Solve for Y Discovering and Plotting our collective identity. Anthony Fitzpatrick
Disclaimer • This presentation is about enhancing analysis of social studies in your classroom and in the outside world. • It’s icing – not the cake of deep content. • Sing • Dance • Laugh • Think • Smile
What makes Us U.S.? • Nation: • A people who share common customs, origins, history, and frequently language. “Nations” run deeper than the boundaries that may encompass it’s people. We often misuse the term and mistake it for country or State.
Why is cultural DNA important? • It showcases: • Our goals and dreams • Our faults • Our lessons • Our humor • Our myths • And more that I can’t think of. Tapping into Cultural DNA leads to . . .
We are Unique (just like everybody else ;) • We have a cultural narrative in the United States. Because we’ve come from different parts of the world, our expressions, history, and myths define us. • And it can be FUN to explore our cultural DNA.
We activate and look for 3 things: • Memory: When we see something new we try to see a connection or corollary to something we’ve seen before. • Symbols: Is this a metaphor, an analogy, what does the “thing” over there signify? • Patterns: Similarities of events and narratives. • All of these things bring richness to our study and are great for infusing other elements into our classroom.
Just a quick visual example • What does this picture say to you?
Are these things always permanent? • NO • Some are fleeting and fads. Some go away and return later. • But ALL add a richness to our classrooms.
But Seriously – what can I DO with that? • Linking Music, literature and art with history and politics is what makes your classroom come alive and engage more students! • www.shmoop.com • A GREAT starting point – particularly if you are looking for links between music, literature and history! • It also has a little section called “Why Should I care?”
So HOW do I do this in my classroom? Y = MX + B A “simple” formula that guides us through the process. And it’s a formula they learn anyway – slope intercept or something like that. Y The formula justifies Why something is a part of our cultural DNA (all of the subsequent parts establish its place in our “canon”)
M • Meaning: • What is the original (factual) meaning of the reference? • What is the figurative meaning of the reference?
XFinding 3 additional examples of it’s use Explanation of original use. (Maybe use ARTIST, SPECS) Example 1 (ARTIST/ SPECS) Example 2 (ARTIST/ SPECS) Example 3 (ARTIST/ SPECS)
What types of examples should we find? Books, Movies, Music, Articles, Pictures, Cartoons. (look for them to span time) YES! Sometimes our cultural DNA can be referenced in something as simple as a picture! Tapping into this enriches our students and allows them to access a greater understanding of things happening around them (even if it is just a Simpsons episode).
B • It connects Because? • Has the meaning remained the same? • Examine Midas Touch. hhmmmm • Why does this resonate with us and continue to be used? Plotting it’s proximity to the original meaning and it’s relevance in today’s lexicon.
But what if I hate that silly formula? • How about 3 W’s? • What does it mean? • Where else is it used? • Why does it continue to stay with us?
“I cannot tell a lie” The original myth (story) Without knowing the myth, this is just a toy.
BENEDICT ARNOLDFinding 3 additional examples of it’s use In an act that has made his name synonymous with treason in American history, General Benedict Arnold conspired to turn his command of West Point over to the British. In return, he was to receive money and become a general in the British army. His treason was discovered when Major Andre, his British contact, was captured. Kerry's 'Benedict Arnold Democrats' By Roger Bybee "You can't prosper if you're the Democratic Party with what could be called Goldman-Sachs economics. You've got to have 'average-person economics.'" -- former Republican strategist and author Kevin Phillips. John Kerry has been loudly denouncing "Benedict Arnold CEOs" for their policy of outsourcing US jobs overseas. Is John Walker Lindh (American Taliban) a modern day version of Benedict Arnold? Why or Why not?
Let them Eat CakeFinding 3 additional examples of it’s use The origin of many phrases in English are unknown. Nevertheless, many people would say that they know the source of this one. It is widely attributed to Marie-Antoinette (1755-93), the Queen consort of Louis XVI. She is supposed to have said this when she was told that the French populace had no bread to eat. In today's front-page report on City of Pensacola employee benefits, two things come to mind: 1. The city's motto should be changed from "City of Five Flags" to "Let them eat cake." 2. The City of Pensacola is too expensive for the city of Pensacola. (March 15,2009) T-shirt design Let Them Eat Cake Inc. is an award-winning, family-owned and operated “Cake Boutique.” We have been designing and decorating customized wedding and all-occasion cakes since 1977.
Shakespeare is a GREAT place to look! • Out Damned Spot. • To Be or Not To Be . . . That is the question. • Double Double Toil and Trouble. • Romeo, Romeo where for art thou Romeo. • Et tu, Brute? • A horse; a horse . . . • By the pricking of my thumbs; something wicked this way comes.
Greek and Roman Myths/ History • Achilles Heel • Trojan Horse • Flying too close to the sun • Midas Touch! • Struck by Cupid’s Arrow • The weight of the world on his shoulders • Pushing boulders up a hill.
Anyone know of a book with: • Garden • Serpent • Plagues • Flood • Parting of waters • Loaves • Fishes • Forty days • Betrayal • Slavery and escape • Fatted calves • Milk and honey?
The Bible • Forbidden Fruit • Judas • 30 pieces of silver • Golden Calf • Turn into a pillar of salt • Cross to bear
Literature (non-Shakespeare) • White Whale • Albatross Around My Neck • Chasing windmills • White Rabbit • Off With her Head • Emperor's New Clothes • The Sky is Falling • Turn into a Pumpkin • The shoe that fits • Peter Pan syndrome • Cheshire cat grin • Scarlett Letter • breadcrumbs
How about History. • We the People • 40 acres and a mule • Waterloo • Stonewalling • Pearl Harbored • I Have a Dream • Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness • Napoleon complex • We have nothing to fear but fear itself • When in the course of human events
Sports • Hail Mary • 7th Inning Stretch • We’re in the home stretch. • Fast out of the gate, slow to finish • Three strikes and you’re out • Cinderella is going to the big dance.
Movies, TV, and Broadway– Fun Fun! • I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore. • Camelot • Frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a damn. • Play it again Sam. • Like sands through the hourglass . . .
Just some fun extras • The cat that ate the canary • Cutting off you’re nose to spite your face • Dropped a dime Any that we can think of? Well, now that I’ve led you down a primrose path . . .
Remember SPECs? • Social • Political • Economic • Cultural • Most of these phrases; symbols, books, images all get hooked into this model BEAUTIFULLY.
Don’t believe me? • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: • Victor Frankenstein builds his masterpiece not only from graveyard parts – but also from a historical condition or ENVIRONMENT! • The beginning of the Industrial Revolution – where “reckless abandon” threatens everything we knew during the Enlightenment. • New Science including anatomical research caused religious and philosophical chaos in English society in the early 1800s.
SO • Every time we move into a “Brave New World” some writer, artist or other let’s us know that we are about to meet the monster of our advancements. (Frankenstein so to speak) • Memory, Symbol, Pattern????
What is the practicality? • Ever have your kids write newspaper articles? • What about asking them to draw their own political cartoons? • Construct a timeline of its use. (or a virtual timeline) • What about a straight up writing assignment: • With which phrase does person or event most closely match and why?
Everything leads perfectly to ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS • Unlike other methods of analysis, Solve for Y forces kids to ask and answer essential question of why these things matter and resonate in our consciousness.
Practically Speaking • Why do I have the students do the Y=MX+B? • Without that quick exercise, they may try to use cultural links that aren’t relevant. • Then: I have them draw the cartoon or write the newspaper article based on the idioms that they’ve validated. • Once they get the point – I drop the formula since they know the expectations of the assignment.
And lastly . . . • Spiral historical content. • Allow them to activate prior knowledge. • Link it to other strategies, Notebook/ SPECS, ARTIST/ What’s My Return Address/ On the Money. • Unlock subtle meaning. • Give them a road map and allow them to be curious and creative. • (imagine if some of our English teachers had done this BEFORE we read the book) Make this as brief or extensive as you’d like With those signature strategies!
Quick Quiz • Let’s talk about the following political cartoons and see if we can unlock the symbolism, meaning and connections: