Today's challenge is to create an action plan to help you continue your work as a responsible citizen in the future. An action plan is an organizational tool. It helps people to set goals, to identify the steps and resources needed to reach those goals, and to set a time-line for completion. Action plans can be short and focus on one task, or they can be lengthy and focus on more long-term goals. Because these plans are for you, they can be whatever you want them to be.
We've drafted a sample action plan to help you get started, just in case you are someone who learns from examples. We decided to create a focus on a few different aspects of our definition of responsible citizenship and come up with ideas to continue working on those areas.
Today's challenge action is to watch a film that addresses an important political or social issue. In order to help students complete this action, the BHS Film Club is teaming up with us to host a showing of He Named Me Malala. It will be in room 320 at 7:00 tonight, March 23rd. The AMC Burlington Movie Theater has graciously donated popcorn. Please join us in viewing an important film, and participate in the talk-back after we watch.
If you can't make it to tonight's viewing, check out these lists of films for some ideas about what to watch. Remember to get your parents' approval before viewing. Many of these films are rated 'R.'
12 Social Justice Documentary Films Worth Watching (a list by Bill Moyers)
15 Fantastic Films for Teaching Social Justice (Online University)
11 Powerful Netflix Documentaries That Will Change How You Think About the Planet (Arts.Mic)
70+ Educational Documentaries That Will Challenge and Inspire (Etale: Ideas That Matter)
12 Documentaries That Will Inspire Kids to Change the World (CommonSense Media)
Committing a random act of kindness is powerful. Taking the time to acknowledge another person, to help them out, to share in their day can really make a difference. Not only will it change the person you are helping, it will also change you. There is a joy that inevitably follows kindness. Making the world a more kind and joyful place helps us to build relationships, to communicate more openly, to feel a sense of harmony. Who doesn't want harmony?
Random acts of kindness are so important there's a whole movement dedicated to these actions. Check out this information from the Random Act of Kindness Foundation to learn more. Become a RAKtivist. Change the world!
Today's challenge is AMAZING! High five a random person in the hallway. This challenge is all about building community, making new friends, acknowledging achievements, and having fun. We suggest that you high five multiple people. Work to make today a memorable one, one that highlights how we in the BHS community celebrate each other's accomplishments and respect each other.
In case you aren't familiar with this custom, check out the resources below for some assistance. :)
How to High Five: Wikihow
The Day 12 Challenge Action is to reflect on politically or socially motivated artwork, and then write down five thoughts you have in response to the artwork. Lucky for us, the BHS artists are preparing for the 44th annual BHS Art Exhibition and Fashion Show. This event showcases the talent and work of BHS students taking art courses by displaying some of their best pieces. Because we have been spending so much time in the lower library this week to participate in other challenge actions, we've had the wonderful opportunity to get an advanced look at some of the impressive work that will be included in the show. While walking through the gallery, we found several pieces that apply to the Day 12 challenge.
In response to the 2016 presidential election, students in Portfolio and AP Art Studio completed a collage assignment highlighting the principles of design they were studying: contrast, balance, emphasis, repetition, movement, and harmony. Using the mixed media collages of Romare Bearden, the photomontages of David Hockney, and the photomanipulations of Yasumasa Morimura as models, students created their own collage pieces to express their feelings about the election, the past year's political process, and their thoughts about the future. We've included some of their responses to the assignment below. Please consider using some of this work to complete today's challenge.
We encourage you to use BHS student artwork as the material for this challenge action; however, it's always a great idea to go to a museum. If you have some extra time this weekend, there are some specific events and exhibitions at MA museums happening this weekend that work well with this action.
Today's challenge action is to identify how you are privileged and reflect on how you can use your privilege for social justice. We have organized an activity to help students, faculty, and staff to complete this challenge. Please come to the lower library to participate in the "Pondering Privilege Bracelet Activity." If you can't make it, but still want some help to complete today's challenge, you can read through the instructions for the activity, which includes a basic checklist to help you ponder your own privilege, and the follow-up questions.
Many Americans currently consider the U.S. a nation divided. We have different ideas, beliefs, values, and hopes for our country. As a result of those differences, we are starting to view America as split into two very different camps: republican and democrat / conservative and liberal. We are, however, more than those labels. We all want what is best for the country and for Americans.
The Day 9 challenge action is to have a respectful conversation with someone from a different political party about current political or social concerns. The goal of this action is to help people understand both our differences and our similarities, our thought process and our motivations, our fears and hopes.
To complete this exercise, you first need to know how you identify in terms of your political beliefs. Below are a couple of resources you can use to help you determine which camp you're in.
The NBC News What's Your Political DNA? Quiz extends beyond Republican and Democrat. Take this quiz and read through their extensive descriptions to see where you land on the partisan spectrum.
The Pew Research Center conducted a national survey regarding Americans' partisan views. They shortened that survey and created a quick quiz you can use to help you identify your political "label," and also compare your answers with other Americans from different demographics.
It's International Women's Day! The slogan for this year's celebration is Be Bold for Change. To help you get started on today's challenge action, consider researching some of these amazingly bold, intelligent, courageous Nobel Prize winning women. These women have changed our world for the better. They are true leaders, true role models.
Today's challenge action is to read something written by someone from a different background/culture/race/religion than you. If you are looking for something to read, check out the cart of books Ms. Disanto set aside for this challenge in the upper library. We also have an entire shelf in the library dedicated to World Literature. If you don't have time to head to the library today, check out some of the reading lists included below to help you find a text that interests you.
"Books help weave humanity together as a single family, holding a past in common, a history and heritage, to craft destiny that is shared, where all voices are heard in the great chorus of human aspiration."
World Literature Today Reading Lists
Good Reads: Popular Foreign Culture Books
New York Magazine: 12 Books We are Reading to Understand the Election Results
The Reading Zone: World Literature Books that High School Students Actually WANT to Read
ELLE: The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women in 2017
The Huffington Post: 11 Queer Books You Need to Read and Revisit 2016
The New York Times Best Sellers List
Washington Post: I Read Books By Only Minority Authors for a Year. It Showed Me Just How White Our Reading World Is
The Guardian: What are the Best Diverse Books for Children and Teenagers?
World Literature Today: A Contemporary Korean Reading List
The New York Times: 6 Books to Understand Trump's Win
Huffington Post: 11 Must-Read Books by Muslim Authors
World Literature Today: 60 Essential English-Language Works of Modern Indian Literature
Responsible citizenship involves the act of seeking knowledge and understanding. In 21st century America, making an effort to understand each other and the issues that are important to us is essential. One of the best ways to gain knowledge and understanding is through engaging in dialogue. No matter what the topic, participating in dialogue is a challenge. One way to work towards effective dialogue is to understand how to ask questions. Since today's challenge is to make a list of five questions to ask someone who supported a different presidential candidate than you, we thought it might help to think about how to ask effective questions. Here are a few of our tips:
1. Be respectful. Even in the process of generating questions, respect is an essential component of dialogue. The connotation of the diction you choose and the tone you establish in your questions can really alter how someone responds. Work to phrase your questions in a way that shows you are keeping an open mind. Avoid charged language that comes across as biased, accusatory, or condescending. Focus on maintaining objectivity. Consider opening your question with a statement of acknowledgment.
2. Build trust. Just the act of asking questions can be a way to build trust. It shows that you are interested and that you are listening, that you want to understand someone else's point of view. Asking valuable questions, however, works even further to build rapport and facilitate growth. Valuable questions allow for interaction. They should be open-ended and introspective. They should allow people to demonstrate their honesty, as trust requires an understanding that both people are committed to remaining open and honest. Questions that give people an opportunity to really share and really explore are the best when it comes to building trust.
3. Make it relevant. Just because the prompt for today's challenge focuses on presidential candidates doesn't mean you need to stick to the candidates. The election is over. What do you want to learn about someone who voted for a different candidate than you (other than why they voted for that candidate)? Consider asking them something outside the direct prompt but that will help you to understand their choices about the election. For example, instead of asking what someone liked about Hillary Clinton, consider asking what them what they view as the single most important factor in maintaining a well-functioning society and why.
4. Clarify your intent. You always need to have a goal. If you are engaging in a dialogue, you should know what you want to gain from that dialogue. What do you want to achieve? What do you want to learn? Crafting questions will become much easier when you specify your intention.
5. Don't interrogate. Don't get hung up on the interrogative aspect of questions. Just because there isn't a question mark at the end of your sentence, doesn't mean what you said wasn't a form of questioning. Try starting your sentence with "Tell me about" instead of "What," Why," "Who," or "How." Just that small shift in phrasing can change the tone of a conversation. Sometimes questions can put people on the defense. As opposed to feeling like they have to validate their thoughts or beliefs, they can explain their thoughts or beliefs. That type of discussion can be much more productive.