Wednesday, March 20, 2013

21 March, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

A Class Divided

One day in 1968, Jane Elliott, a teacher in a small, all-white Iowa town, divided her third-grade class into blue-eyed and brown-eyed groups and gave them a daring lesson in discrimination. 

Click on the image below to watch the video on YouTube. (English captions)

Class Discussion Questions

  1. What scene or scenes are likely to stick in your mind for a long time?
  2. Did any part of the film surprise you?
  3. Does the children's body language reveal how they feel during the exercise? Can you give some examples?
  4. How do the negative and positive labels the teacher puts on the two groups become self-fulfilling prophecies? (a self-fulfilling prophecy is one that becomes true because people expect it to be true and behave in a way that will make it happen. e.g.If you expect to fail, you will fail. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.)
  5. What characteristics does the teacher attach to the superior and inferior groups? How do those characteristics reflect stereotypes about blacks and whites?
  6. At recess, two of the boys from different groups get in a fight. How does the teacher make the two boys reflect on their actions?
  7. How is the blue eyes/brown eyes exercise related to the Sioux prayer, "Help me not judge a person until I have walked in his shoes"? 

Now try the following crossword to practise some vocabulary related to racial discrimination.  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Angelina Jolie: Behind the camera (CBS News - 60 Minutes video)

June 3, 2012. Bob Simon profiles international film star Angelina Jolie who is often called "the most beautiful woman in the world," but Jolie has worked hard to prove she's far more than that.

Watch the video and discuss the questions. (Click here to watch the video on YouTube.)
  1. How is Angelina Jolie depicted by the tabloids?
  2. What is the title of the film she has directed?
  3. Why did she shoot her film in Budapest?
  4. What is the film about?
  5. What is the storyline of the film?
  6. How many movies has Angelina acted in?
  7. How old was she when her parents broke up?
  8. What role did she win an Oscar for?
  9. What kind of film is "A Mighty Heart"?
  10. What job did she want to do before she became a star?
  11. How many countries has she visited as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN?
  12. How many children has she had?
  13. How does she get on with her father?
  14. What has her mother taught her?
  15. What is her next film going to be about?

  • If you draw the short straw (informal), you are selected to do an undesirable task. e.g. Sorry, Jim, you drew the short straw. You're on toilet-cleaning duty.
  • A tabloid is a newspaper that has pages about half the size of an ordinary newspaper and that typically contains many photographs and stories about famous people and other less serious news items. e.g.
    She is used to seeing her name in the tabloids.   
  • logistics: the practical arrangements that are necessary in order to organize something successfully, especially something involving a lot of people or equipment e.g.  My mother was in charge of the logistics of our camping trip.
  • Ethnic cleansing  is the organized attempt by a particular race or political group to completely remove from a country or area anyone who belongs to another particular race, using violence and often murder to achieve this.
  • A flick is an informal word for movie.  
  • If something is implausible, it is not believable or realistic. e.g. He gave an implausible excuse for showing up late for work.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Japan Earthquake, 2 Years Later

SOURCE: The Atlantic - In Focus

Tomorrow, March 11th, Japan marks the 2nd anniversary of the devastating Tohoku earthquake and resulting tsunami. The disaster killed nearly 19,000 across Japan, leveling entire coastal villages. Now, nearly all the rubble has been removed, or stacked neatly, but reconstruction on higher ground is lagging, as government red tape has slowed recovery efforts. Locals living in temporary housing are frustrated, and still haunted by the horrific event, some displaying signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Click here to view a series of before-and-after interactive images. Click on each one to see the image fade from before (2011) to after (2013)

Japan Earthquake (closed captioned video + worksheet)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Orwell's 1984 Summary (Video SparkNotes)

Watch the video and answer the questions.
  1. What does a totalitarian government try to do?
  2. What is the London in the book like?
  3. Who is Big Brother?
  4. How can the government watch you in your home?
  5. What is the penalty for breaking the rules?
  6. Why does Winston start writing a diary?
  7. How does he feel about Julia?
  8. Why does he accept O'Brien's invitation to his apartment?
  9. Where are Winston and Julia taken by the police?
  10. What happens there?
  11. Why are they eventually released?

Now try the following quiz.

Big Brother Is Watching You

Orwell's 1984 Summary (Video SparkNotes) worksheet