As everyone knows, the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, and over 700,000 people flooded the streets of Seattle today for a victory parade. I’m hearing rumors that 1,500 Seattle Public Schools teachers called in sick, and I imagine many more students skipped to attend the parade. For all the teachers out there who want to turn this into a “teachable moment” tomorrow, here are some writing and discussion prompts I made that might be useful. I’m going to assign them in my classes and we’ll see what kind of discussions get going.
Just in case someone questions whether this is “academically rigorous enough”, these prompts meet one or more of the WA State EALRS (state standards) for grade 11 Social Studies skills:
5. SOCIAL STUDIES SKILLS The student understands and applies reasoning skills to conduct research, deliberate, form, and evaluate positions through the processes of reading, writing, and communicating.
5.1 Uses critical reasoning skills to analyze and evaluate positions.
5.2 Uses inquiry-based research.
5.3 Deliberates public issues.
5.4 Creates a product that uses social studies content to support a thesis and presents the product in an appropriate manner to a meaningful audience.
Super Bowl Writing / Discussion Prompts
Objective: to analyze literary and social themes in popular sports through written reflection and verbal discussion
Please choose two of the following writing prompts, and write two paragraphs for each, on a separate sheet of paper. As you write, please provide specific details from the Seahawks season/ postseason, from your life, from other sports, or from other texts (books/ articles/ movies/ songs/ etc). If you are not a football fan, no problem, several of these prompts can be done even if you don’t care about the Seahawks. Once we are done, each student will share one of your responses verbally with the class and we will discuss these themes together.
– What does it mean to be an underdog? Write about a time you were an underdog and you succeeded at something when everyone thought you were going to fail. Or, write about a time when you aim to be an underdog in the future.
– Write about a movie or book or song about being an underdog. What happened in the story? What lessons can we learn from it?
– Some commentators have said the Seahawks are a “team of misfits”. What do you think they mean by that? What are some other teams of misfits that have done important things in history? Do you consider yourself a part of a “team of misfits”? Why or why not?
– What does it take to build a team? Is a team good only because of its best players? Or is a good team one where every single player can shine, even if they are not all stars?
– What role do you think the 12th Man (the fans) played in the Seahawks victory? Do you think the fans actually helped them win? Or is this a myth (a story we create to make meaning out of our lives)? Why do you think people are so drawn to being the 12th Man? What do we get out of it?
– After the superbowl, they gave the trophy to Paul Alllen, former Microsoft executive, and owner of the Seahawks, saying he could bring it back to the 12th Man. Do you think this is fair? Should the trophy go to the owner, to the players, or to the fans? Why? What does this say about our society?
– Please choose three quotes from Seahawks players (e.g. Marshawn Lynch saying “I’m just ‘bout that action, boss”, or Russell Wilson asking “why not us?”). What message do you think each player was trying to get across about his perspective on life? Do you agree or disagree with his perspective?
– Over 700,000 people flooded Seattle for the victory parade. People skipped school and work for it. Could you imagine that many people coming out into the streets for any other reason? What other situations would you like to see that many people caring about? Why? (If you’d like, you could write a short story describing what it would be like for that many people to get together for another reason, e.g. to stop global warming, to end poverty, etc.)
– The Seahawks have brought a lot of attention to Seattle. What do you think defines Seattle right now? What are the 5-10 most important things about this town? Extra (if you can): Do you think the “real” Seattle was shown accurately on the TV coverage of the Superbowl, or were there biases towards certain sides of Seattle, and against others?
– Please summarize the controversy around Richard Sherman’s comments. Do you think the response to him was racist? Why or why not? What does this show about American society in 2014?
– Choose your favorite sport. Who do you think is the best player in that sport today? Please back up your argument with specific evidence; please consider a possible counter-argument, and argue against that counter-argument.
– Some of my friends have argued that the Superbowl is a massive distraction from more important issues and problems in our society that we urgently need to deal with. They have said the rich people who run our society want us to party and forget about all of the problems they are causing. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
– Both Colorado and Washington state legalized marijuana the same year that the Seahawks and the Broncos went to the superbowl. Do you think these state’s teams’ athletic success is evidence supporting arguments for legalization? Or is it irrelevant? Why?