How To Use a Wheelbarrow and the First Amendment.Report as inadecuate

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Both the poem "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams and the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights show the power of language as vehicles for message. Using them in class as exercises to look at language and meaning will help students understand the importance of connotation and grammar; the use and validity of sources; and the layers of meaning possible with a few precise words. By looking closely at either in a discussion, students see and model the critical thinking process. Both are short, and each are "do-able" in a 50-minute class. The poem can be used in writing and literature classes to show: importance of language; power of imagery; multiple meanings; essence of poetry; and history of the poem and its writer. The First Amendment can be used in writing, journalism, and media and society classes to show: importance of language and meaning of individual words; possible interpretations of the First Amendment; importance of grammar and why having a free press tied to the people and free speech is importance; sources and accuracy; how to judge validity of sources; and use of citations. Either exercise could also be used in sociology, philosophy, anthropology, basic college skills, or history classes. This paper delineates a 6-step process for using "The Red Wheelbarrow" in class and a 5-step process for using the First Amendment. The paper also discusses additional ways to use the materials and suggests several exercises. (NKA)

Descriptors: Class Activities, Classroom Techniques, Critical Thinking, Higher Education, Language Usage, Learning Activities, Poetry, Rhetorical Invention

Author: Landgraf, Susan


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