Tuesday, September 8, 2009

OP Notes and Native American Stereotypes

I have to say that I was pleased by the quality of the writing in your first Opinion Piece ever. That said, there is definitely room for improvement. Some of you are using some strategies well and I want you all to know what's working and what is not. Therefore, I passed back all of your OP's today and had you look over the comments I wrote on your papers. We then made a class list of what's working and where you need help. When we write our next OP, I expect that you will have this list out on your desk as a reminder. Here's what you all came up with:

Needs Work
-details (support argument)
-run-ons and fragments (use ; or conjunctions)
-start by rephrasing the question into a statement

Already Doing

-structure (paragraphs)
-asking questions of the reader
-supporting arguments
-strong, clear opinions
-answering the question fully

After this exercise, we decided it was too hot in the classroom and went outdoors to the patio. We had a lot to do but only managed to get half of our lesson completed. We'll finish the rest of our activity next class. After speaking with Ms. Brod and hearing about the work you're doing in your history class, I thought that maybe we needed to confront stereotypes that exist about Native Americans. I printed out a list of paragraphs that I collected from a variety of websites. Then, I handed each of you a paragraph and asked you to come up with a phrase that summarized the stereotype included in your paragraph. As you explained your stereotype, we had some discussion about examples of the stereotypes. Here's the list that you all came up with:

-Native Americans do not have the silly names attributed to them in movies, e.g. "Soaring Eagle"
-Native Americans do not wear loin cloths, deerskin clothes, moccasins, and feathers
-There's no such thing as Native royalty, like the "Indian Princess"
-Native Americans live in regular houses
-Native Americans do not make whooping noises like they are commonly shown to in the movies and in commercials
-Native Americans number about 800,000 in terms of US population and should not be spoken of in the past tense
-Native Americans do not all own drums and do not chant
-All tribes are not the same and have their own distinct culture
-Native Americans were not killed off in large numbers in battle, but by disease
-Many Native Americans worship the Creator, not all of nature

The part that we did not manage to get to is a bit of an extension of this first activity. For the next part, you will all receive a cartoon that depicts at least one of the stereotypes on our list. Your job is to figure out which of the stereotypes are portrayed and whether or not you feel that the artist is trying to continue or stop the stereotype depicted in the cartoon.

Here are some of the cartoons you'll be asked to look at next class:

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