Poem A Day:
Throughout this part of the unit, I am using the first half of class to teach or review elements of nonfiction and model my approach to the project I gave them. The second half of class I am giving to students to work on their projects.
Today’s objective was: Students will understand how confirmation bias and values-based information limit critical thinking. (this tied into the song)
I defined the terms “confirmation bias” and “values-based information” and students took notes in their notebooks.
Then we watched this amazing Ted Talk about how websites like Google and Facebook filter information you receive online (the talk is from 2011 so we thought about how much that has changed in either direction since then) Great conversation.
Next, I discussed my own biases and my tendency to find information that confirms them. I just read and am currently teaching Dave Eggers’s Zeitoun in my American Lit class. It is a nonfiction book about one man’s experience in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It is a great read and lends itself well to the project students are working on.
I told students that I am doing the project, just like they are, and that this is the book I chose. Every class, I show them where I am in the project and what my research and thinking looks like, before I dismiss them to do their own projects.
I started out by talking about the protagonist of my book: Abdulrahman Zeitoun. In the book he is portrayed as a successful business owner, hard-worker, loving husband and father and heroic neighbor. I told them, I may want to do more research about the man. So I googled his name (with my smartboard on, while students watched and participated).
The first results to pop up were these:
Jun 6, 2016 – Once a post-Katrina literary hero with a movie deal in the works, Abdulrahman Zeitoun is now a convicted felon. An Orleans Parish judge on …
Oct 29, 2014 – Orleans Parish prosecutors have charged Abdulrahman Zeitoun with three more counts of violating protective orders barring contact with his …
Aug 17, 2015 – Abdulrahman Zeitoun, the protagonist of a post-Hurricane Katrina nonfiction novel who was acquitted by a New Orleans judge two years ago of …
Aug 9, 2012 – After Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun canoed through the city, rescuing neighbors and bringing them bottled …
The true story of one family, caught between America’s two biggest policy disasters: the war on terror and the response to Hurricane Katrina. Abdulrahman and …
Dec 9, 2012 – Indicted for attempted murder, Abdulrahman Zeitoun appears to be anything but the noble hero portrayed in the book.
Mar 11, 2010 – Abdulrahman Zeitoun is the real-life hero of Dave Eggers’s new book. In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina he paddled from house to house in a …
Feb 3, 2015 – by BJW Nashe. Abdulrahman Zeitoun’s roller coaster ride during the past decade — through the ups and downs of running a business, …
Students delved into their books, and took notes searching for things to research for their projects. I conferred one-on-one with them to see what books they chose and what ideas they were thinking about learning more about. They ALL had books and ALL had an idea of where they were going with the project.
I reminded students to read their novels and keep on thinking!