Kids were asked to write an essay about "the good side of slavery" - and it set off a war in the district. Why? Is slavery so tied to race and politics in the South that you can't have a discussion? Even if that was a poor topic choice, what could the assignment have been?
Modern slavery is a fascinating subject. You can ask all sorts of fabulous questions...
What is the definition of slavery?
Is an Indian man who indentures himself to go to Saudi Arabia for decades a slave? How about a woman who ends up in a prostitution ring? Does slavery have to do with being property or having choices?
How many slaves are there in the world and how would you prove it? How much is a slave worth today and how much was one worth (in today's dollars) in historic times? Here's one answer:
Today there are an estimated 27 million slaves worldwide - more than at any other time in history. The price of a slave has dropped a thousandfold - from the equivalent of $40,000 in 1850 to $30 today. Which means that "maintenance" is a low priority - you don't need to worry about taking care of your slaves when you can just buy another one. Many of the goods we consume are tainted by slavery - including chocolate.
I think you will find other uses for technology, like blogging as a historical character, I've seen classes set up where everyone takes on a personna and has to blog from that perspective.
There are recorded interviews with slaves that can be found online.
Last word - avoid having a powerpoint be the expected outcome!
Hi James, you might want to get in touch with Cassandra Clifford http://www.classroom20.com/profile/NoChildTraffic a human rights activist who has just joined classroom 20. In her blog she has information about child labour today and she is interested in hearing the points of view of both teachers and children, with a view to setting up a project for children on the subject of children's rights.
I'm just brainstorming here.. why not use the internet to search for images or painting of African American slaves, the conditions they lived in etc... have students create a PowerPoint presentation using them along with details they obtain from research. You could also use either nice instrumental music or perhaps the music of slaves. I remember seeing sometihng on TV (might have been a documntary on HBO) that modern day musicians actually performed and played the music written by slaves or were sang by slaves. It was very powerful.
This would really put a humanistic perpective on slavery that might hit home with students. Seeing people treated like that and the conditions they had to endure truly brings it out of a textbook.
How many of our students have become "slaves" to the technology that they are using? This may not be where you were wanting to start but it's something to ponder.
Kelly, I do think you are overstating your case but it is also worth pondering.....It brings to mind that comment of Toussaint L'Ouverture ( the liberator of Haiti). In part he said, "even worse than a slave that knows, is the person who is a slave but has no idea that they are ".
I do think that all discussions of slavery and human "innate" difference start and end with the concept of empathy. Hard thing to teach,to see and walk in another's shoes. But technology allows us this but so often also allows us to "categorize" our tears and be like the speissburger in the days of Hitler, giving money to the poor, crying at the opera, cultured, reading about the world but sending millions without hesitation to burn in the ovens. Speissburger......
Here is a student produced video that really creates empathy. A good start for talking about slavery. Also a nice book by a Sudanese guy who escaped years of slavery. Forget the name but saw an outstanding interview of him on American TV.