Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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3. Utopian Promise   

7. Slavery and

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
- Author
- Context
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Problem-Based Learning Projects

""How can I get my students to think?" is a question asked by many faculty, regardless of their disciplines. Problem-based learning (PBL) is an instructional method that challenges students to "learn to learn," working cooperatively in groups to seek solutions to real world problems. These problems are used to engage students' curiosity and initiate learning the subject matter. PBL prepares students to think critically and analytically, and to find and use appropriate learning resources." -- Barbara Duch, University of Delaware

  1. You have been hired as a tour guide at a plantation house that has become a museum. The "big house" has been restored to its former grandeur and is now a popular tourist attraction, but the farm buildings, kitchens, and slave quarters no longer exist. You notice that many tourists focus on the beauty of the plantation house, but seem to have minimal awareness of the slave system that supported it. You are anxious to convince tourists that their romanticized notions of plantation culture are largely inaccurate. How will you structure your tour to inform them about the reality of life on a working plantation in antebellum America?

  2. It is 1862 and you are a political consultant for President Lincoln. The president has decided to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves held in bondage within the rebelling Confederate states. He has hired you to help him with public relations on the Emancipation Proclamation. Draft a plan for how the president and his staff should go about gaining public support and swaying public opinion in the North in favor of emancipation.

  3. You are Harriet Jacobs's literary agent. Several publishers have already turned down the chance to publish Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, claiming that the book diverges too far from the traditional conventions of slave narratives, is too open about sensitive topics like sexual exploitation, and will not be interesting to the general public. You have a meeting scheduled with the Boston firm of Thayer and Eldridge (the eventual publishers of Jacobs's narrative). Prepare your sales pitch.

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