How wrong is a rumor? Brainstorming a class project for TRUE SHOES
|Notes from Doug|
A teacher in Hookset, NH, whose students are reading True Shoes asked me to help brainstorm ideas for a final project. Here's what I came up with — hope it might be helpful to you:
The thing that jumps to my mind is the question that surrounds the incident when Cam, enraged over the rumor that's just been spread about him and Turner, attacks Jon because it was Jon who forwarded the text to him. There's a lot you could do around that, don't you think?
Some ideas, off the top of my head this morning ...
1. As you say, a debate. The issue: Whose act was more blameworthy (or morally worse, or more deserving of punishment ... or something like that): Cam's physical attack, or the rumor spread by the Royalty girls about the two boys that prompted the attack?
2. A debate over Jon's role. Argue either that he shares some of the blame for what happened, because he passed along a rumor that was clearly intended to hurt someone; or that he's not to blame, because he was only one of a number of kids who did the same thing. Does being part of a crowd that does something wrong absolve you of blame for that wrong — or not?
3. Role-play a group session called by Mrs. Capelli, the principal, to try to get to the bottom of what really happened. Students choose and then research the roles they'll play — the principal, Cam, Russell, Jon, Turner, Serena, Lauren. What questions would the principal ask? How would each student answer, given what you know or can reasonably assume THEY know about what really happened?
3.b. Perhaps the meeting has been called by two local police detectives. After all, a violent crime was committed. Decide what the detectives know, going in — probably they'll have interviewed Cam, maybe only Cam. Have them interview each of these actors. (In real life, detectives would interview different people separately; but let's take the liberty of bringing everyone together for the drama.)
4. Have students role-play various conversations, one to one or in small groups, that are likely to have happened on the day of Cam's early-morning attack. For example, Cam and his aunt, at the police station. Bethany querying Serena about what really happened, having her suspicions. Serena and Lauren talking about the impacts of their rumor — how would they feel? Elliot and Emily talking; the skateboarder/alternative kids that Bethany later tries to interview. How would they view this incident, coupled with the rumor? And Turner, who is confused about his sexual identity. If someone approached him about the rumor and the violence ... what would he say?