You Can Boast, But Then You’ll Roast

Target Audience: This is particularly an abstract lesson, as it covers a wide variety of historical periods. However, its versatility makes it a Swiss-army-knife for a majority of the social studies department. Because the readings of these passages can be complex, this lesson is best suited for a group of high schoolers. Although the readings all serve a common purpose, they are spread out through history, so assimilating this lesson into one specific high school social studies course may be difficult. Specific course: dealer’s choice.

Lesson Context: This lesson takes students through different historic depictions of how authors and societies viewed a person’s ego. All of these documents are used in order to showcase the inevitable consequences of pride. Obviously, different themes can be traces within the lines of these stories, but their respective authors successfully highlight the inevitable outcomes of pride, boasting, and excessive self-esteem.

Historical Readings:

Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

  • What claims does the narrator make about Ozymandias?
  • How does the author want the reader to feel about Ozymandias’s claims of glory?
  • What is the lesson hidden within the poem, specifically to the audience of the 1970s?

Icarus and Daedalus

  • What is the hidden message within the story of Icarus?
  • Assuming this story is passed by word-of-mouth, what is the intent of its performance?
  • How do the lessons within this story compare to Shelley’s poem?

1 Samuel 17 note verse 1-11 & 40-54

  • What does the story of David teach young Israelites from its respective time period?
  • What does the story of David teach modern day Sunday school children?
  • What is the story’s lesson about boasting, and how does it historically compare to the Greek Myth, and the poem of the 70s?

Teacher’s Guide: Within the multi-layer themes of three of these documents, there is a secret thread to the lessons associated with pride. Obviously, all three of these authors note the negative consequences of inevitable downfall. Although they are spread far throughout the timelines of history, their common themes are perpetual. Students should pick up on the similarities between all three stories, and connect them to one another. Each respective story warns their audience of the dangerous of pride, using its own historical period to paint a ranging variety of accounts.

Behind Closed Borders: Life Under the Tokugawa Shogunate

Target Student Group: I will be using these some of these sources in my tenth grade World History classes.

Lesson Context: This unit is called “Asia in Transition.” Last week we learned about the Ming and Qing Dynasties of China and the Opium War. This week, we will be learning about the Tokugawa Shogunate and Japanese isolation. The two main objectives for this part of the unit are (1) SWBAT discuss the conditions of the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan and (2) SWBAT explain Japanese isolationism.

Document 1: The Edicts of Toyotomi Hideyoshi; Expulsion of Missionaries (1587)

Close Reading Prompts: Who wrote this? When was it written? Why was it written? How might the circumstances in which the document was created affect its content?

Document 2: Tokugawa Ieyasu on Military Government and the Social Order

Close Reading Prompts: Who wrote this? What claims does the author make? What language (words, phrases, images, symbols) does the author use to persuade the documents audience?

Document 3: The Edicts of the Tokugawa Shogunate; The Closing of Japan (1635)

Close Reading Prompts: Who wrote this? Who is the target audience? When was it written? Why was it written? Is it reliable – why or why not?

Teacher’s Guide: Document 1; Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a Japanese daimyo. 1587. It was written because the Japanese did not want Western influences encroaching on their culture and way of life. Around this time, Jesuit missionaries had gained considerable power in China and Japan wanted to protect itself from the influence of Christianity. However, this was before Japanese isolation which is why they continue to allow the Portuguese and Spanish to trade. Document 2; Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate in Japan. The author is claiming that the strict social order is necessary and has a purpose, because it benefits the country as a whole. Ieyasu uses persuasive and descriptive language to illustrate the tasks required of each role and how that benefits society. Document 3; The document came from the shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate. It is addressed to the Joint Bugyo of Nagasaki, which were the government officials of the Tokugawa Shogunate. It was written in 1635. It was written to enforce Japanese isolationism. For looking at Japanese isolation, this is a reliable source because it is an official government edict and they were the ones implementing and enforcing isolation policies. However, the perspective it gives is fairly limited because it does not show us how Japanese isolation played out in the day to day lives of regular Japanese citizens.

Document(s) Source: Asia for Educators: An initiative of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute of Columbia University.

Document 1 & 3: Japan: A Documentary History: The Dawn of History to the Late Tokugawa Period, edited by David J. Lu (Armonk, New York:
M. E. Sharpe, 1997), 196-197. © 2001 M. E. Sharpe. Reproduced with the permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Document 2: Korō

Feature Image Source: “The Belfry at Taiyuinbyo, Mausoleum of The 3rd Tokugawa Shogun, Lemitsu” by Ray in Manila is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Adam, Eve, the Devil, and our Fall from Grace

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PART 1: Lesson Background

Target Group
This lesson would be taught to high-schoolers in either a comparative religion class, literature class, or a religion class for a faith-based school. The text requires some analysis, contextualization, and critical reading, so I would lean toward teaching this to later grades

Lesson Context and Construction
This lesson could be taught in a number of different contexts depending on the class. I think it fits best into an unit constructed around how the Bible was written, or how sacred books are written. In this case I would place this lesson midway or toward the end of a unit designed around the writing and canonization of Biblical texts.

The lesson would be centered around an essential question: What can non-canonical texts tell us about the lessons readers of the Bible are meant to understand? Students will perform close reading of three texts (the book of Genesis and two pseudepigraphal texts), and compare their stories as a group using prompts and a collaborative board. Finally, after comparisons are made, students will provide a two-paragraph written response to the questions:
– Based on our readings and comparisons, why do you think the pseudepigraphal texts were left out of the Bible? What lessons did they teach, or themes did they have that orthodox Christians didn’t like?

Students are given three texts, all relating to the fall of Adam and Even from the Garden of Eden as told from three different religious texts. They should perform a close reading of each text (either as pre-class homework as an asynchronous lesson before class time) and think about the following questions as they do so:

  1. What is the “lesson” of this passage?
  2. What does this passage tell us about the role of Adam and Eve?
  3. What does this passage tell us about the role of Satan?
  4. What causes the main character(s) to lose favor with God?

Students will hopefully see some stark differences in the way each passage answers these questions.

PART 2: Asynchronous Readings

Reading 1: Book of Genesis, Chapter 3, Verses 1 – 24
Excerpt Source

Reading 2: Vita Adae et Evae, Verses 12.1 – 21.3
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Reading 3: The Apocalypsis Mosis, Verses XV 1 – XXX 1
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PART 3: Group Discussion and Analysis

Next Steps
The class should discuss as a whole the different aspects of the texts that stood out while reading. As a class, fill out the chart provided below in order to both facilitate discussion and check for understanding.

Example Biblical Texts Chart

Finally, pose students the final two questions as a 2 paragraph short response they can work on during class, so that they have access to the chart. The short response could also be provided as homework, with the chart shared (or not, depending on the desired level of difficulty).

“Tell Them About the Dream, Martin.”

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Target student group

The target group will be U.S. History High School students. This is due to the reading and the need for the students to create inferences from the context.

Lesson context

The lesson will be about the Civil Rights Movement, specifically about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The students will use the context of the “Eulogy for the Martyred Children”, the photo of Dr. King at Washington, and then “I Have a Dream”. The students will go through the lesson about the Civil Rights Leaders. Dr. King will be the focus of the students after the lecture on Nearpod.

As a side note, the “I Have a Dream” speech was inspired by Mahalia Jackson who shouted to him “tell them about the dream, Martin. Tell them about the dream” during his speech at the National Mall in Washington D.C… Dr. King begins to change from his prewritten speech to the famous “I Have a Dream” with “And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream…”.

Nearpod Link:

Three historical documents with the close reading prompts:

  1. “Eulogy for Martyred Children” (Citation: King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968. A Testament of Hope: the Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991.)
  2. Photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressing the crowd during the 1957 Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in Washington, D.C. Source
  3. I Have a Dream (Citation: King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968. A Testament of Hope: the Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991.)

The reading Prompts will be (respective to the reading):

Key Concepts:

-Who created the document?

-What’s their point of view/purpose?

-How did the text say it?

-How does it reflect its historic time period?

What Does this Photo Tell Me?

-Write down what you think the photo is showing you

What does this text mean to me?

-Share with your partner: The author is trying to convince me of (______). I do (or don’t) trust this document because (_______).

“Teacher’s guide” to what you would expect for student answers.

Key Concepts:

-Who created the document?

Martin Luther King Jr.

-What’s their point of view/purpose?

Their point of view is that the death of the four little girls at the 16th St. Baptist Church in Alabama are now martyrs. They are being used as a call to continue to fight for justice since their killers were men in the KKK.

-How does it reflect its historic time period?

This reflected the Civil Rights Movement because the church was used as a common meeting location for civil rights leaders. It also reflected the level of violence that White Americans used to Black/ African Americans.

What Does this Photo Tell Me?

-Write down what you think the photo is showing you

The students could talk about the U.S. flag, the number of people present, who the man is, the location of this photo.

What does this text mean to me?

-Share with your partner: The author is trying to convince me of (______). I do (or don’t) trust this document because (_______).

The students could share that the author is trying to convince them of a dream, equal rights. They can share their personal opinion about the text as well.