An American Classic Reconsidered
Posted on August 17, 2016 by Scot Allen
During the 2015-2016 school year, students in Ms. Batty's IB English I course examined Ernest Hemingway's In Our Time, an American classic that explores the impact of World War I on the individual and collective psyche.
Students were given a set of essential framing questions prompting them to address Hemingway's continuing relevance in the 21st century, and after selecting which question to answer, they developed proposals, received clearance, and created projects in consultation with the teacher. Each student's project was based on his or her analysis of a specific story or vignette and an explanation of how that smaller piece of the collection tied to and enhanced the thematic content of the overall work. Following completion of the projects, students shared their work in a class "festival," and in each class, the students voted on the project they wanted to be featured at the XVII Biennial International Hemingway Society Conference in Oak Park, Illinois.
In July 2016, Ms. Batty attended the conference as both a moderator and presenter and shared this selected student work at a panel titled "Teaching Hemingway to Today's Students." Her presentation focused on how teachers can design units that help cultivate 21st century skills, namely communication, creativity and innovation, and critical thinking and problem solving.