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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Is this Book About Harvesting Teenager Organs on Your School's Common Core Reading List?

 You may not believe what your children are reading in school today.

Grumpy Opinions reposted an article of MEW's recently, Data Mining via PRISM and Common Core Educational Standards.  The reposted article got a response on Grumpy's site:

My daughter will be in the 8th grade next year.  She will be taking AP English.  
Alabama has supposedly already adopted Common Core standards and materials, two 
years ago.

My daughter's summer reading assignment for AP English is a book called 
"Unwind," by Neal Shusterman.  We picked it up at the bookstore yesterday.  This 
book is HORRIBLE.  It's a story about a time in the future, where if you are a 
ward of the state, or if you aren't an excellent student, or if your parents 
think you are "too much trouble" and/or they no longer want you, you can be sent 
to a place to be "unwound;" i.e., you are condemned to death and all your organs 
are donated to people who need them.  All of this "unwound" stuff came about as 
a consequence of abortion being outlawed.

My daughter is so depressed from reading this book that I told her to stop 
reading it.  I wonder whose bright idea it was to add this book to the list of 
approved reading materials, and if it's part of Common Core, since it's required 
reading for her class over the summer.

Indoctrination, anyone?

I did a little research on whether this book is on a Common Core list as a resource.  It is.  Here's what you find when you google "alabama common core unwind":

Unwind Reading Group Guide for Grades 7-12 - TeacherVision.com

www.teachervision.fen.com › ... › ReadingReading Instruction
Use the materials in this literature guide to supplement Unwind, a book about a ... Each piece of content incorporates the Common Core State Standards into the ...

From the above link:

Use the materials in this literature guide to supplement Unwind, a book about a futuristic world in which parents are allowed to forcibly donate the organs of their difficult or unwanted teenagers. This printable includes pre-reading research topics and activities, discussion questions, a character list, a slang dictionary, and post-reading activities for the book.

Neal Shusterman
In Unwind, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award winner Neal Shusterman challenges readers' ideas about life – not just where life begins, and where it ends, but what it truly means to be alive. In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them.

Look how many people "like" this on Facebook.  Are they all teachers?

17,329 people like this. Be the first of your friends.

The following link offers some rather unbelievable teaching methods.  From http://novelinks.org/pmwiki.php?n=Novels.Unwind.  Should this teaching be considered bullying and propoganda?

Waite, Cindy. "Rounding Up Unwinds," Oct. 2011. Before-Reading Activity
Novel of Emphasis: Unwind (Neal Shusterman)
Common Core Requirement: Grade 9-10 Knowledge of Language 3. Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
Waite, Cindy. “Rounding Up Unwinds.” Oct. 2011
Ask class how many have missed breakfast more than twice this week. Have the “repeat offenders” come to the front of the class and explain to them, that because of their “unacceptable behavior,” their parents have signed them off as “unwinds.” Have students predict what this might mean in the novel they are about to read, as they discuss and look at the cover of the book. Ask class if it is fair for the “repeat offenders” to be punished for missing breakfast. Take a vote and pardon the “offenders.” 

Waite, Cindy. "Unwind Harvest Camp Brochure," Oct. 2011. After-Reading Activity
Novel of Emphasis: Unwind (Neal Shusterman)
Common Core Requirement: Grade 9-10 Production and Distribution of Writing 6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.
Waite, Cindy. “Unwind Harvest Camp Brochure.” Oct. 2011.
Have students create original harvest camp brochures, telling why parents should choose their camp to have their teens unwound. Have them market it in glowing, positive terms. It must be done on a computer, look professional, and market harvest camps in glowing, positive language. It should be a tri-fold layout. 

The commenter on Grumpy's site wrote all of this "unwound" stuff came about as a consequence of abortion being outlawed.  This explains what the "storking" reference means in the link:

Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers Reprint Edition, 2007

Discussion Strategy:

This discussion routine can be used throughout the novel, but works especially well with Part 2, Storked.”  Storking is a controversial subject within the novel and there are many characters within the novel with different viewpoints.  This strategy will allow students to use their views and other ideas in the novel (see below) to ask students opinions.  This activity allows for movement as students will go to the corner that represents their thoughts.  This activity will ensure that all students participate because all students have to move to a corner.

Statement of Purpose:
The purpose of this strategy will be to help students develop opinions regarding events of the novel.  This strategy is also meant to allow students to discuss these opinions with the class in requiring students to make a definite decision regarding what they think and then defend their decision when they have chosen.  This will help teach discussion skills as students will get practice discussing issues with people who may hold a different opinion than themselves.

Step One:  Set up the 4-Corners before class starts.  The four corners should be:  Agree, Somewhat Agree, Somewhat Disagree and Disagree (signs are included below).

Step Two:  Present students with a variety of ideas and have them move to the corner that they feel best represents their thoughts regarding it.  Each time students go to their corners, a discussion of the idea should occur regarding why students chose their particular corner.  Some students may try to choose two corners, but this should not be allowed.  Students take a stance on what they think.

1.  The response of the family at finding they had been storked again was completely justified.
2.  Storking is a great alternative to abortion because it allows for babies to go to someone who wants them.
3.  Connor was justified in his response to the baby.
4.  Connor should have thought of Lev and Risa before the baby because they are his friends.
5.  The attitude of the mom shows the negative aspects of storking and is the perfect example of why storking should not be allowed.
6.  Connor’s experience with storking is the perfect example of why storking is wrong.
7.  A baby should not be left on a doorstep.
8.  Storking encourages people to have babies and then get out of their responsibility to take care of them.

 Here is another strategy posted for the same book:

Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers Reprint Edition, 2007

Discussion Strategy: Chalk Talk

This instructional routine is to be taught after students have read Part5, Graveyard which is found on pages 197-261 in the novel.  Students will examine the choice of the characters within this part of the novel and analyze these choices based on each of the characters background.  Unwind deals with controversial issues and in being written through the perspective of many different characters, provides the reader with many different perspectives regarding the issue.  Since students need to recognize this as well as need to examine all the different perspectives in order to create a complete understanding of this theme within the novel, this activity will present them with several ideas regarding the actions of different characters (Admiral, Roland, police officers) within this section.

Statement of Purpose:
The purpose of this discussion strategy is to allow students to conduct a silent discussion in which they respond to a definite statement regarding the actions of characters within the novel and other student responses.  In order to ensure that the discussion environment remains positive and respectful, students should be required to initial their responses.  Since students are required to respond a specific number of times in order to guarantee full class participation, this will also help the teacher record who has participated.  As students respond, the teacher should use their attendance sheet and put tallies next to each student for the number of times that they have participated (up to the required number).

A student is mandated to make a specific choice on a moral issue and discuss it in a group setting and/or has to answer a certain number of times to guarantee "full class participation".  Pity the introverted student or the student that finds this particular reading morally repugnant.

Also embedded in the above link as a separate resource is the article below.  From http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6171083.stm:

Ukraine babies in stem cell probe

By Matthew Hill
BBC Health Correspondent

Cells under microscope
There is heated debate about the ethics of using stem cells
Healthy new-born babies may have been killed in Ukraine to feed a flourishing international trade in stem cells, evidence obtained by the BBC suggests.
Disturbing video footage of post-mortem examinations on dismembered tiny bodies raises serious questions about what happened to them.
Ukraine has become the self-styled stem cell capital of the world.
There is a trade in stem cells from aborted foetuses, amid unproven claims they can help fight many diseases.
But now there are claims that stem cells are also being harvested from live babies. 

Wall of silence
The BBC has spoken to mothers from the city of Kharkiv who say they gave birth to healthy babies, only to have them taken by maternity staff.
In 2003 the authorities agreed to exhume around 30 bodies of foetuses and full-term babies from a cemetery used by maternity hospital number six.
One campaigner was allowed into the autopsy to gather video evidence. She has given that footage to the BBC and Council of Europe.
In its report, the Council describes a general culture of trafficking of children snatched at birth, and a wall of silence from hospital staff upwards over their fate.
The pictures show organs, including brains, have been stripped - and some bodies dismembered.
A senior British forensic pathologist says he is very concerned to see bodies in pieces - as that is not standard post-mortem practice.
It could possibly be a result of harvesting stem cells from bone marrow.
Hospital number six denies the allegations.  

Welcome to Common Core.  Harvesting organs and dismembering babies in on the reading list for middle/high school students.  Students are required to discuss in a group and participate in a discussion of harvesting organs and perhaps the dismemberment of babies.  No wonder the commentor's 8th grade daughter is depressed.  Go ahead and complain to your school district if this book is on the Common Core Resource list and let us know what response you receive.  

It's time for parents to "take up the torches".  Are you listening Senator Pearce?

Please note: The information in this post is copyrighted. The proper citation is:
Logue, G (June 2013). "Is this Book About Harvesting Teenager Organs on Your School's Common Core Reading List?".  Retrieved (date) from the Missouri Education Watchdog site: http://www.missourieducationwatchdog.com/ 

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