Questions for Students Learning about the American Dream (plus a tiny Of Mice and Men tie-in)

Here are the questions from our Twitter Chat on the “American Dream” and Of Mice and Men (which was given the hashtag #OMMAD)  Many of these questions were prepared prior to the chat or emerged during the chat.  The discussion centered around the “American Dream” (sometimes abbreviated as TAD) with a minor focus on John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men in relation to the “American Dream.”

The American Dream questions:

  • What is your American Dream?

  • Are your dreams different from your friends’ dreams?

  • What in popular culture exemplifies the American Dream?

  • Is the American Dream altered by celebrity statuses in life? Is that what our society’s goal is as of now?

  • Are big houses and money goals to value?

  • How do we create equal access to the American Dream?

  • Respond to the statement from the picture: I did nothing today and still got paid.

  • Do you think the American Dream can be achieved without hard work or do you need to be 100% on top of the progress of your dream?

  • Do you feel many of us in America spend on what we want versus need? How might we combat that behavior and addiction?

  • Sometimes the priorities of my American Dream become skewed when I try to “keep up with the Joneses” I, then, feel bad about myself.  Do you think that my bad feeling caused by keeping up with the Joneses is dangerous to me, my family, my society?

  • What does “cost” mean? Is it more than a financial cost?

  • Can the dream be based upon character and behavior? Do we lose these while trying to climb the ladder?

  • Can we successfully create a personal American Dream based upon character and behavior?

  • Must we keep changing our American Dream as we grow?

  • Do you have to “keep check” on our dream to live a satisfied life?

  • Is there really an American Dream, though? Because if you’re living the dream it’s not really a dream anymore..

  • It is getting progressively harder to fulfill the dreams most Americans have? Will we always get our dreams?

  • Analyze this quote: “America is a tune, it must be sung together”

  • How many people today can say they are actually living TAD?

  • What defines happiness?

  • TAD is real b/c anyone can dream.  But is TAD a tangible achievement?

  • Do we really ever achieve our American Dream?

respond:

Of Mice and Men specific questions:

  • How might one character’s American Dream in Of Mice and Men differ from your own and why?

  • How does the farm serve as a metaphor in the novel Of Mice and Men?

  • How much do you think the American Dream would cost in the 1930’s? What does “cost” mean? Is it more than a financial cost?

  • How hard do you think people had to work for the American Dream in the 1930’s versus now?

  • Why did George “have to” kill Lennie? Was it a fair decision to end his life?

  • Since Lennie’s dream was different from George’s, considering the simplicity, does the American dream depend on who you are?

  • Lennie was content with rabbits but George wanted to live comfortably. Are your dreams different from your friends’ dreams?

  • Because this time period (Great Depression) is a prevalent idea for many novels, how is Steinbeck’s portrayal so significant?

Storify (versus GrabChat)

I recently posted about Grabchat.com, but once I put grabchat.com into use for archiving a Twitter conversation, it turned out that it was finicky with my hashtag.  I remembered a friend suggested Storify and I tried it.  At first, Storify was not user friendly to me (but I think I was simply rushing and not clicking the right area to search)

Step 1:  First, you want to choose which site you want to grab information from (my arrow points to where I selected Twitter from the multiple choices)

storify

Step 2:  Next, you want to type in your keyword (in this case I use the hashtag #f35)

search

Step 3:  To search, you actually have to physically hit that magnifying glass on the search bar to search (I kept pressing enter and seeing nothing happen and must have been too busy to consider that hitting that magnifying glass might actually work!)

Step 4:  When you get your results, it only shows 20 at first.  To get more, link where the arrow indicates:

results

Step 5:  You now want to select which results you want to save for yourself (you can drag and drop specific ones (to the clipboard that will be on the left) that you have selected or add them all)

drag

Step 6:  Finally, you just save the items on the clipboard for yourself or publish it to share with others!

building

Bottom line:

I have a new favorite for both archiving a Twitter Chat and following a hashtag for Twitter research (in lieu of opening a Twitter account)  It is Storify!  I’m sure that there are many other cool ways to use it!  If you use Storify in cool ways, let me know!

American Dream Twitter Chat

On 2/21/2014 Miss Alfredo’s English and Mr. Reilly’s Technology classes at Palisades High School conversed with students from five other schools throughout Pennsylvania to discuss the concept of the American Dream along with its ties to John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men.  

Link here for a  Storify transcript of the chat that took place (it is in reverse order)  You will need to go through approximately five pages of chat transcript to arrive at the beginning.

In addition to the preparation shared here (which were slightly adjusted as time went on), we also came up with student roles for such a chat (see below).  Due to our own issues with schedule interruptions from bad weather this winter, our students did not actually fulfill these roles. Even so, they have been created to encourage use of the roles for the future.

Student Roles:

FACILITATOR (the host):

“Welcome!  Today we will be discussing the American Dream and  John Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men.  We look forward to learning more about the novel by discussing it with other students.  Please use the hashtag #OMMAD whenever you participate in our conversation today.  We will now begin with our first question: … (adjust all to 140 characters)

Facilator will:

  • lead conversation following pre-determined schedule

  • identify when think time should occur and for how long

  • generate conversation when lagging by utilizing sub-questions

  • share resources (may be interactive board or outside resource on the topic)

  • welcome people as they arrive

  • follow up comments with supportive/positive reaction to tweets (make chat feel like family)

  • thank people for participating and making our conversation powerful which has increased everyone’s understanding the concept or novel.

COMMUNICATOR:

The communicator’s role will be:

This is very rare, but it is important that if negative or inappropriate comments occur they should be dealt with immediately.

Please say something like “@___________ twitter etiquette dictates negative comments and conversations move to a different medium. We welcome  differing points of view but want to  keep it positive and productive in our forum!

ARCHIVIST:

The role of the archivist will be to:

  • prepare with a test run of Storify

  • Run Storify with event, paste it into desired space (most likely public Google Doc) and clean it up.

  • Indicate to teacher when it is ready to be shared.

So What is our Reaction to the Chat?

It was fun; It felt alive; It was energizing to chat about a concept/novel we studied with others who were doing the same!

The downside:  it was random and loose and hard to follow.

My response:  sharing the archive will allow teachers to dissect the content and utilize as needed.  I also would like to organize some of the main questions into a blog setting (which is a little more static) for classes to interact with in the future.  I believe this was a great springboard!

A HUGE Thank you!!!!!! to Robin Burns, Allison Carpenter, Dawn Cunningham, and Patty McLain, and Dan Newman for joining us with your classes!

GrabChat

idea

I have found this cool new site called Grabchat.com.  It allows you to enter a hashtag from Twitter and grab the html code to allow you to paste the hyperlinked thread onto a blog or website.

This would be useful if you want to archive a Twitter conversation or if you have students who want to use Twitter for Research yet do not want to create a Twitter account.

Image citation:

Nemo. “Light Electric Bulb Idea Electricity Domestic.” Pixabay.com. N.p., 24
Apr. 2012. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. <https://www.google.com/
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safe=active&tbs=sur:fmc#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=nqxt8ny9AxSN9M%253A%3BJnhUl7WYSNCO
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