Nonfiction Reading Unit — Lessons We Learned From Occupy Wall Street
- Grades: 9–12
As I searched for a topic for my nonfiction literature circles to read about and discuss, I read a blog post from the Occupy Chicago website. Given the amount of media coverage the Occupy Wall Street movement has received around the world, I decided that this would be an interesting topic for our literature circles. I am neither for nor against the Occupy Wall Street movement but feel there are lessons that schools, teachers, and students can learn from the protesters and the movement itself. Continue reading to see how we studied the Occupy Wall Street movement and came up with eight lessons.
Typically, I would select an excerpt out of a book, but when I realized that most students had not heard about the movement, I decided to select articles. To avoid having students choose the same articles, I assigned different websites to each row of students in my classroom, and to each class period. My goal was to get different perspectives on the movement from the multitude of media sources. This allowed us to learn about media bias and to consider the differences between conservative and liberal media coverage.
Read and Summarize
Students were required to read and summarize the article they brought to class. I also asked students to pick out three main points that the author of the article wanted the reader to grasp from the reading.
Small Group Discussion
The students shared the three main points of their article with in their small groups. Each group answered three questions in their discussion:
1. What lessons can schools learn from the Occupy Wall Street movement?
2. What lessons can teachers learn from the Occupy Wall Street movement?
3. What lessons can students learn from the Occupy Wall Street movement?
Each group was required to nominate a spokesperson to report their answers during the class discussion.
Class Discussion & Bulletin Board
During the class discussion, the spokespeople reported each group's answers to the above questions. As each student presented, I took notes to assist the class in creating our class bulletin board. I made suggestions on the bulletin board, but students organized the overall look of it. My three requirements were that the board include the eight lessons, a photo with each lesson, and a title for the board.
Here are the eight lessons we chose for our bulletin board:
Eight Lessons That Occupy Wall Street
Can Teach Schools, Teachers, and Students:
1) Be persistent.
2) Stand up for what you believe in.
3) Understand the power of one.
4) Determine a clear purpose.
5) Set achievable goals.
6) Utilize social networking for communication.
7) Take education seriously.
8) Work hard.