Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24-28

U.S. History
Class time working on projects:
Presentations (Thursday and Friday):
Project Suggestions:
The war in pop songs:
Find the lyrics to a pop song from the Vietnam era that refers to the war. Distribute the lyrics to the class and, if you have access to a recording, play the song as well. Then discuss the song: What is its message? Does it simply express an opinion about the war, or does it also call on listeners to take some action? What sorts of reactions might different people (such as a young person eligible to be drafted, a soldier serving in Vietnam, or the parent of such a soldier) have to the song?

Hollywood goes to war:
Working with a partner, select a film about the Vietnam War -- either the war itself or its effects on those who fought in it -- and present your choice to your teacher for approval. Once your selection has been approved, watch the film with your partner.

As you view the film, consider how it portrays the war and the soldiers who fought in it. Does it appear to support U.S. involvement in the war, or not? Are American soldiers presented as heroes, as victims, or in some other way? Also note any particular scenes that dramatically symbolize the film's message.

Each group should present its findings briefly to the class. As the presentations are made, construct a timeline that lists each film and the year in which it was released. When all of the presentations are finished, look at the timeline as a class: Do you see any trends in how Hollywood has portrayed the war or the soldiers who fought in it?

"All the President's Men"
Watch "All the President's Men" and answer the following questions in class:

1. Who were the Washington Post reporters portrayed in the movie?

2. What techniques were used by investigative reporters in an effort to get information from their sources?

3. What ethical standards did journalists follow? Ethical standards for editors?

4. What risks are involved in running a controversial story such as the Watergate scandal? (include a brief discussion of the use of anonymous sources, challenging government leaders - even alleging criminal activity)

5. Discuss the competing interests in U.S. v. Nixon.

6. Briefly discuss the legacy of both the case and the scandal as a whole.
Discuss these questions as well:

The following questions appear onscreen in the video. Feel free to integrate them into your lesson plan as needed.
Part I
Questions to consider before watching the video:
• As you watch the program, think about why the Watergate scandal took place. How does it compare to other scandals in recent history?
• What attitudes and beliefs of the president and his staff led to the Watergate break-in and subsequent cover-up?
• What revelations led to President Nixon's resignation?
Questions to consider after watching the video:
• Analyze the role of the press during political scandals such as Watergate.
• How did Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the Watergate story and keep it alive?
• Debate how reporters should balance respect for the role of the government with the public's right to know.
Suggested activity
• Research President Nixon's foreign policies with China and the Soviet Union.
• Compare Nixon's accomplishments with his failures and debate his overall success as president.

Part II
Questions to consider before watching the video:
• What do you know about the effects and consequences of Watergate?
• How did it affect President Nixon's place in history?
• How did it change the way Americans feel about their government?
• Think about why Watergate is still important to Americans.
Questions to consider after watching the video:
• The identity of "Deep Throat" remains a big mystery. Discuss the responsibility of journalists to protect their sources.
• Which techniques being used to identify Deep Throat seem most likely to reveal his identity?
Suggested activity
• Read Woodward and Bernstein's All The President's Men or watch the film starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. Write a book or film review.

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