A recent Associated Press article indicates that Michael Brown, a Black unarmed teenager was shot multiple times by a suburban St. Louis police officer. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said that the shooting occurred after Mr. Brown and another individual in a predominately-Black suburb north of St. Louis encountered an officer. According to the Police Chief Belmar, a struggle ensued and one of the men pushed the police officer back into the squad car. The struggle continued into the street where Mr. Brown was shot multiple times.
As students return to school after the Michael Brown shooting, teachers will need to prepare themselves for possible racial challenges in the classroom. Some students may believe that since the teacher has the ultimate power in the classroom the only way to even the score is to have confrontation with the teacher. Other students may believe that since Michael Brown graduated from high school that finishing high may not be with the effort. While there maybe additional reasons, this is a great opportunity to close the trust gap between the teacher and their students.
I would begin preparation for this lesson with a rubric. The rubric should only assess the student’s ability to write and not their thoughts. For example, the criteria could be to write in complete sentences. Or to write an introduction and conclusion paragraph with a specified number of paragraph in between. Also, include in your rubric how a student can avoid an incident such as the Michael Brown shooting. You can adjust the rubric according to the academic level of your class.
I would title the lesson ‘Protecting My Future’. When I start the lesson, I would begin by distributing a copy of an article about the Michael Brown shooting to each student. I would have the students to read the article. I would ask them are there any questions about the article. Students may ask questions that require your opinion. Do not interject your opinion. Say to them “What is most important to me is that I help you to protect yourself so that this will not happen to you”. When you make this statement is moves you from the possible villain to a teacher who really cares about the health and well being all of their students.
Once students have completed their writing, I would have students to exchange papers and grade that paper according to the rubric. Then I would have the students return their papers to the writer. Finally, as a class, we would discuss the Michael Brown shooting prevention techniques. End the lesson by letting students know that your are primarily interested in protecting them and that is why you had this lesson today.
After you have collected and recorded the grades for the students papers, place the outstanding papers on your bulletin board for all students to see and review.
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012
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