This week we’re pleased to bring you an article from Katy Reddick, a middle school Latin teacher in Durham, CT and long-time CANE enthusiast.
Slavery is a difficult topic for my students. They struggle imagining it as anything other than race-based since they have read so much about the antebellum American south. As a result, their ideas of what slavery looks like are limited and there is a great deal of cultural baggage. Some students feel shame, others a sense of superiority- ‘I would never own a slave.’ Broadening the discussion to include modern day slavery enables students to move to a more nuanced definition, recognize slavery’s myriad forms, and contemplate how they support or fight slavery today.
As always, time is limited in the classroom! I worked with my technology integrationist, Bill Kurtz, to develop a streamlined approach for students researching modern slavery, synthesizing their findings, and creating an authentic product. During two days in the computer lab, students researched modern slavery after having been provided with a few websites. You can find these resources at http://nulliservi.weebly.com/. During those two days, I encouraged students to take the Slavery Footprint Survey and to follow whatever facts interested them. They then summarized their findings by composing a Tweet. They did not post their Tweet, but submitted it to me via a Google Form. Students learned how to write a powerful Tweet by including a shortened URL, hashtag, and mention (@) influencers. See the Using Social Media tab at the same website for Twitter tricks and tips I shared with students.
We then created the Twitter handle @NulliServi for the entire class. By having a single Twitter account, we don’t have to worry about privacy concerns. Each day one of the students’ Tweets is posted in order to educate and activate others about modern slavery. Each day we take two minutes out of our class time to read the posted Tweet, perhaps follow its link, read other posts about slavery, and see how many followers we have. Evaluations after the project indicate that students are enjoying the ongoing engagement, seeing their posts appear, and having an authentic audience.
What delighted me about this project was how much students learned and how excited they were about sharing their learning. Feel free to steal any and all ideas here for a project of your own and contact me with any questions you have. Lastly, don’t forget to follow @NulliServi on Twitter!