The need: Human existence from prehistory (i.e. before written records) including components of culture and how culture is before the kids. This, along with five basic characteristics of ‘Civilization’ are fundamental ideas pupils should begin digesting. I open debate (oral, small groups/ whole, and written) as to how we learn culture as infants and young children up to their age and beyond. What do they perceive is most dominant? Are they happy with that? Would they change something? Would they be willing to migrate for a different culture? When, where do they draw the line? Should lines ever be drawn? What do they feel, if anything, is critical? This is crucial. Are we all destined to be as lambs? The poems should help with the debate.
Human characteristics will often repeat themselves through multitudes of generations and form the nucleus of patterns or themes. Most textbooks will presuppose a pure cyclical theory of our world and its history. This would be the point for debate , in some measure, with general to AP kids. Will these pupils consider looking at all the history of the world they’ll be perusing using a combination of linear and cyclical theories. Many of you will be apt to ignore this along with the debate on origins, and be quite content with pupils textbooks and textbooks you have read and studied and their cyclical approach. For some of your kids, who have been hearing about the linear theory outside the walls of the school, this could be confusing. It doesn’t seem to be an enlightened stance to dominate kids, and not even mention something (linear) which could so largely influence their understanding and participation in society.
I consider these first moments of pupil participation the most crucial of the year. It sets the table for all that will follow.
Pupils’ work: the poems can be illustrated with some pupil-drawn picture on the right with each couplet or several small (maybe more intricate) pictures with main themes. Pupils may choose one main theme and draw a single picture portraying that. I allow them to choose. I mainly graded their works according to effort and expertise. Any accompanying essay question and their answers (always Q & A) I had them write on the back or in the spaces at the bottom. Hence the paper the poems were copied on had multiple purposes. I continually encourage pupils to write their own poems and turn them in any time for credit. I have a great folder of this creative work., but this was only a minority of pupils altogether, to be honest. Many pupils who until my class said they detested history are brought on board initially with the illustrations of the poems. Look for strengths from all pupils and encourage and reward them for that.
I graded every piece of class work with a 5-point scale. Some work received double points (both exquisite labor and projects/ essays which demanded extra time, including vocabulary (which I had pupils illustrate by hand or with the computer). Points were totaled every 4 ½ weeks and graded with a curve. If sledding was tough, I often used every 3 points as 1 percent. Sometimes I used every 2 points as 1 percent. As is obvious, the top pupils’ scores were outside the curve. Toward the end of my career, I began using their extra class work points for their bulk grade.
Content list: Poems- Cultura and Origins
Discussion of content: How is culture learned and what are some components. Some thought on origins. Though the state standards/ common core skip this entirely now (the past five years or so), some mention can/should be made of this so fundamental concepts.