Exploring Freedom

 Facilitate a class exploration of the concept of freedom.

Essential questions:  What is freedom?  What is liberty? What images and words do these concepts conjure? Through enslavement, what is taken away from you?

Why do we yearn to be free?

  • Allow ten minutes for the learners to, individually or in small groups, write down words and concepts that they think represent or are connected to freedom. Each word is written on a separate note card or paper.
  • Give students ten minutes to place the cards on the board. 
  • Ask the class to read the cards and group the cards into similar concept areas.
  • Use the ideas to create and discuss one or various definitions of freedom.

Activities

Closing activity: Ask learners to write an essay answering the following questions:

  • What can you do if you are free? 
  • What can you not do if you are not free?
  • How does this make you feel? Why is it important that you have your freedom?

Twinning ideas: Consider collaborating with another TST school to explore the concept of freedom. Gather the cards used in class to represent words and concepts relating to freedom.  As a class, use these as inspiration for a “freedom quilt” (a ‘quilt’ is a larger patchwork unit, consisting of smaller individual pieces stitched together. It is usually made out of fabric, and used in a metaphorical sense in this context).  Decide on a format and size for each block.  For example, you might use paper, fabric, or images (digital, printed, or drawn). Ask the learners to create ‘quilt blocks’ based on the class discussion of freedom. 

  • Activity with Technology
    Use software to create and stitch ‘quilt blocks’ together.  Post to the Internet or email to the partner school along with a letter of welcome from the class.  Consider printing on paper or fabric and posting in the school. 
  • Classical Activity
    Use large sheets paper or poster board to create your quilt size. Arrange the quilt blocks and attach.  Mail to your partner school along with a letter of welcome from the class. 

Examples

The exploration of freedom by an ASPnet school in the USA

Voices of freedom” illustrated with activities of the Waldorf School of Baltimore, the USA 

At the Waldorf School of Baltimore, TST is taught at at different moments of the curricula (for age groups 7-8, 12-13, 13-14 and 17-18).  

In 2010-2011, the 2nd grade pupils were introduced the subject in a block called “Deeds of kindness”. The life of Harriet Tubman (1820-1913), a famous woman abolitionist, was presented by the class teacher highlighting her physical and mental strength.  

The 8th grade students developed and performed a play on the life of Frederick Douglas (1818-1895), an important figure in the American abolitionist movement. In preparation of the play, students read the autobiography “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass”. To further their understanding of the context of that period, discussions were organised on, for instance, the living conditions of African-Americans and the Fugitive Slave Act (passed by the United States congress in 1850, this Act declared that all runaway slaves be brought back to their masters). Based on these preparatory activities, students wrote the play as well as designed and built the sets themselves. Selected scenes were presented for pupils from 1st to 5th grades, and the entire play for the other classes. Plays were followed by discussions on slavery and on the life and achievements of Frederick Douglass. Acting made for a very personal and powerful experience of the slave trade and allowed for self-reflection on the feelings of oppression or victimisation, and on the concepts of liberty and freedom.

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