Are you as pumped we are for the arrival of HBO's Game of Thrones each season? Some of us in the TR@TC office prepare ourselves for the onset of each new season by, yes, re-watching the previous seasons of the show and hashing out which characters had met their untimely deaths and which managed to survive the uncanny and unforgiving plotting of the show's writers.
Come to think of it, there's lots of instructive lessons that educators can draw from the show. The smooth political maneuvers of Tyrion Lannister and Lord Varys, for instance: How does one employ keen diplomatic moves in complex institutional environments? What are the kinds of moves--minute and revolutionary--that change entrenched political systems?
This week, we're offering some of our favorite curriculum resources inspired by the show. There's an October mini-institute from our friends at the Teachers College Inclusive Classrooms Project on collaboration with other adults in the classrooms (skills that many of the characters in the Game of Thrones universe could be just a tinge more attune to...) and a great introduction to writing fanfiction with your students, in the case that you want to extend your enjoyment of the show well beyond the thirteen remaining episodes.
10/6/2017 and 10/27/2017
Teachers College Inclusive Classrooms Project
Teachers College, Columbia University
525 W. 120th St.
New York, NY 10027
As Game of Thrones has long taught its viewers, collaboration between adults can be a pretty fraught process, one that--in the world of the show--can often end, well, badly (The Red Wedding, anyone?). To avoid the fate of, let's face it, pretty much all of the co-working relationships on the show, check out this mini-institute from our friends at the Teachers College Inclusive Classrooms Project. The institute aims to strengthen collaborative relationships for teacher teams of all types by helping them plan for student-centered learning within their instruction.
This workshop will help special educators, general educators, coaches planning with teachers, and ELL teachers who work together with the same group of students by reflecting on adult strengths and cultivating norms for effective communication, enabling all adults to be engaged in collaborative planning. Participants will develop interventions, co-supports, accommodations, and modifications best suited for their students’ needs, and learn when and how to embed them within their instructional practice. Teachers will receive examples of visually concise weeklong and daily lesson plans for classrooms with more than one adult.
Not surprisingly, Game of Thrones has spawned a flurry of fanfiction--or fiction written by admirers of a certain work or genre, anything from fantasy to comedy to romance. While keeping close to the spirit of the original, fanfiction allows writers to explore their favorite stories by borrowing characters, plot elements, and settings and using them in their own creative writing process. If you're interested in trying out a Game of Thrones-style fanfic unit in your classroom, check out this introductory curriculum from Readwritethink.org. Writing fanfiction helps students sharpen literacy skills in many ways. First, it encourages them to think more deeply about a book or story they have read, considering character dynamics and motives, plot techniques, and the role of setting and mood. Second, it allows students to engage in the creative process but gives them established characters and settings as the basis for their own fictional work. Finally, writing fanfiction can be a highly motivating experience, even for the most reluctant writers, because writers are able to model their work after a piece they admire and enjoy.
Game of Thrones has long been the subject of critique for its often violent scenes and depictions of brutality against women. If you're interested in reading the show through a feminist lens, check out this article in The Artifice, a compelling example of how a gender-based lens can complicate our understanding of the characters. Writer Christen Mandracchia argues that the show's universe is certainly shaped by misogyny; however, female and male characters on the show have covertly and overtly defied gender norms and constrictions. Use this article as a model text with your students, demonstrating how to conduct savvy media analysis and construct a cogent analytic argument.
The power struggles in Game of Thrones' Seven Kingdoms--bloodcurdling, vigilante, stealthy, and undercutting--are not a little dissimilar from the politicking and complexity of the American public school. From the teachers lounge to the department meeting, teachers may find themselves needing to bring a Game of Thrones-level savvy to their day-to-day work. Surviving Internal School Politics provides readers with the basic coping strategies of surviving within the political arena of their schools. Read this book and find practical strategies from those who have collectively worked within the school setting for over 75 years—voices of experience to share helpful coping skills. These dynamics are illustrated throughout the book through the use of fictitious educators who portray staff dealing with situations to which readers can relate. In each chapter, readers will find an action plan designed to provide tools that educators should utilize in surviving internal politics.