I was given the green light to plan for the English III class in February. In true Chili form, I panicked for a few minutes, thinking that I would never be able to pull together a plan for an entire class in less than two weeks. Then, in true Chili form, I repackaged my shit and got to work.
Sometimes, having more freedom actually makes planning more complicated; I really think that, though we love our freedoms, we desperately need limits – boundaries, walls, rules, whatever – to work within and give us structure. That Carrie wants CHS to base its work for a school year around a central theme actually makes my work easier; I have a starting point that I can anchor my entire lesson plan to, but I still have the freedom to decide how I’m going to investigate that theme – and how I’m going to present the concepts and skills – to my students.
Since our theme this year is tolerance and acceptance (hello? Have you MET me?! I can SO work with that), I popped open an online observances calendar and planned out the entire semester. I already knew that February is Black History Month and that March is Women’s History Month. My quick-and-dirty online research revealed that April is Genocide Remembrance Month, May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and June is Gay Pride Month. PERFECT! The semester’s big ideas are covered!
For February, I think our main text should be The Autobiography of Malcolm X. I’ll probably show Mississippi Burning and we’ll read some primary documents from the era with a special focus on Letter form a Birmingham Jail. We’ll focus mostly on the Civil Rights Era just because that’s what I’m most familiar with and, since I don’t have a lot of time to do any brushing up on any other time period, I’m sticking with what I already know. For as much as I’d LOVE to teach some literature from the Reconstruction era, I just don’t have the time to reacquaint myself with the authors of that time period.
So I’m asking you again, Dear Readers, to fill in your suggestions for my themes. I’ve got some ideas for what I’d like to plug into my months, but I also know that I’m limited by my own experiences. I’ve come to rely on you and your expertise to keep me from being too narrow, so do your magic, my friends; I await your wisdom!