How to choose an idea? It did not take me long: last semester my intermediate Reading and Writing class read a book on Martin Luther King, Jr. As we were covering one chapter after another, my students were discovering new facts of American history. They were obviously interested in the topic and engaged in that "mini" research in order to answer the questions that I provided them with. Looking back, despite their interest, it was me who developed the questions, prepared all the visual and media files, composed those fancy power point and prezi presentations, and possibly learned the most...Finally, as I was reading our campus newspaper about the BSU students involved into various projects and marchers on MLK Day, I started thinking about creating a project that will allow my students learn about MLK and American history, yet it would be them who creates the questions and presentations, and possibly expand the classroom boundaries.
So, here it is!
This project was designed for English as a Second Language (ESL) college level learners who study English for Academic purposes at an American university. In addition to the language, the students are introduced to American history and culture.
Every Spring semester, students celebrate MLK Day; however, often without knowing historical and cultural significance of this Holiday, as well as how it is celebrated by American people in general and university students in particular.
Who was Dr. King? What role did he play in American history? Why and how do American people celebrate this day? Complete this PBL to find out!
During the 8-week session students will read the book on MLK: "I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World" . Additionally, they will complete research about MLK's life and personality, as well as his role in history. Specifically, students will conduct research using the Internet sources as well as by interviewing American people - on campus or in the community. As the students also work on their academic skills, specifically reading and writing academic English, they will be introduced to the following themes: audience, essay structure and organization, developing a clear topic sentence and thesis statement, writing short summaries, and citing sources. Finally, students will present their finding and what their learned about MLK in their final writing piece (essay).
The Driving Question and Sub-questions:
Driving Question: "I Have a Dream": whose words are these and what do they mean?
- Who was Martin Luther King Jr.?
- What role did he play in American History?
- When do American people celebrate MLK Day?
- How do they celebrate it?
- What does segregation mean?
- What do you know about the segregation that took place in American history?
- Who was involved?
- How did it end?
- When did it end?
- What does "boycott" mean?
- What do you know about the "Bus Boycott"?
- What does Civil Right Movement mean?
- Was there any Civil Right Movement in American History?
- What did the people who took part in the Civil Right Movement want to accomplish?
- Did they succeed?
- How did those events change American history?
- What was the significance of "I Had a Dream" speech?
- Did the dream of MLK become true?