Examining Footprints Left Behind?
This essential question is a figurative way to examine a life (biography) in an introspective manner. All too often, when school "cover" biography units, the focus is meaningless. Kids have to report meaningless details of the Bio's life without any introspection or application. The facts are easily recovered on a simple Google search for a website which enables the students to avoid reading the book. The Common Core calls for "relevance" and this simple re-wording of biography units can help mold character in our students.
When senseless madmen leave marks on society, shooting innocent kids and forever impacting a community, it makes no sense. If we spend precious educational time to "cover" this message, perhaps students will understand why video games are rated; Why violent films have warning on them; why there are code of conduct laws; or why we should care about what legacy we are leaving behind.
In the Common Core, a biography unit like this could accompany any history unit where remarkable people are studied. A research reaction to Martin Luther King could send kids out to find remarkable people with remarkable footprints. A reader and the task, reaction to Cesar Chavez study on migrant workers could lead to a footprint examination of others who have fought for a worthy cause. This could also parallel a SS unit on a decade of change where students search for impactors (i.e. those making an impact). They would need to persuade me as to why their choice was nominated for our "Hall of Fame Footprints!"
In light of the recent travesty in Connecticut, wouldn't it be nice for schools to focus on Change Agents? Build a biography unit to challenge students to leave behind a living legacy of good--not evil.