Below you will find four video clips of my workshop
"With Literature and Justice for All:
Teaching "Virtuous Reality" with American Literature for 4th-8th Grades.
I presented it at the 4th Annual
Books & Beyond conference
on January 22, 2011.
Below the videos, you will find my handouts and links for on-line study guides.
Part 1: Justice & Stories
Part 2: Exploration, Colonies & Revolution
Part 3: Pioneers, Civil War, Immigration
& Civil Rights Era
Part 4: Family History, Field Trips & "Virtuous Reality"
Just a few trivia notes on the videos...
The background noise is from a workshop in the next classroom. Apparently Debbie Strayer's class enjoyed her humor! She's a great inspirational and educational speaker, and it was an honor to be presenting at the same conference as her. Check out her wb site: www.debbiestrayer.com/
A big thank you to Christina Mitchell, my teenage helper, who agreed to video the workshop for me. I only told her where the record button was on the camera, and she took it from there! She's got a good steady hand!
I referred to another keynote speaker, Jim Weiss. I really appreciated his story telling workshop and his session on heroes. The man has an amazing grasp of how to make history come alive, but you don't have to hear him in person to benefit from this since he has dozens of story sets on CD. Check out his web site: www.greathall.com/
Despite the fact that I mentioned Quakers quite favorably several times, I am not one! (I attend Lake Baldwin Church, a small Presbyterian congregation.) I did, however, want to give you the 17th verse to John Greenleaf Whittier's poem "Expostulation."
Rise now for Freedom! not in strife
Like that your sterner fathers saw,
The awful waste of human life,
The glory and the guilt of war:'
But break the chain, the yoke remove,
And smite to earth Oppression's rod,
With those mild arms of Truth and Love,
Made mighty through the living God!
Another quote I couldn't quite remember and didn't have in my notes is by John Ruskin (1819-1900), English writer, art critic, professor, reformer:
The entire object of true education is to make people
not merely to do the right things, but to enjoy them;
not merely industrious, but to love industry;
not merely learned, but to love knowledge;
not merely pure, but to love purity;
not merely just, but to hunger and thirst after justice.
OK, here are the official workshop notes...
With Literature and Justice for All:
Teaching "Virtuous Reality"
with American Literature
in the 4th-8th Grades
What do stories teach?
- Stories capture our interest, stir our imagination, and engage the heart.
- Stories teach us to ask, "What would I do if you found myself in this scenario?"
- Stories teach, by positive and negative examples, how to handle situations and challenges in life. What are the consequences of each decision? (Noble action can lead to some unpleasant results, but ultimate impact goes far beyond that if you see the long-term big picture.)
- Stories teach us how Biblical themes integrate into history and real life situations, even in books that are not written from an explicitly Christian worldview.
- Stories teach us how to look and understand from a different perspective. They broaden our horizons, challenge our assumptions, and help us understand other people better.
- Stories teach us to read, reflect, and respond -- to think and do as a result of the ideas.
Recommended Resources for
American Literature & History in the Middle Grades
- The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare - Puritan times & witch trials (Free Study Guide)
- Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes - Revolutionary War (Free Study Guide)
- Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink - pioneer days and prejudice (Free Study Guide)
- Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt - Civil War from both perspectives (Free Study Guide)
- Turn Homeward, Hannalee and Be Ever Hopeful, Hannalee by Patricia Beatty - Civil War and Reconstruction as told from perspective of young displaced Southern girl
- Sing Down the Moon by Scott O'Dell - Indian resettlement
- Strawberry Girl by Lois Lensky - early 1900's cracker Florida
- Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and other books by Mildred Taylor - racism in 1930s
- Words by Heart by Ouida Sebestyen -- racism, Scripture memory, forgiveness -- also DVD
- Lights on the River by Jane Resh Thomas (migrant workers) PICTURE BOOK
- A Day's Work by Eve Bunting (immigrants) PICTURE BOOK
- The Blue and the Grey by Eve Bunting (Civil War) PICTURE BOOK
- American Revolution: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson , Patrick Henry
- Slavery, Civil War & Reconstruction: Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington
- Socio-economic reform, Civil Rights: Jane Addams: Nobel Prize Winner and Founder of Hull House by Bonnie Carman Harvey, plus Jacob Riis, Susan B. Anthony, Frances Willard, Nellie Bly, Sequoyah, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mary McLeod Bethune
- In God We Trust: Stories of Faith in American History by Timothy Crater and Ranelda Hunsicker -- short, readable biographies of American’s Christian leaders in one volume.
- "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" by Patrick Henry (Free Study Guide)
- "I Have a Dream" by Dr. Martin Luther King (Free Study Guide)
- "The Gettysburg Address" by Abraham Lincoln
- "The Declaration of Independence"
- "The United States Constitution"
Check http://www.poemhunter.com/ for these and other titles.
- "My Country 'Tis of Thee" by Samuel Francis Smith
- "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Francis Scott Key
- "Battle Hymn of the Republic" by Julia Ward Howe
- "Barbara Frietchie," "Expostulation," and "To William Lloyd Garrison" by John Greenleaf Whittier
- "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus, inscribed on the Statue of Liberty
- "I Am An American" by Elias Lieberman
- Best Loved Poems of the American People compiled by Hazel Felleman
Anthologies: The Children's Book of Virtues, The Book of Virtues and The Moral Compass edited by Dr. William Bennett - rich treasuries with selections of stories, essays, poems
Parent/Teacher Book: Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child’s Moral Imagination, by Vigen Guroian (doesn't cover American historical literature)
Community Service Opportunity: Want action and not just reading about virtuous reality? Check out www.OrlandoChildrensChurch.org and make a difference in your community serving kids from inner city Orlando. OCC meets on Saturday mornings in suburban Maitland and is a life-changing place for young people and adults to volunteer. High school students can also get their Bright Futures volunteer hours there.
The reality is that life isn't always fair or pleasant, but we can choose what to believe, what to say, what to do. We can live a "Virtuous Reality" no matter what is going on around us and make a real difference. Otherwise, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We will have to repent in this generation for not merely the cruel words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
Wisdom & Understanding ~ discernment to know what is TRUE and how to apply it to life; listening to others to find out what (and why) they are thinking and feeling; getting the whole story without bias; respecting other perspectives that may differ from your own. See Proverbs & James 1:5-8; 3:13-18. You can't believe everything you see or hear. Many people are ignorant and/or deceptive. Many are also biased and cast an unfair light on the opinions of others, leading to prejudice and discrimination. Not only this, but there is an information explosion with TV, Internet, newspapers, magazines, and more. What is true, real, important and relevant?
Patience ~ self-control when tempted to be angry, endurance when tempted to quit, the willingness to wait when tempted to demand what we want right now. See Proverbs 15:18, 16:32, 19:11, Romans 8:18-30. We all want it "yesterday if not sooner!" This is the age of instant gratification, and much injustice occurs simply because we have not learned to wait and to control our selfish impulses.