Jews in the #Social News

Campers will gain perspective on how Israel is seen by young people around the world, develop an appreciation for the power and volatility of social media in today’s society, and learn about topical current events. They will use a selection of social media postings from around the world to gain insight into how different cultures and societies express themselves online.

Curriculum Themes: 

Materials Required: 

Program Duration: 

Physical Space: 

Number of Campers: 

Age of Campers: 

Core Learnings: 

Learn how different countries and cultures view news from and about Israel
Develop critical thinking skills related to how ideas are expressed via social media

Explanation: 

To prepare, label 5 large posterboards with names of countries: US, Britain, Israel, Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, and hang them around the room. Place the first set of social media postings (cultural themes, see below for suggestions) face-down on a table with masking tape on the back of each post. Place the second set of social media postings (news-related, more controversial themes, see below for suggestions) face-down on a different table with masking tape on the back of each post. Note: There should be two identical sets of each of the groups of posts, assembled in separate rows.

1)  Ask each camper to come up with a twitter handle (@____) that includes their name and something about Israel

2)  Divide campers into two groups (you can count off, or use a creative method to create two groups; without talking, get in line by the number of times you’ve been to Israel. Then count off one, two, one, two.)

3)  Ask each group to make a circle and share their unique twitter handles quickly, offering an explanation of why they chose it.

4)  Give the groups another minute to come up with an Israel themed “hashtag” that will be their team name

5)  Without explaining too much about the activity, tell the campers they will have three minutes to figure out where every posting is from, and tag it to the corresponding poster. Whichever team has the most correct after the three minutes wins the first round. Teams can only flip over one posting at a time, and must all work together to determine where they go.

6)  After the three minute round, go through all of the postings, and share the correct answers. Tally up the scores for both groups. Then, bring the group back together and discuss.

Possible discussion questions:

  • Did you notice a theme among these postings?
  • Were there any postings that you knew immediately which country they were from? Why?
  • Were there any postings whose origins you were surprised by? Why?
  • Some postings could have been from more than one country. Why do you think that is?
  • How has social media affected globalization and the spread of culture?
  • How has social media affected cultural values around the world?
  • Why does social media affect young people particularly?

7) Ask campers to return to their groups, and tell them that the next set of postings are more serious than the last. This round they will have five minutes to determine where the postings belong (like any camp activity, times are subject to change depending on the attentiveness of the group, the flow of the activity, etc.)

8) After a five minute round, go through the postings and share the correct answers. Tally up the scores for both groups. Then, bring the group back together and discuss.

     Possible discussion questions:

  • Did you notice a theme among these postings?
  • Were there any postings you knew immediately which country they were from? Why?
  • How were these posts different from (or similar to) the posts on your Facebook wall?
  • Were there any postings whose origins you were surprised by? Why?

Next, instruct the two groups to do the same exercise, this time using the second set of posts. These posts are more overtly political in nature and should reflect strong opinions on key issues related to Israel. Give the groups three minutes to review the posts, one at a time, and decide on which wall each belongs.

After the time has elapsed, check the posts and see which team got the most correct answers. Announce a winner. Then continue the conversation that you began after the first round of posts. You can revisit any of the earlier questions, and also use these for ideas:

  • What did you learn about the way Israel is portrayed around the world?
  • How does social media affect the way Israel is portrayed around the world?
  • Do you think young people have a different view on Israel than older people?  Why?
  • Social media exists in a “virtual” reality, but has the ability to affect the real world greatly.  Why is that?  Can you think of any examples?
  • How is social media used as an agent of change by young people around the world?
  • Why is social media effective in this role?
  • How has social media changed the role of young people in the geopolitical world (i.e. Arab Spring)
  • How has social media empowered traditionally marginalized groups?
  • How does social media affect the world’s views on/responses to specific countries’ internal issues?
  • Describe a way you could use social media to stimulate social change.  What issue would you be focused on?
  • How has social media changed the way young people interact?
  • Do you notice that in your own life?  Can you give an example?
  • Do you think it’s a good thing we don’t have phones or computers at camp?  Why?
  • How has camp affected the way you interact with others?
  • When you’re at camp, do you miss social media?  Why or why not?
  • Are relationships formed through social media “real” relationships?  Why or why not?
  • Do you have any relationships that exist only through social media?  How do those relationships differ from relationships you have in “real” life?
  • If you could go back twenty years and stop social media from even becoming an idea, would you do it?  Why or why not?  How would that affect the world today?
  • How do you think social media will affect the future of humanity and social interaction?

 

Variations: 

You can use the sample posts included here, but the ideal way to run this activity is to gather real-time posts from Facebook and Twitter.

Time permitting, consider these variations and additional activities:

  • Have every camper take a few minutes to choose one post they would “favorite,” one they would “retweet” (share), and one they would “delete.”  Go around in a circle and have each camper share their choices and explain why.
  • Have every camper write a post about Israel, a current event, or any issue that affects/interests them.  After they’re done, have them move around the room and find another camper whose post is most similar to theirs.  They can be similar for any reason, serious or whacky. After every camper has found a partner, have them share with the group both of their tweets, and why they’re similar.  If they share an issue, ask them if they agree or disagree on the issue, and why.  Finish the activity by having the campers tape their posts to a poster which can be displayed in a cabin or the dining room.

Resources:

*The social media postings below are made up, but effective.  Feel free to substitute these postings with real postings found on the internet*

Cultural Postings:

“What an incredible concert #first #let #me #take #a #selfie #goingdown #timber”

“Hadag Nachash put on a great show!! #holymusic”

“What a match!  Can’t believe they pulled through in extra time!”

“How am I supposed to drive my Lamborghini if a camel caravan is taking up the road? #crownprinceprobz #ugh”

“Need bagels.  rn.  Who’s driving??”

“Oh Fairouz, why must you be from Lebanon and not from here?  You are so beautiful.”

“How come everytime I meet an American they ask if I’m in One Direction?  We’re not all bloody boy toys”

“I like her so much but she is observing shomer nagiyah…#justonekiss #please”

“Kesha was going to perform but the government said she breaks religious law #NOTgoingdown #timber”

“I can’t believe tonight is prom...wasn’t I just a freshman?? #timeflies #wedemboyz”

Serious Postings:

“What kind of government trades dangerous prisoners for a deserter?  This establishes a precedent for kidnapping and shows tremendous weakness #tcot”

“We must come together to show the world what is really happening in this country #BringBackOurBoys”

“Today is the day to #unveil your beauty and your life!  Stand together as women and show the world who we are”

“Libya had its time, Egypt had its time, today we will meet in the square to protest the #occupation #givebackourland #spring”

“They say we cannot even leave the house without a man, but today we will drive.  The time is now for change, who will lead the charge?”

“Rouhani is a wolf in a sheep’s clothing.  America is closing their eyes to a terrible reality.  Iran must not get nuclear weapons, or it is our lives and our country”

“Allowing immigrants already in the country to become citizens will help refill the social security the baby boomers are draining.  It is in all of our interest”

“Another day of being late to work because of checkpoints.  Another day I can’t see my family on the other side of the fence.  This is #apartheid #teardownthiswall”

“Heard Israel killed more Palestinians today.  What entitles them to kill? They’re just Jews, who do they think they are?”

“Meet outside Stratford dorm to promote #BDS.  Israel can’t continue to oppress a whole people without punishment”

Curricular Subjects: 

Attribution: 

Camp Airy