If you have a 9th-grade student at Salem Junior, chances are that they are reading Animal Farm in their English class. Mr. Haight, Mrs. Hansen, and Mr. McGrath are all teaching the book right now. After attending a professional development conference that talked about the role in education of teaching about and preserving democracy, the three English teachers decided to teach Animal Farm which talks about the dangers and potential corruption created by a communist government. More importantly, perhaps, it is a book against totalitarianism and meant to teach people to be vigilant against the use of manipulation to gain power over others.
Students have had a great time learning about the Bolshevik Revolution and the problems that arose in the Soviet Union when Stalin took control. This has gone along with the reading of the novel to help students better understand the journey of the animals who make up the characters in the book.
In the pictures, you can see students participating in an activity meant to teach about corruption in a communist state and how people in power took advantage of others to enrich themselves while everyone else was forced into poverty and economic ruin.
This has been a great unit both for teachers and students. If you have a 9th-grade student in any of these English classes, ask them what they have learned.