunction with the Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University, www.choices.edu. This article discusses three hypothetical case studies dealing with genocide. Students will consider what the U.S. response should be, if any, and write an essay describing their plan. As a conclusion to this unit, students will divide into five groups, design and "build" a memorial to the genocide victims discussed on day two. If time and space permits, students will showcase their work in a public space and invite comments from observers. Memorials will be graded as a group project.
Ideal size of classes: 25 students or 5 groups of 5 students.
Lesson Plan Day 3 - Warm-up: Provide students with copies of Key Words and Focusing Your Thoughts Warm-ups. Students will divide into 5 groups and, working together, they will make sure they can each define all of the Key Words. Next, they should individually answer the questions on Focusing Your Thoughts (see Appendix I and Appendix II).
Lesson Plan Day 3 - During the Lesson: Provide students with a copy of Confronting Genocide: Never Again? Written by the Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University, www.choices.edu Students should read, highlight, and annotate page 30, "Remembering History: U.S. Genocide Policy for the Future," and page 31, "Options in Brief" in their assigned groups. The instructor will assess their notes to identify any areas where the students are struggling and help them with clarification.
Distribute the group assignment instructions to the four groups (see Appendix 3). The fifth group will represent the Committee on Foreign Relations of the U.S. Senate; give them their assignment (see Appendix 3). Explain that each group will be judged and graded on their presentations, if they are in a presenting group; or on their questions, if they are on the Senate Committee group. Groups can select specific roles if they wish, but every person in the group must speak during the presentation. The instructor will assess each group's progress as they work together and help them with clarification of key points. The Senate Committee Group may need extra time to read all four options and develop coherent questions.
After their preparations are completed, each group will deliver a three to five minute presentation to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Any worksheets, organizers, or notes taken over the last few days may be used. Speak clearly and convincingly to the Senate Committee. Try to identify the weak points of the other groups competing options. After all of the groups have presented, members of the Committee on Foreign Relations will ask you questions for clarification. Any member of your group may respond during the question period.
Lesson Plan Day 3 - After the Lesson: Provide students with the same Focusing Your Thoughts questionnaire used in the warm-up. Allow students time to answer the questions again now that they have heard the pros and cons of each argument. Give the students time to discuss their individual feelings regarding the four options. Provide students with web sites and Facebook pages that will show them ways to get involved (see Appendix IV).
Students should read, highlight, and annotate page 30, "Remembering History: U.S. Genocide Policy for the Future," and page 31, "Options in Brief" in their assigned groups. The instructor will assess their notes to identify any areas where the students are struggling and help them with clarification.
The instructor will assess each group's progress as they work together on their presentations and help them with clarification of key points. The Senate Committee Group may need extra time to read all four options and develop coherent questions. The instructor will use the attached Rubric to assess students individually and as a group (see Appendix V)
As a conclusion to this unit, students will divide into five groups, design and "build" a memorial to the genocide victims discussed on day two. If time and space permits, students will showcase their work in a public space and invite comments from observers. Memorials will be graded as a group project.