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Analyzing Tweed’s Propaganda Sheet: A Lesson Plan

[Editor’s note: The author is the UFT chapter leader at John Dewey HS.]

Aim: How can the ability to identify and understand basic propaganda techniques empower you to make better informed decisions?

Do Now: Read and briefly discuss with a partner “Recognizing Propaganda Techniques and Errors of Faulty Logic”

Motivation: How many of you have ever been excited to purchase an item, partake in an activity, or follow a course of action, only to find yourself disappointed by the outcome? Who would like to share the situation? Elicit a response or two. Why did you specifically make the decision that you did? What led you to make the decision?

SWUT: The best way for the individual not to be manipulated into making decisions not in their best interest is to understand propaganda techniques.

Step 1: Briefly discuss and elicit examples of the propaganda techniques found in Cuesta College’s “Recognizing Propaganda Techniques and Errors of Faulty Logic”

Group Task/Differentiation:

  1. Have students work in groups of four or five to do a close reading (pen, pencil, and/or highlighter in hand to underline main ideas of each paragraph, write notes, and/or write questions/comments on doc) of DOE “Turnaround” doc, dated January 13, 2012.
  2. Have roughly half of the students in each group answer the following questions:
    1. (p.1) What evidence of additional support have you seen this year? Have support services and or programs increased or diminished this year?
    2. (p.2) Based on the context of this paragraph, how does Walcott define meaningful system? Does the paragraph imply that the current evaluation system is meaningless?
    3. (p.3) Does the misuse of the plural possessive form in the first sentence imply Walcott is performing poorly in his educational duties? Why would the specific “conditions the UFT insisted on” be left out of this document? Is there any evidence to show the replacement teacher would better serve our students?
    4. (p.4) Is “real accountability” clearly defined? If so, what does it specifically mean? If not, why not?
    5. (p.5) Does Bloomberg currently have the authority to carry out his plan? Why would the DOE hold back the details of their plan?
    6. (p.6) What specifically will be used to screen the existing staff? What are “rigorous standards for student success”? Why is the term “significant portion” used? Is there an insignificant portion?
    7. (p. 7) Does the DOE currently have the authority to carry out their plan? Is the approval of the plan presented here the only course of action in restoring the funding? What does the phrase “whatever it takes” mean? What details are provided to clarify “best equipped”?
    8. Using one sentence, clearly describe the DOE’s plan to improve your educational experience at John Dewey High School.
  3. Have the other half of students in each group use the DOE source doc to try to identify examples of the four propaganda techniques listed in “Recognizing Propaganda Techniques and Errors of Faulty Logic”
  4. Have the groups discuss and share out their answers.

Closure: Exit slip: Other than the “turnaround” model, decide what other solutions are possible?

HW: What appropriate and viable means are available to students to influence major decisions made regarding their education?



  • 1 Remainders: One teacher’s model lesson on school turnaround | GothamSchools
    · Jan 25, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    […] A teacher at John Dewey High School put together a lesson plan about his school’s turnaround. (Edwize) […]

  • 2 Tom Forbes
    · Jan 25, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    The problem is, if Bloomy, Walcott or most of the principals who come out of the leadership academy would not be able to properly observe this lesson due to their lack of experience in education. If one student is looking out the window during the Do Now, a negative. Three students took too much time to copy the Aim and Do Now, so you are developing. This is the nonsense which actually happens when you have school leaders instead of experienced, seasoned administrators. There is way too much bullying used as a leadership style under Bloomy.

  • 3 Martin Haber
    · Jan 26, 2012 at 7:38 am

    Robert is brilliant and right on the money!!! Teaching kids to “speak truth to power” is prt of our mission as teachers!!! Right on, Rob!

  • 4 Marissa Solomon
    · Jan 26, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Brilliant! If I wasn’t on sabbatical, I would absolutely teach this! Going to send it to my colleagues. AND it meets the standards of the CCLS because it has non-fiction! (snark snark snark)

  • 5 f lawrence
    · Feb 15, 2012 at 11:58 am

    1. Inter-rater reliability: Are all observers “perceiving” the same thing in a classroom? If not, how can this system be used as an “objective” measure of performance.
    2. Changing requirements: I have heard administration say “…tenured, senior teachers will have to change their teaching approach…” in order to avoid the “I”(ineffective) rating. This is a good argument for “grandfathering” the new evaluation system. DOE is effectively changing requirements for employment. What would FDNY or NYPD employees do if they were told they needed to completely change their standard practices in order to maintain their current level of employment?
    3. 60% / 40%: Read the “rubric” this is not ‘teacher’ observation, for the most part this is another measure of student outcome.
    4. Heisenberg uncertainty principle: Tell me the dynamic of the class doesn’t change significantly upon the entry of an administrator! This is a good argument for video or one way mirror observations.
    5. The students and their families: We see very different students in our schools than 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. Attention deficits, powerful distractions (social media, mass media, cell phones, smart phones, video games, etc…) that make study and homework low priorities at home. Parents are working extended hours to make ends meet while real wages and jobs continue to evaporate. I am not “Blaming” the student (victim) here, but who is profiting from all these distractions?

    Wake up brothers and sisters, this is an end run around tenure. Senior teachers beware! They are coming to get YOU!!!