I am SO excited to begin our new unit of study on Khaled Hosseini's novel, The Kite Runner. I read this novel as a junior in high school and can honestly say that it has stayed with me ever since. When I came to Littlestown and found out I would be teaching it, I was beyond exciting. I learn something new from this unit every year, and hope that you will enjoy it as much as I do.
Before we dive into the novel, which has complex themes and some "heavy" content, we must first ensure that everyone has a solid foundation of background knowledge. As we have discussed, it is important to develop a knowledge and appreciate for other cultures, especially in order to understand works from those cultures.
Through this webquest, you will work on small groups to research a topic related to background information on the novel. Each group member will take on one of 3 roles to contribute to the group. At the end, you will create a multimedia presentation (of your choosing) to demonstrate your learning and teach your peers about your topic. You will become the EXPERTS on your chosen topic, so choose what you are most interested in exploring!
Just as our own cultural context creates our perception of the world around us, so too are author's shaped by historical and cultural contexts. To gain a better understanding of The Kite Runner, you will work in groups to complete this webquest to establish background knowledge. You will have the following topics to choose from.
You MUST answer each of the questions about your topic, but should also conduct your own research and go beyond the minimum requirements.
Group 1: Religion and Faith
- Provide a brief definition and history of Islam.
- What are the differences between Sunni and Shia muslims?
- What are the basic tenets (also known as "pillars") of Islam? Give a definition of each.
- What is the Koran?
- Describe the role of women in Islamic countries. What rights do they have? What rules must they follow?
- Briefly explain/analyze the impact(s) religion has on everyday life in Afghanistan. How is this similar to/different from the impact(s) of religion in the United States?
Group 2: History, Politics, and Government
- Where is Afghanistan located? What is the capital of the country?
- Summarize Afghan history since 1930, focusing on what your group views as the 7 most important events.
- Why was 1973 a pivotal point in Afghanistan's history?
- in 1992, Afghanistan experienced a coup. Which group took over at this time? What were the problems with this group? Why were many in Afghanistan happy about this takeover at first? What changed their minds?
- Why did more than one million Afghans flee to Pakistan in the late 1990s?
- What role has the U.S. played in conflicts in Afghanistan? (look into our "connection" (for lack of a better word) to the Taliban's rise to power.
- What form of government does Afghanistan currently have? Who is the leader of this government? What laws and political beliefs does the current government uphold?
Group 3: Daily Life
- Find images of traditional Afghan clothing. What is a qmis, a pagray and a burqa?
- What does traditional Afghan clothing suggest about cultural values?
- What occupations are most common? Which is most effected by warfare?
- What are the most popular foods in Afghanistan? What meats are common? Vegetables? Drinks?
- What main livestock is tended in Afghanistan?
- What are the country's main exports?
- Describe the Afghan economy? What are its current challenges? Why?
Group 4: Afghan Society and Culture
- Explain the Afghan focus on hospitality? How are you expected to treat a guest in your home?
- What kinds of music are native to Afghanistan?
- What types of art come from Afghanistan? What does this art tell us about the people, their culture, and their stories?
- What contributions has the Arab world made to society as a whole? Find 5 and explain how these have evolved in modern times.
- Describe the architectural features of Afghanistan. What are some of the country's most famous buildings? How has Afghan architecture influenced the modern world?
- What major holidays and special days are celebrated in Afghanistan? How are they celebrated?
- Who are Rumi, Khayyam and Hafez? What did each write about? How have their contributions to literature affected the rest of the world?
Group 5: Afghan Emigration, Immigration and Refugees
- Under what conditions do Afghans leave their homeland?
- What other countries must those leaving/fleeing pass through?
- What is this experience like? What was it like during the 1970s and 1980s?
- When Afghans come to North America, where do they typically settle? Give cities and approximate populations if possible?
- What is this experience like for many?
- Where are orphan and refugee camps located in Afghanistan and Pakistan?
- How is someone declared an orphan or refugee?
- Under what conditions do orphans and refugees live? How do they get out of such camps?
1. Review ROLES- Each group member will assume a specific role while researching, discussion and preparing to present the information related to your topic.
Historical Analyst: help your group find and evaluate sources that contain important information about your topic.
Human Rights Advocate: focus on the "human element" as your group completes research. Help your group establish connections between your topic and the UDHR, as well as our course guiding questions on WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN.
Media & Art Director: help your group find audio, video, images, etc. that are directly connected to your topic and can help develop your understanding and teach your peers as well! You will help ensure that, in addition to containing thoroughly researched information, your presentation is professional and appropriate for the task.
2. Create a shared document detailing the duties each group member is responsible for, according to his/her role. You must also determine what tasks are common or shared by group members and decide how these will be delegated. The document must be signed by all members of the group.
3. Research your topic together. Do not simply use the "divide and conquer" approach. As we have discussed, this is NOT a form of collaboration.
4. Collaborate to create a multi-media presentation (medium of your choose, except for Google Slides, or Prezi). You are only limited by your own ideas and creativity. See Ms. Becker to get your chosen medium approved (and for help if you are stuck on which to choose).
BE SURE TO NAVIGATE TO YOU CLASS SCHOOLOGY PAGE TO ACCESS THE COURSE RESOURCE FOLDER AND FLIPBOARD. These are broken down by guiding questions, units, themes, etc.
Use the LINK below to access the rubric for this assignment:
As students of World Literature, you are challenged to explore and learn about other cultures, quite often those that are vastly different from your own. This is a HUGE part of not only our course, but one of our district's focuses. Through critical thinking and collaboration, our goal is for our students to think like global citizens, considering issues on a deep understanding of diverse values and world-views.
This will certainly be a focus for our unit on The Kite Runner, and it is my hope that this assignment helps get you started on that journey. As your classmates present to you, be sure to take notes, focusing on these aspects and be prepared to make connections to them throughout out unit, and throughout the year as well!
Citizenship- Deep Learning Progression: New Deep Pedagogies for Learning
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini