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Lesson Plan September 24, 2015

The Draw-Down: Using Two Perspectives to Explore the End of the War in Afghanistan




Questions for "Meet the Journalist: George Butler"

  1. For how many years was Afghanistan recently occupied by U.S. and British forces?
  2. What happened in terms of safety in Kabul in the weeks after the withdrawal, in October and November 2014?
  3. During the video, Butler says: “I think you get an emotional connection with a drawing or with a painting...You’re trying to draw your experience onto that page, whether it’s sounds or movement, the fact that it was too cold or too sunny or the man moved too quickly or it was too dangerous, you felt nervous. The scene’s unfolding in front of you; all the marks you’re making are influenced by what’s happening.” Do you agree? How much of the reporter’s personal experience do you want to see in the work? Do you feel his drawings are accurate?
  4. Are Butler’s illustrations journalism?
  5. Discuss the ways in which the act of producing drawings like this might help people to communicate across languages and cultures.

Questions for "Days Blend Together for Wisconsin Troops"

  1. Describe a day in the life of a member of the Wisconsin National Guard’s 829th Engineer Co. How does this person’s life differ from the daily lives of the people in Butler’s drawings? How are they the same?
  2. Do you feel like you can relate to the people in Dhaliwal’s photographs? If so, how? If not, why not?
  3. Do you feel like you can relate better to Dhaliwal’s subjects in the photos, or Butler’s subjects in the drawings? Explain.
  4. Why is the United States going to such great lengths to pack up the war in Afghanistan and ship so much of the gear out of the country? Do you agree with this decision? Back up your point of view.

Questions for "Afghanistan: Tanks, Bazaars and Wheelchair Basketball"

  1. One caption reads you can buy a sewing machine from a vendor in Herat for 4000 Afghani. How much is 4000Af in U.S. dollars?
  2. Spend ten seconds examining one drawing and then immediately write down every word or thought that occurs to you about it. Then look back at the same drawing, this time for thirty seconds. Write down your thoughts again. Finally, examine the drawing for a full minute and record your thoughts. How did your impressions change? How might this process be similar to the way Butler does his work?
  3. What is a bazaar? Why might Butler have chosen such a place to sit and draw? If he were trying to get a good picture of everyday life in the United States, where should he go?
  4. Is there a unifying theme among the seven drawings displayed here? If so, what is it?

Questions for "Afghanistan: Bringing Down the House that Bush Built"

  1. In June 2011, there were over 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. By January 1, 2015, according to this blog post, how many remained?
  2. About much money is the U.S. Department of Defense spending to pack up U.S. war equipment and ship it home? How much did the department spend to get it there? What do you think about that?
  3. Find the photo of 1Lt. Michelle Lachat working on an Apple laptop in front of a pile of sandbags -- it’s Dhaliwal’s favorite from the trip. What symbolism do you see in this photo? Why do you think Dhaliwal took this photo?
  4. What symbolism can you find in Dhaliwal’s other photos for this slideshow?

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