Sequence of instruction

Hi everyone,

I definetely need some help with my “question” for a sequence of instruction. Here’s what I was thinking. Please let me know what you think!!

Why are we here? With this question, I hope that high school students would be able to find some greater meaning for their lives. It seems easy to get caught up in the melodrama of high school: crushes, gossip, drama. This topic is meant to take them beyond the trival and get them thinking about a larger purpose in life. I would want them to come up with some personal goals, community goals, and national/international goals.

We would use texts to try to discover what our “purpose” is. We would look at different levels of “purpose” over a period of weeks. We would start on a personal level. What do we want for our selves? The texts for this would be about self-discovery. Rags to riches stories, overcoming obstacles, carpe diem. Second, we would branch out into our local community. What are the problems in the community? How can they be improved? The texts for this would be from local newspapers (great opportunity for students to discover articles for themselves!) as well as stories about young adults who bring change to their communities. Third, we will explore national/international goals. This final project would be mainly in the hands of the students. I would leave it to them to chose a national or international topic. We would research it from many angles, in fiction and non-fiction, as well as multi-media sources.

I see this topic as a great opportunity for involvement in and out of the classroom. I think there are many things that the students could do with this, and it could be a great way for them to get excited about issues that lie outside of the high school walls.

Please share your thoughts with me!




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10 responses to “Sequence of instruction

  1. canadawr5

    I think you have a good start and I like the fact that you are allowing the students to go through their own thinking processes. You are posing the question without guiding them in a specific direction.

    Ray C.

  2. More S of I

    Allison, I really like your question and like you said, it has so much potential. The student’s search for meaning in their lives would really introduce you, their teacher, to their values, since there are so many ways to answer this. I especially like the 3 levels you want to apply this question to: personal, community, national/international. You have made a great start.

    Since we are in charge of keeping things on the blog moving this week, I encourage others to share their ideas, suggesttions, comments, etc.

    I am thinking of doing something related to power/gender politics/feminism. Feminism is my main area of interest, but as I told a few people, I worried about keeping adolescent boys involved with this topic. I don’t know what question I would start with, but I have been thinking of several. What are gender politics? What is gender? (This one may be particularly interesting with explorations of issues/misconceptions surrounding gender, gender identity, sex, sexual identity) I think this topic is interesting because it would allow us to explore many important issues and force students to possibly confront their stereotypes, how they view masculinity, femininity, sexism, behavior, socialization, etc. We would use text sets and supplemental information to examine how gender politics are treated by and within society.

    Other than these thoughts, I am still brainstorming and reviewing my ideas. Any suggestions are more than welcome.

  3. sfarah19


    I like that you recognize how important it is for students to become involved in their community. Students enviornments have a large impact on their lives in and outside of school. I think this is a great question for your unit. I also really like that you will have them explore gender issues as identity is a huge issue in our schools.


  4. sunyprof

    Allison, I think your question is very productive and of course, an essential one. It seems to be a fruitful question to pursue for a whole school year, or many school years! Here’s my recommendation. Take one piece of the 3 focal areas you laid out to build your “unit” for 541.

    I really like your referencing young adults who “bring change to their communities” and suggest you make that the central topic for your inquiry.

    There are so many ways you can organize a sequence of instruction around that topic.

    How would you state it as a question?

    And I like that conducting a personal inquiry into one’s own goals and purposes for “being-in-the-world” as well as then moving onto the international stage are wonderful bookends for an emphasis on “acting locally.”

    I also really like the global focus on topics of international concern.

    But I would suggest you definitely not try to develop instruction for such a large topic for this course. I hope you will continue to refine your thinking on this topic and get to it! I’ll/we’ll all help. KES

  5. allison

    Thanks for your advice, Professor Stearns. I will have to do some research and decide which topic will have the most appropriate texts. My reservation with the community focus was that I could not immediately think of any community-building texts. Does anyone know of a short story or book that would be helpful?

    I thought that the students could reference the local paper and follow a community concern over the course of several weeks. We would, of course, need other stories and articles to draw inspiration from.

    Thank you all for your help. I’m off to to do some searching!

  6. allison

    I do like your idea because I think gender issues are something that most students know little about.
    I think it will be important for you to keep it fresh and relevant to them. When I took womens studies as a freshman, I would get frustrated when I couldn’t relate to the issues. You must consider the gender issues that the students will be aware of, like representation of women in music videos and magazines.
    As you said, keeping the boy’s attention is another issue. What are the expectations for boys today? What is “macho” and are boys expected to be “macho” all the time? I hear boys calling each other “homo” constantly. What are the implications in this?

    I think this could be a great topic, and I will be interested to see where you take it!

  7. jillian24

    Hey Mandy!
    A thought… if you angle your question towards stereotypes, could you cover your feminist interests, but leave an opening if the boys in your class want to go in a different direction? It may get them into the discussion initially and then move them into gender issues without the boys being generally resistant.

  8. jillian24

    Ok. My question: What does it mean to be equal?

    I’d like to include my idea of intelligence and how many ways there are to show that you are smart or talented. I’d like them to bring in a book they have already read that identifies some of the aspects they value in themselves.

    I’d also like to focus on cultural and socio-economic divisions. We’ll even read parts of the Constitution and, perhaps, part of the NCLB legislation. A great opening for non-fiction, I’d like to read at least parts of biographies.

    This is a widely covered topic and so I would like to give students a choice between multiple works of literature. In the end it will highlight what we know and what we want to know, creating the topic of the next “unit”.

    I’d like to incorporate poems and short stories into this set, but I’ll admit those are my weakest areas. Any ideas???

  9. allison76

    I especially like the biographical component to this section. I think this would be interesting for the students and give them an opportunity to search for their own role models.

    Don’t be afraid of poetry! especially on a topic like this one! I suggest Langston Hughes for beautiful words about equality 🙂

  10. allison

    I am having trouble finding good novels about community building.
    I’m leaning towards self-discovery instead of the wider, community focus. I think that will be a good place to start, since many young adults are still searching. I would still want to use the community and national perspectives to suppliment the personal-goal examination.

    Thoughts, anyone??

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