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Pulitzer Center Update August 25, 2016

News Bites and Lesson Plan of the Week: An ISIS Fighter's Story

Black and white image of children in silhoutte from an IDP camp in Iraq.

The unraveling of the modern Middle East, from the Iraq War to the rise of ISIS and the global...

author #1 image author #2 image
Multiple Authors
Media file: wakaz.png
Image by Paolo Pellegrin.

Dear Educators,

We are so excited to see students starting to return to school this week, and can't wait to begin collaborating with you all to find new ways to connect students to global reporting. Wishing you all a wonderful start to your school years!

This week's lesson plans offer more specific entry points to "Fractured Lands," the article published as the entire New York Times Magazine earlier this month that analyzes the Middle East from the invasion of Iraq in 2003 to the rise of ISIS and the global refugee crisis. This landmark project, written by Scott Anderson with photography by Paolo Pellegrin, has already received over 2 million views on the New York Times website. It also features a virtual-reality film by Ben Solomon that is explored in this week's featured lesson.

If you would like support connecting your students to his project, contact [email protected]. Consider sharing this newsletter with your colleagues by sending them this link.

News Bite Lesson: An ISIS Fighter's Background

This lesson plan, written by Pulitzer Center summer intern Patrick Reilly, asks students to analyze how "Fractured Lands" author Scott Anderson characterizes Wakaz Hassan, a former ISIS fighter. The four passages included with this lesson plan detail Wakaz's youth, his decision to join ISIS, his first execution and his current situation in prison. Students begin by recalling what they know about ISIS, and the way politicians and the media generally depict the group. As students read the four passages, students then compare and contrast Anderson's reporting of Wakaz's story with other characterizations of ISIS in order to analyze their own conceptions of the group.

Featured Lesson: Fight for Fallujah, a Virtual-Reality Film
This week's featured lesson, written by Pulitzer Center summer intern Jane Darby Menton, guides students through an analysis of Ben Solomon's film "The Fight for Fallujah." Filmed using virtual-reality to offer a 360-degree experience, the film documents the Iraqi army's taking of Fallujah from ISIS. Students begin with an analysis of what images come to mind when they think of ISIS and Iraq. They then analyze how Solomon's film compares with the images that came to mind before viewing the film. Through writing and discussion, students also analyze the impact of using a virtual-reality film to capture the lives of Iraqis living in Fallujah and discuss the role that virtual-reality can play in global reporting.

EDUCATION NEWS: Lesson Plans Connect Students to "Fractured Lands"

Teachers across the country and around the world have been begun connecting their students to "Fractured Lands." Some teachers have told the Pulitzer Center that they will be using the article to guide courses on the history of the Middle East. Others will focus on Scott Anderson's storytelling techniques. Click the link above to check out the K-12 and college-level lessons that offer ideas for using this piece to start conversations and projects in your classes. Contact [email protected] if you would like additional support with connecting your students to this essential story.

Featured Project of the Week: "The Ghosts of Leprosy" by Ross Velton
Click here to learn more about Ross Velton and his experience reporting the stories of a forgotten generation of Sri Lankans that are living with leprosy.
If you are interested interested in bringing Velton to your classroom, or connecting your students with him over Skype, please contact us at [email protected].


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