1984 Lesson Plans: BOOK ONE

Title of Lesson: 2009 vs. “1984”


What the students understand when they finish your lesson with you:

a) They will understand what life is like in Oceania and how many restrictions the civilians suffer with.

b) They will understand how lucky we are to live in a free minded and open society that is accepting of different types of people and different thoughts.

c) They will also discuss the truthfulness of media.


Main Standard you are achieving (the number and full description):

C) 1.Use print and electronic media texts to explore human relationships, new ideas, and aspects of culture (e.g., racial prejudice, dating, marriage, family, and social institutions).


Materials Needed and Technology Used:

a) I will use my laptop for a clip from “The secret life of an American Teenager”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBC4cfNcFrw
b) I will need a flyer that I have created and I will have to print copies of it.


Opening Activity Description (What the students and you are doing):
I will show a clip from “The secret life of an American Teenager” a new show on ABC family that is supposed to dipict what it is like to be a teenager in this time. It shows not only the family dynamics, but also school and work for all ages. Although it is centered around the children, by watching this show one can get an diea of what an average family’s life is like in 2009.

Middle/Main Activity Description (What the students and you are doing):
The students will compare and contrast what it is life to live today to the life of the characters in 1984. They will get a handout and they will have to write what they saw the life was like in the clip/ examples from their own and explain how 1984 differs from that.

Closing Activity Description (What the students and you are doing):
We will discuss the differences and why we prefer living now as opposed to being stuck in the constricting community that INGSOC set up for the people of Oceania. We will also discuss if we think the media has done an accurate job of describing what it is like to live in 2009.




1984 Lesson Plans: BOOK TWO

Title of Lesson: Creating a conspiracy

What the students understand when they finish your lesson with you:

a) The history of Valkyrie and why the organization failed.

b) They will understand why it is so difficult to take over a powerful authority.

Main Standard you are achieving (the number and full description):
H) 4. Read and critically analyze a variety of works, including books and other print materials (e.g., periodicals, journals, manuals), about one issue or topic, or books by a single author or in one genre, and produce evidence of reading.

Materials Needed and Technology Used:

a) I will need the website discussing the history of Valkyrie.
http://valkyrie-plot.com/index.html
b) I will need a clip of the preview to the movie Valkyrie.
http://www.apple.com/trailers/mgm/valkyrie/
c) The students will need paper to plan out their revolt.

Opening Activity Description (What the students and you are doing):
We will read a website with many articles on Valkyrie and discuss the details of the organization. We will also watch a preview for the new movie that came out. The students will discuss the knowledge they have on that time period and why they believed that Valkyrie is not usually discussed when talking about Nazi Germany. We will also discuss the “evil” groups of our society today and whether we think there are organizations inside of them conspiring against them.

Middle/Main Activity Description (What the students and you are doing):
I will give the students the task of designing a way to revolt against the “Pascack Hills government”. If something was changed for the worst, how would they convince others to join their group instead? How would they decide who was on their side and who agreed with what was happening? How would they make sure that they would not get caught?

Closing Activity Description (What the students and you are doing):
We will discuss what type of organization they created and why they believe it will work. We will also discuss whether we think the organization of Valkyrie or the Brotherhood had a better system. Were they truly similar or very different? What were the positives and negatives of each? We will discuss the students’ organizations and whether they are similar to either Valkyrie or the Brotherhood.




1984 Lesson Plans: BOOK THREE

Title of Lesson: The Power of Torture



What the students understand when they finish your lesson with you:

a) They will understand how often torture was used in the past and is used in the present and how terrible it truly is.

b) They will also understand how powerful emotional and physical trauma is.


Main Standard you are achieving (the number and full description):
C) 3. Recognize that creators of media and performances use a number of forms, techniques, and technologies to convey their messages.


Materials Needed and Technology Used:

a) I need a computer to show the clip from the history channel episode.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0armkDsGrso
b) I need posters and markers to create the posters.

Opening Activity Description (What the students and you are doing):
We will begin by watching a clip from the history channel’s episode of the history of torture devices. This clip is very powerful and somewhat disturbing in order to get the point across to the audience. We will discuss whether any of these devices were necessary and why they were used. We will also talk about the power behind torture and how often it is used to gain information or change ideas.

Middle/Main Activity Description (What the students and you are doing):
The students must make a quick poster that could be used at a campaign against the torture used in 1984. They may make a catchy slogan and discuss the emotional trauma or the physical trauma.

Closing Activity Description (What the students and you are doing):
We will share the different posters and discuss how dangerous this type of torture truly is. If the students feel comfortable we will also discuss whether they believe this type of torture would work on them as it has worked on Winston.






Norman Spiro, my grandfather, has always been a part of a very large and loving family. When two of his brothers and his brother-in-law were sent to fight in World War II, his life was impacted forever. Yet somehow, while recalling his memories of the good and bad times he remained calm and steady. His always pleasant and always generous personality came out as he gave me his time and told me every detail he could remember about the years of World War II .
At the age of only seven years old, even his daily life was affected by the war. He explained to me that everything was switched over to help the soldiers overseas. Not just the factories making weapons and uniforms, but every factory were to save a large amount of their product for the use of the army. This was called the "war effort" . Every family got rations that they had to bring to the store, which determined how much food they were allowed for the week. My grandfather pulled out pictures of the ration booklets he use to have as he explained how fortunate he was because his family owned a kosher butcher, so they could have as much meat as they wanted. He remembers how his father would send his brothers full rolls of salami. He began to smile as he remembered the letters they would write explaining how by the time the salami arrived it was moldy but they were so hungry for meat they would cut off all the mold and salvage whatever they could. For younger children at home, candies- such as gum- were no longer sold. My grandpa recalled that if a child had found a piece of chewing gum, they would save it in a cup of water next to their bed and keep it for a few days because it was such a novelty.
external image new-bazooka-bubble-gum.jpg
Although the war impacted his daily life, it was something he was proud to be connected to. My grandpa explained that he was not upset that his brothers had been sent off to fight; their entire family was actually proud and excited. “In the window of my apartment there was an American flag with three large stars on it. Each apartment had a flag with stars in it, which showed how many family members were fighting overseas. Everyone was connected to the war and everyone wanted to show how proud he or she were of his or her family,” he recalled.
external image american-flag-a-sketch-in-time.jpg

As he ventured to the past in his mind he began comparing the patriotic nature of the country in 1942 to how we view the war in Iraq today. He leaned back and sighed as he discussed his frustration with the world today. “The war feels as if it has zero impact on our lives, no one is connected to it and no one wants to be. I think it is because of the area we live in, I don’t know many people fighting in Iraq so it is not a focus of my life,” he explained. My grandpa placed his hand on a newspaper sitting on the table in front of him with a headline about a recent fire in New York City and explained that the media only focused on the war during WWII. It was at the foremost of each person's life and everything that was discussed; today the war in Iraq is rarely on the front cover of newspapers.

external image nhfires.jpg
Today we forget how many people are in Iraq fighting for our country.

All throughout the time I spent speaking with my grandpa, he continuously looked towards me as he discussed what was occurring today and then turned towards my grandma while reminiscing of his childhood, almost as if he wanted someone to verify what he said was true. He got somewhat choked up while explaining how harsh the United States was to anyone who was German or Japanese. “Today, we have racial descrimination on airport security lines, but during WWII anyone who resembled “the enemy” was never ever to be trusted. We even put Japanese into internment camps , that’s how scared we were of them.” He believed that was another reason why everyone was more passionate and connected to WWII than the war in Iraq. There is not as strong a hatred towards Iraq in daily life as there was hatred towards Japan and Germany during WWII. I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing my grandfather about World War Two and seeing how different the experience of war was in 1920 compared to now (2008).

In this podcast, Ken Burns contrasts the war in Iraq to WWII: http://cdn.sfgate.com/blogs/sounds/sfgate/chroncast/2007/03/15/Goodman-KenBurnsTwo-20070322.mp3