Introduction– This lesson would be delivered to a mixed urban student group. The reason I would teach this lesson is to show the power of the human spirit as the penultimate soldier, Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart would be the main character, but there would need to be much more background information for on the wars he participated. I would also discuss the various wars and events that occurred in his lifetime. He was a soldier from the Boer War in the early 1900s until post- Chinese Revolution in the 1950s. The man served for fifty years was bayonetted, lost an eye, lost a hand, was shot numerous times, survived a shelling, he talks so matter of factly about everything that it may be worthwhile to my urban students. These urban students see things every day that us in the suburbs or far away from the inner city have no idea about. I am hoping that by discussing this man’s journey will help them deal better with their own environments. All the texts/media I have chosen are interrelated and will help guide my students in their learning, each text would have readings chosen that I would analyze with my students.
Bibliography (note these are in Chicago style which is how we cite as historians)
Hobsbawm, E. J. The Age of Empire, 1875-1914. New York: Pantheon Books, 1987.
Hobsbawm, Eric. The Age of Extremes: A History of the World ; 1914-1991. London: Abacus, 2000.
Lattimer, Heather. Reading for Learning: Using Discipline-based Texts to Build Content Knowledge. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 2010.
Joll, James, and Gordon Martel. The Origins of the First World War. White Plains: Taylor and Francis, 2013.
Milner, H. Richard. Start Where You Are, But Don’t Stay There: Understanding Diversity, Opportunity Gaps, and Teaching in Todays Classrooms. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard Education Press, 2012.
Schrire, Carmel. Digging Through Darkness: Chronicles of an Archaeologist. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995.
Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim. The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914. London: Viking, 2014.
Wiart, Adrian Carton de. Happy Odyssey: The Memoirs of Lieutenant-General Sir Adrian Carton De Wiart. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England: Pen & Sword Military, 2007.
Use Wiart as text, map of colonial Africa as culturally relevant, and map as multimedia
Summary– This text follows the life and times of Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart, a career soldier, a war hero, a man amidst a chaotic world. It begins before 1900 and ends after 1950 as he served in wars from the Boer War, when he first joined the British Army, until the Chinese Revolution, where he served as head of the British Military mission for Chiang Kai-Shek. I feel this man’s story is integral to understanding the time period 1900-1950, it is a very matter of fact down to earth autobiography. It is from his first-person perspective directly and can be used as a primary source.
Quantitative– Using storytoolz (insert hyperlink) when I put in two excerpts from the text pg 16 and 156 ranks this as an 11th grade text. As I plan on teaching high school students this is perfect. The freshmen and sophomores can be trained to analyze and the upper classmen should have no issue with this text. I agree with the ranking as this text is very readable as it is written by a relatively common man, very matter of fact, there are a ton of vocabulary words, but I have all faith my students will be able to work with through this text with ease.
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Grade 11.2
Automated Readability Index Grade 12.6
Coleman-Liau Grade 8.6
Flesch Reading Ease 62.9/100 (plain English)
Gunning fog index Grade 14.4
Laesbarhedsindex (LIX) Formula 45.6 = school year 8
SMOG Index Grade 11.5
Average grade level Grade 11.7 (mean of above)
Qualitative– As far as text structure I would only rank this print book as slightly complex. It is very linear and follows his life chronologically. The chapters are laid out in the various episodes of his life and the story flows quite well. For language features I would again say that this is only slightly complex. It was written by an educated man, one can definitely tell that, but the style of his writing is very matter of fact. He does somewhat use complex vocabulary, but I feel I can address that with my students via a frontloading exercise (perhaps predictive sentences using contexts they can understand, ex. Definition of leniency then have them think of a word that is similar they know for deeper understanding). The sentence structure is very simple, it was however written by a man in the fifties in the twilight of his life so there are run-ons and strange capitalizations, but again this can be addressed. Meaning I think is very complex. This can be analyzed and synthesized many different ways and I do not think any one student will have a similar opinion. As it is a first-person primary text this is precisely what I want and the complexity can be addressed with my students. Finally, knowledge demands, for this text I rank it as very complex. The life experiences of this man would not be comprehendible to my students and I would have to carefully portray to them the importance of this man’s contribution to our human history. This also heavily relies on background contextual information as when he discusses wars, battles, people he meets, he assumes that you as the reader already know much about what was happening around him. Both of these issues will be addressed by discussion of other men and women of his time so my students can feel more comfortable about the scope of this man’s life, as well as lectures and activities that teach my students about the wars, and battles he was involved in.
Task Complexity/Usage– This will be a primary source text my students will use. Obviously everyone won’t have a copy, but I will pull out excerpts for us to analyze through my unit Boer War-Chinese Revolution. The purpose of this text is to put my students into the world of a career soldier who had opinions, feelings, felt pain, loss, anguish, and managed to come out just fine. What I really want to stress to my students as they use this text is that this man went through arguably the most difficult times of the last century and came out smiling (hence the title, Happy Odyssey). Perhaps it will somewhat put their own lives into perspective.
Vocabulary– contemporaries, illustrious, prowess, cricket (sport), misfits, ideologies, lenient, reverberations, ineligible, Boer
Questions– What do you think of when you think of a soldier? Is he heroic, fearless, superhuman, or is her perhaps a normal man who rose to fight when his adopted country needed him (Wiart is Belgian by birth)? What would it take for you to rise and fight for fifty years? What character traits do you think you would need? (small sample)
Culturally Relevant Multimodal Map
1898 Map of Colonial Africa
Summary– This map will be used primarily to set the stage for my first lesson on the Boer War. I like it, as it is an old map, there are French words (which I will translate for my students), it shows all the countries under colonial rule. There are many things my students and I can do with this map. I love maps, I know from personal experience, many of my students have no clue about geography and I think it is very important to know where the rest of the world is located. I want to give my students as much information as possible and showing them a map from 1898, right before Sir Adrian entered the British Army to fight the Boers, is integral to their understanding of context clues. As the majority of my students are urban this will connect them to the unit, instead of studying “old white men” they will have a better understanding of how these “old white men” controlled Africa, and many other continents for their benefit only and not the benefit of the cultures that resided in them.
Quantitative– The text used with this map ranks at an average of 11th grade. Again this fits in perfectly with my students, the vocabulary words I will include are also words they should already know (if they’ve ever studied World War One that is). Looking at a map is a training opportunity for my students, as this will definitely not be the only map that we will be looking at or analyzing. I will address this by frontloading perhaps a map of the city and looking for main items associated with the map. (I was kind of confused as to how I would quantitatively analyze a map hope this is sufficient.)
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Grade 7.7
Automated Readability Index Grade 11.2
Coleman-Liau Grade 15.5
Flesch Reading Ease 58.8/100
Gunning fog index Grade 11.0
Laesbarhedsindex (LIX) Formula 50.2 = school year 9
SMOG Index Grade 10.3
Average grade level Grade 11.1 (mean of above)
Qualitative– I will analyze this map based on how important it is to understanding the print-based text mentioned above. The text structure I feel is moderately complex. The organization of the map is clear and it connects the student to the time period when paired with Wiart’s autobiography as well as an urban culture. The text features of the map are in French, so it would help a student understand the map, but are not necessarily integral. I feel that this graphic is entirely supplementary to my unit. If students did not see this map I would just explain to them about the colonialism of Africa prior to 1900, but I think the map does a way better job of this. As far as language features, I feel this map is only slightly complex. It is color coded for ease of reading, it is clearly marked, there really is no unfamiliar vocabulary (I would check this through a pretest perhaps as a review), and whatever sentences are in the map are very simple in nature. Purpose I am also ranking as slightly complex as this maps purpose is clear, to provide context for my students as well as pique their cultural interests. Finally, I would rank knowledge demands as very complex. There definitely needs to be some background information on map reading as well as context of the time period. The intertextuality of this map is also very complex as this map without having vocabulary words associated with it references various colonial era global policies.
Task Complexity/Usage– I can use this map in a variety of ways. I can just quickly show them the map (not good enough). I can explain to my students the significance of them map and teach them about map analysis. We could spend a whole period just discussing various thoughts and opinions student had about this map. I feel maps not only increase your geographical knowledge, but also increase your understanding of a world you can no longer access. This in and of itself is an important skill, but when paired with analysis it becomes an even better lesson.
Vocabulary– imperialism, colonialism, self-determination, South Africa, resources, world domination
Questions– What do you see in this map? What do the various colors denote? What conclusion can you come to about the state of Africa during the 1900s? What was are some main reasons for colonialism? What can you relate this to today?
Boer War Propaganda Piece
Summary– Another way to understand history (especially in this era) is to look at propaganda. The fact of the matter is these pieces were not created to be self-explanatory, what you see is symbolic of something and not everyone can understand it. By teaching my students about propaganda analysis I hope to once again open their minds for more learning and adding to the general knowledge they get from lecture as well as specific knowledge from Wiart’s autobiography. As there is a ton of propaganda throughout Wiart’s soldiering career from the many conflicts that occurred from many different viewpoints I feel it is necessary to show my students how to interpret this piece as well as others we will be viewing throughout the unit.
Quantitative– This piece will be extremely easy for my high school students to understand as the average grade level for the few words on the picture, as well as some vocabulary words I threw in. I am not worried about them understanding literally what is going on, but more about how they interpret the information they see. It is actually good that the words used, along with the vocabulary I would focus on it very easy to comprehend it will allow them to focus more on the analysis of the piece instead of the complexity of it.
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Grade 3.8
Automated Readability Index Grade 8.4
Coleman-Liau Grade -3.0
Flesch Reading Ease 70.2/100
Gunning fog index Grade 8.5
Laesbarhedsindex (LIX) Formula 41.2 = school year 7
SMOG Index Grade 5.7
Average grade level Grade 4.7 (mean of above)
Qualitative– For text structure this piece, I feel, is moderately complex. Propaganda in and of itself is somewhat subtle, my students will have to dig a bit to find out what this means in context of the time period. As there is minimal text the text itself is meant to enhance the learner’s understanding of the whole, and again to increase their level of context. The graphics I think are very simple, but the meaning behind them isn’t yet known and the piece itself is supplementary in nature. Language features are slightly complex. This piece is very easy on the surface to comprehend. When added with background information it opens up a whole new level of understanding for my students. The words are explicit, the vocabulary associated with it are things my students should already know. The purpose of propaganda in general I think will always be exceedingly complex. Propaganda was created for many different audiences, some was made to support a war effort, others were made to demean the enemy, making them less human in nature. The complexity of this piece shouldn’t be much of an issue following a proper training session on propaganda analysis. Finally, the knowledge demands are very complex as this picture requires a great deal of context and background information. It also will be used to support learning in my unit and add to the general knowledge of my students as well as specifics of each propaganda piece we analyze.
Task Complexity/Usage– This propaganda piece will be analyzed using various denotations of which I already have a worksheet for students uncover the meaning of this piece. This worksheet looks at purpose of the propaganda (ie. Increasing finances, Enlistment, etc.), as well as techniques that are common throughout propaganda (ie. Demonization, appealing to your sense of duty, etc.) Again as I mentioned about map analysis, propaganda analysis is another integral part to understand the periods I will be mentioning, as there are many to choose from. I would first model the analysis portion then have the students try it themselves. I would give them context for the piece itself (explain Transvaal) but the rest is on them. I would also ask them leading questions to get them thinking.
Vocabulary– Transvaal, British Empire, propaganda, shield, nationalism
Questions– What do you see? What different characters do you see? What is the primary focus of this piece? Why all the flags? Do you think there are representations of larger things at work here or is this just a simple picture? What do you think the goal is of this piece?
Together– These three sources one text, one culturally relevant, and one multimedia all have the purpose of working together to increase knowledge in my classroom on one subject. They could easily be interchangeable say for instance we are in the lesson on World War Two. I could take a passage from Wiart, find another map (political satire maps are amazing as well as regular maps), and find more propaganda. This would not only make each lesson connected, but also differentiate various parts of the globe for my students or the era we are learning about. All in all I believe this unit (as it would have to be a unit) would not only show the spirit of the people that endured through it, but what societies looked like, what cultures looked like, and a whole host of other factors. In history we seek to give the most information possible to our students and the interrelatedness helps with connection and comprehension. In the end I would want my students to connect this lesson to today intuitively with the skills that I taught them.