Friday, April 17, 2015

Day of Silence 2015: A Lesson Plan for Empathy

(The following is a lesson I posted to my courses via Canvas LMS. Students posted to the discussion board. It may have been one of the most meaningful classes I have taught and I said nothing...)

Welcome to class. Today I will be silent.

Today is GLSEN Day of Silence April 17th, 2015,

Last year, I had students watch these videos and discuss online what they learned and what they found interesting.

In class, honoring this Day of Silence, here is your assignment:

Watch any and all of the videos below.
Hopefully, you brought headphones.

Take notes for your poem due Monday.


Comment on the videos - or share additional content/videos that relate to today.

Yes, you're required to "Reply" - Post at least twice - hopefully more.

Watch any of the videos - your choice - here's a playlist of a baker's dozen:

Share lines that resonate with you - write them down in your journal or post them

Maybe work them into your own poem.

Click here for more details on your homework for Monday.

Click for more information on the Day of Silence.

Kids can be cruel. Stop all bullying. Please speak up and be an ally.

Here's a prose poem that I wrote last year...

Walking in Silence

While not malicious gossip, nor direct threats,
perhaps, the meanest action may be ignoring someone.

Not just giving a person the silent treatment,
but ignorance to the fact that they exist
and that person's story and identity is
different than your own. Isolation

will drive a person mad in prison, but
what does it do to a person among us
in society. They float unacknowledged in the halls,
on the sidewalk, in our world, in our lives.

A sea of faces blending into the background,
extras in a movie where we are are the stars
and they are minor characters: student
#1, student #2, student #3, etc.

I wonder what would happen if we walked
in other shoes, saw through their eyes.
What do we see? If we listen,
what would we not just hear but truly learn?

“I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves or figments of their imagination, indeed, everything and anything except me.” 
― Ralph EllisonInvisible Man

GLSEN wants to know: 

What are you doing to end the silence around 
anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment? 
Share what you are doing #DayofSilence

Follow on Twitter @dayofsilence

Context for International Day of Silence - see this Flipboard Magazine.

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