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Crafting Scenarios for 21st Century Fluency Lessons


I was standing in line at the coffee shop. I was looking around, mindlessly waiting for my turn, when I saw the barista take a paper cup off the big stack by the espresso machine. Instantly, this idea for a whole unit jumped into my head about sustainability. I started typing madly on my phone to try and capture some of the details.

Suddenly I was at the counter with the huge line behind me. I asked the person taking my order to just hang on for a second while I finished my thought; then I let the person behind me go ahead. I realized it looked ridiculous. I looked like one of my students that I roll my eyes at. ,What’s happened to me? I’ve turned into a thumbster teenager! Start With the Curriculum 

“A President Is Born”: The Scenario Our political leaders use various tools and strategies when running for an election. From a well-designed series of graphics to represent their ideas, values, and personalities to a catchy and compelling campaign slogan to their crucial political speeches, candidates must do a great deal to promote themselves and their ideals. In groups, take a look at the campaigns of recent political leaders and how they are structured to gain ideas for the next phase of the project. You can introduce videos or recordings of chosen campaign speeches for the class to consider and have them take notes as to what they observe about structure and content. Each group will dream up a running candidate for a fictional class president. Give the candidate a name, a unique personality, and a mission statement for the election. Your group will start by creating an original image for the candidate you are campaigning for, and there are no limitations here—person, animal, and so forth. Once you have created your running candidate, create a speech for him or her, which you will present orally. Conduct research and gain insight by asking people about what kinds of work leaders and politicians do for the people they represent. Look at other leaders for inspiration and ideas. Revise and edit your speech as you gain new insight and knowledge through research, which must include human resources (e.g., parents, friends, community leaders, etc.). Your speech needs to be a compelling political speech. Last, create a unique and stand-out campaign poster for your candidate. It should be eye-catching, original, and define your candidate’s personality and beliefs using images or maybe even a symbol of some kind. Also, make sure the poster includes a “campaign motto” or statement that is unique to your candidate. It should be one short line that sums up your character’s ideals and values and their pledge to the people if elected. Finally, it’s time to find out where your candidates stand on an important issue and how they would handle it if elected. With the teacher acting as mediator, the class will structure a debate about a chosen issue either in the news or in their community, and open a dialogue where the candidates square off and present their views and arguments. At the end of the debate, all groups will share their thoughts on how they felt each candidate represented himself or herself both on the campaign and in the issue debate and what strengths that candidate ultimately has as a vote-worthy figure. The Acid Test for Scenario Development