BIG BRO - AT 6:18 P.M. ET: Reader Wade Anderson alerts us to the story of an upcoming event that should send a bit of a George Orwell chill up our spines,as opposed to a Chris Matthews tingle down our legs:
On September 8, the Department of Education plans to run streaming video of President Barack Obama into the nation's public school classrooms. Teachers and students are carving time out their learning schedule to hear the President speak. The the exact subject of his speech is unclear at this point, but it's likely to revolve around his signed resolution marking September 11th as a "National Day of Service."
The Department of Ed's Teaching Ambassador Fellows group has put out a pre-K-6th grade "Menu of Classroom Activities" for teachers across the country to follow before, during and after the President's statement:
--Before the speech, build students' background knowledge of President Barack Obama by reading books about him and other U.S. Presidents. Ask students, "Why do you think he wants to speak to you?"
--Ask students what they can do to help in schools?
--Think about why it is "important that we listen to the President and other elected officials"?
--During the speech, teachers can ask students "to write down key ideas or phrases that are important or personally meaningful," and "younger children can draw pictures and write as appropriate."
--Students "could think about the following: What is the President trying to tell me? What is the President asking me to do? What new ideas and actions is the President challenging me to think about?" In addition, "students might think about: What specific job is he asking me to do?"
--"Teachers could ask students to share the ideas they recorded...to discuss main ideas from the speech, i.e. citizenship, personal responsibility, civic duty."
--Finally, "Students could discuss their responses to the following questions: What do you think the President wants us to do? Does the speech make you want to do anything? Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us? What would you like to tell the government?"
COMMENT: I can almost hear the chanting and the anthems. This is over the line in our democracy.
September 1, 2009