We started by talking about what constitutes a scandal. We watched a video clip about Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz’s recently infamous comment regarding the Listeriosis outbreak. The clip showed the political mileage that the opposition is getting out of his “death by a thousand cold cuts” pun.
It turns out that seventeen year-olds are not easily offended or outraged. Even the glimpse that they took at the deathby1000coldcuts online game hardly raised an eyebrow.
Students were given the task of researching a modern North American scandal. In groups of 2-3, they spent an hour finding information about one of the following:
Their job was to introduce the scandal to their classmates in their own words in less than a page.
On Day 2, students created a brief timeline of the main events of their scandal and then each wrote a paragraph answering the question: “Was it really an awful or shameful thing, or was it merely sensationalized?”
Finally, students posted all of their work on the class wiki.
What worked well
- Students were eager to research these terms and names that they’ve heard, wanting to defend Mulroney or denounce the Liberals with the Gomery Inquiry. (The school seems to be in a staunchly Conservative riding.)
- Hearing exclamations like, “So that’s what Watergate was!”
- The variety of websites that students encountered, many of them news and history sites.
- The exercise of paraphrasing challenged the students to understand the material and communicate it clearly.
What needs work
- The wiki and the school server continue to butt heads, and many of our attempts to edit pages on the wiki were rejected. This may be a Wetpaint issue, as I haven’t had any problems like this with Wikispaces.
- The students who researched Iran-Contra are still scratching their heads.