1. Paul's Welcome to Students
  2. Salopek Map
  3. High School Lesson Plan
  4. Teacher example of Abdullah
  5. Student example of Abdullah profile
  6. Additional Sample Profiles
  7. Reporting on Foot From Around the World
  8. Credits
Pulitzer Center

Out of Eden: 9-12 Lesson Plan

A Storyteller's Point of View

Out of Eden: 9-12 Lesson Plan
A Storyteller's Point of View
Paul's Welcome to Students

Transcript of Paul’s Welcome to Students (Sent in August 2013)

“My name is Paul Salopek and I’m happy to invite you along on the Out of Eden Walk. One of the interesting things about this project, at least to me, is that it doesn’t belong to me. It’s not Paul’s walk. Scientists say that if you go far back enough in your family tree, there will have been someone who’ll have walked at least a small part of our ancestor’s immensely long route across the ancient world. This project, then, is one that belongs to all of us. It belongs to you.

I’m looking forward to sharing the stories that I find as I walk across the earth for the next seven years, from the cradle of our ancestors in the Rift Valley of Africa to the last continental horizon that they reached thousands of generations later in South America.

But I look forward to hearing your stories too because learning about the world and how we’re all connected within it doesn’t mean you have to pull on a pair of boots and walk 25 miles a day.

You can do this from home by just slowing down and paying attention. Slowing down opens your life to new possibilities. It allows you to make new discoveries, even in your own backyard. All it takes is a little more time and curiosity.

Think about the difference, for example, between riding to school in a bus or a car and walking. When you’re hunkered inside of a glass and steel vehicle, you are looking at the world that is blurred by speed and flattened through the windshield. Or more likely, you’re staring down into a mobile device and ignoring the world altogether.

But walking requires alertness; it requires you to be fully awake. You may see the pattern of leaf shadows moving on a sidewalk. You might feel the cool autumn wind on your skin. You might smell a neighbor’s cooking wafting through an open window, or you might even meet that neighbor and have a brief, passing conversation.

So while I look forward to sharing the stories that I find across the world as I inch my way through African deserts, or over the Himalayan Mountains of Central Asia, or through the jungles of Burma. I also look forward to hearing about your own walks as well, about your own discoveries.

We are walking together on a journey of learning. We’ll draw maps together, helping each other to move forward. I look forward to seeing you down the trail.”

High School Lesson Plan

“A Storyteller’s Point of View” (45-60 minutes)

COMMON CORE STANDARD:CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.

OBJECTIVE: SWBAT evaluate how speakers use rhetoric and evidence to establish different points of view in a variety of texts related to journalist Paul Salopek’s Out of Eden Walk

Essential Questions:

  1. What informs a person’s point of view?
  2. How does language inform a reader about a person’s point of view?

MATERIALS:

  • Teacher Copy of Profile Example
  • Student Copy of Profile Example
  • Out of Eden Walk YouTube Introduction (optional)
  • Transcript of NPR podcast, Audio of NPR podcast
  • Transcript of “Paul’s Welcome to Students”
  • Audio of “Paul’s Welcome to Students”

ENGAGE: What informs a point of view?


ACTIVITY: Quick Profiles

Have students quickly jot down answers to the following questions:

  • Who are you?
  • Where do you come from?
  • Where are you going?

Encourage students to answer in at least one sentence. There are no wrong answers! After a minute or two for answering, allow a few students to share their answers OR allow students to share in pairs.


SAY: In his decades of experience covering stories from around the world, journalist Paul Salopek found that these questions were often the most important ones he asked the people he met. In a recent interview, he explained that these questions provide the “...basic identity template. It also situates people in the flow of history and current events. The answers can veer almost anywhere.”

ASK: What is an identity template? As a journalist, why do you think Paul starts with these questions? What do you think he means by “…situate people in the flow of history and current events,”? Why would he want to know this information?

SAY: Journalists ask questions like the one Paul mentioned above to get subjects to begin expressing their perspective on a topic. But it is important for a journalist to understand a person’s background in order to evaluate a person’s POINT OF VIEW.

ASK: What is point of view? Does everyone have the same point of view? How might we determine different points of view?
The Point: Help students understand a point of view can be expressed through what the speaker/writer states AND the language the speaker/writer uses.

INFORM: Identifying Different Points of View

SAY: Today we will evaluate different points of view using material’s from Paul Salopek’s Out of Eden Walk. Then, briefly explain the walk to students in your own words (Show attached map), or by screening the following YouTube video: http://youtu.be/zVKlyb3iMI0 (nearly 4:30 minutes)

Major Points:

  1. Paul will walk 21,000 miles over the course of seven years.
  2. He will follow the path that many scientists believe was taken by humans from Ethiopia to Patagonia, a migration that happened over nearly 50,000 years.
  3. Along the way he will report on a variety of topics.
  4. He will use a slow approach to journalism, which means that he will take time deeply explore where he travels to more richly tell the stories of the communities he visits.

SAY: Since January 2013, when his journey began, Paul has traveled from Ethiopia to Saudi Arabia. Along the way, Paul has already been using the questions “Where do you come from?” and “Where are you going?” to engage with the people he has met. Let’s examine how he might use these profiles to evaluate the points of view of his different subjects.

MODEL
Evaluating points of view by examining word choice and stated evidence in “Encounter” profiles from www.outofedenwalk.com

Display or pass out a profile Paul from the “Milestones” section of Paul’s Out of Eden Walk website. http://www.outofedenwalk.com/milestones/ (see attached document for an annotated example) Read through the profile out loud to answer the following questions:

  1. What do you learn about this person’s background?
  2. What is this person passionate about? What is he/she angry about or happy about?
  3. How does the language the person uses express what he/she is happy and sad about?

The Point: When you are hearing directly from a narrator that is called the FIRST PERSON point of view. By evaluating the person’s background and word choice, a reader can identify a person’s point of view on different subjects. This not only important for journalists, but also for readers, because evaluating point of view helps a reader understand WHY a narrator has the perspective he/she has. It also helps a reader identify opinion vs. fact.

With the profile you have chosen (see attached TEACHER EXAMPLE for a modeling of what this could look like), determine the narrator’s point of view on the different subjects he/she mentions. Ask “From what you’ve learned about the person, why might he/she have that perspective?”


PRACTICE TOGETHER: Evaluate Paul’s point of view about slow vs. fast journalism!

Read and Listen to the transcript of National Public Radio journalist Brooke Gladstone interviewing Paul Salopek. http://www.onthemedia.org/2013/aug/16/reporting-foot-around-world/ (Transcript attached -- responses are numbered to facilitate discussion.)

BEFORE: Ask students to predict what Paul’s point of view about fast and slow journalism will be. (Fast journalism referring to quickly covered breaking news and slow journalism referring to stories that take more time to report)

Encourage students to see if their prediction was right while listening/reading. Tell students to underline lines where Paul is expressing his point of view on the topic. Tell students to also listen for points of view that are different from Paul’s. Where are they? How are they expressed?

WHILE LISTENING: Stop and take notice of moments where a point of view is expressed.

For example, how do you interpret Brooke’s point of view about a slow approach to journalism when she says in line 1 “Are you doing this mostly by foot?” Is it respect? Amazement? Judgment? Discuss! What about when she says in line 6 “And what’s it supposed to add up to?”

Another example: how would you describe Paul’s point of view about his time as a foreign correspondent when he says in line 7, “…I’d do a dab of a story here, get on a plane and, and do another dab over here.”

AFTER LISTENING: Have students share moments where Paul expressed a point of view about fast vs. slow journalism. Also note moments where Brooke expresses an opposing point of view about slow journalism (see line 18, for example). ASK: Why do you think Brooke expresses a different point of view in the interview?

The Point: It is important that journalists present many points of view about an issue. Presenting different points of view gives the reader more information and allows him/her to better evaluate his/her opinion on a subject.

EXPLORE: Practicing evaluating different points of view.

Say Paul has sent a message that he especially made for YOU while reporting in Saudi Arabia.

Independent Practice Activity: Evidence and Word Choice in Paul’s personal message to students

BEFORE LISTENING/READING: Encourage students to listen for the following:

How is Paul’s point of view about how slow journalism should be done (who should do it and how) different in this message?
How does Paul justify his point of view differently in his personal address?
What’s that personal address called again? FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE!
How does Paul adjust his language to express his point of view to a younger audience?

AFTER LISTENING: Process the questions above with the students. Make sure students are able to pull evidence from the text to justify how they are interpreting Paul’s point of view.

CONCLUSION

SAY: Paul’s challenge for us was to explore the practices of a slower approach to journalism in our own backyards.


ACTIVITY: Revised Quick Profiles

With the time remaining, rewrite your quick profile answering Paul’s questions “Where do you come from?” and “Where are you going?” Remember how the language and details you use help inform a reader about your point of view. If there is time, allow students to share their revised profiles. Discuss as a class how the responses help the reader evaluate the writer’s point of view.

Extending the lesson: If your class could benefit more from evaluating a text that includes multiple points of view, which could help the students evaluate differences between first and third person narrative, Paul has written several blogs along his journey that could be useful texts to explore. Find examples here: http://outofedenwalk.nationalgeographic.com/


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Describing Point of View:

http://www.brighthubeducation.com/high-school-english-lessons/52601-teaching-point-of-view/- A sample lesson teaching point of view using the text “The Death of Penny Paret” by Norman Mailer

Out of Eden Walk:

http://media.outofedenwalk.com/resources/out_of_eden_walk_outline.pdf - Press Release written by Paul

www.outofedenwalk.com – Find all the Milestones Paul has documented here

http://walktolearn.outofedenwalk.com/- See how teachers are connecting their curriculum to the Out of Eden Walk throughout the school year

Teacher example of Abdullah

PROFILE EXAMPLE: FOR TEACHERS

Directions: Read the contents of the profile below. Use Abdullah’s stories and word choice as clues to evaluate his point of view about his country and his work.Teachers: See the questions noted in the profile below. Abdullah’s profile works as a great first example!


Abdullah Ali Nejem

Age 58
Captain of the ABUYASSER II, livestock carrier

Encounters

Who are you?

I am captain.

Where do you come from?

Arwad Island. Near to port of Tartus. In Syria. Arwad very old. More older than Tartus. By a long time. Arwad named for a queen. She very old. A thousand years — more, to Phoenician time. Very , very, very old. My grandfather seaman. My father seaman. I seaman. Go back maybe two hundred years. All the sea. My smallest son — he is studying sea academy in Egypt, in Alexandria. Very expensive! Very expensive! I pay how much? I pay 35,000 dollar. I pay everything. Everything gone! (Wipes palms of hands against each other.) Gone! Bank, khalas! But what can do? What can do? What can do? Is for future.

*Ask students, what is Abdullah passionate about in this profile? (They could mention his lineage, his opinion of university, his plan for his son’s future, etc.) Have students identify the language he uses to express his points of view on these topics.

Where are you going?

One place. One place only. I say this. Place have everything. Have everything! You want zeitun? You know zeitun? Green? Black? Have! You know Zeitun oil? Best! Best! Have! You want all farm vegetable? Have! You want car? You want drive 1,000 kilometer on good road? Have! You want good heart doctor? Have! Good doctor! You want medicine! Cheap medicine? Have! Have everything! Have everything! Have everything! But now — gone! Syria finished! Syria ‘stroyed. ‘Stroyed! Go back maybe 300 years! How long to catch up? Maybe 300 years more! Six hundred years — lost! Syria same as old!

*Ask What is Abdullah expressing his point of view about here? How does he feel about Syria? What examples from the text show you that he feels this way?

Student example of Abdullah profile

PROFILE EXAMPLE: FOR STUDENTS

Directions: Read the contents of the profile below. Use Abdullah’s stories and word choice as clues to evaluate his point of view about his country and his work.


Abdullah Ali Nejem

Age 58

Captain of the ABUYASSER II, livestock carrier

Encounters

Who are you?

I am captain.

Where do you come from?

Arwad Island. Near to port of Tartus. In Syria. Arwad very old. More older than Tartus. By a long time. Arwad named for a queen. She very old. A thousand years — more, to Phoenician time. Very , very, very old. My grandfather seaman. My father seaman. I seaman. Go back maybe two hundred years. All the sea. My smallest son — he is studying sea academy in Egypt, in Alexandria. Very expensive! Very expensive! I pay how much? I pay 35,000 dollar. I pay everything. Everything gone! (Wipes palms of hands against each other.) Gone! Bank, khalas! But what can do? What can do? What can do? Is for future.

Where are you going?

One place. One place only. I say this. Place have everything. Have everything! You want zeitun? You know zeitun? Green? Black? Have! You know Zeitun oil? Best! Best! Have! You want all farm vegetable? Have! You want car? You want drive 1,000 kilometer on good road? Have! You want good heart doctor? Have! Good doctor! You want medicine! Cheap medicine? Have! Have everything! Have everything! Have everything! But now — gone! Syria finished! Syria ‘stroyed. ‘Stroyed! Go back maybe 300 years! How long to catch up? Maybe 300 years more! Six hundred years — lost! Syria same as old!

Additional Sample Profiles

Directions: Read the contents of the profile below. Use the subject’s stories and word choices as clues to evaluate his/her point of view about his/her country and life.


Aboard the MV Abuyasser II, Red Sea | April 26, 2013

Bashir Al Saqaf

Mariner
Age 31

Encounters

Who are you?

Me? Me? A.B. (Able Bodied Seaman) Abuyasser II. Name. Bashir.

Where do you come from?

Me? Me? I come from Yemen.

Where are you going?

I want going another country. Another area. Too much problem. I think future only. I want change life. Not know exactly. Another life. Africa. Arab. Another life.


Afar region, Ethiopia | January 28, 2013

Ali Dille

District administrator
Age 35

Encounters

Who are you?

I am the administrator from Hadar wareda. I run that district. (He stopped his vehicle on the highway to ask if I needed a lift.)

Where do you come from?

I am from Hadar. The American scientist Johansen works there. And Bill. They are famous. Big scientists. It is where Lucy was found. All people come from there — from Hadar. All the world’s people — they moved from here. After that we went to other African countries.

Where are you going?

I am going to Dalifagi. Where everyone else is going, I don’t know.

Reporting on Foot From Around the World

 

Friday, August 16, 2013

1.BROOKE GLADSTONE:  That's one way to bring untold stories to a wider world. Here’s another. For more than two decades, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Paul Salopek has reported all over the world, but never like he is right now. Since January, Salopek has been on what he calls the “Out of Eden Walk,” retracing the path of our human ancestors across the globe. His 21,000 mile trek, which began in East Africa’s Great Rift Valley, will end seven years from now in Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost tip of South America. Here he is on a boat, which he calls an anti-ark, a floating barnyard delivering thousands of sheep from Djibouti to Djida for slaughter. He smells the ammonia reek of the pens, hears the thrum of the diesel and catches the song of canaries.

  [CANARY SOUNDS]

“It was the morose engineer,” wrote Salopek. “He sits at his post at night, playing songbird recordings over and over on his computer. He says it reminds him of a better world.” We have Salopek on the phone from Saudi Arabia. Paul, are you doing this mostly by foot?

2. PAUL SALOPEK:  If this all works out, about 90 percent of it will be on foot. But because I’m retracing the path of ancient migrations, our ancestors somehow got across the Red Sea, so I did likewise on a, on a camel boat.

3. BROOKE GLADSTONE:  You’re reporting in a number of ways, tweeting, dispatching, videos. You have a process, right?

4. PAUL SALOPEK:  Yeah, what we’re doing is two levels, actually. One is reporting a little bit like I did as a conventional foreign correspondent, where as I stumble across stories en-route, I report those whether it’s in a village or in a city or out in the desert somewhere. But there’s a more methodical template, as well, and that is every 100 miles I stop and take what I’m calling a narrative milestone or a core sample, if you will, where I’m recording, using multimedia, what the surface of the earth looks and sounds like at that particular geo-coded spot. And I’ll be doing it for 21,000 miles across the world.

5. BROOKE GLADSTONE:  Can you give us a taste of that?

6. PAUL SALOPEK:  Yeah. I was walking with camels through the Rift Valley of Ethiopia, and one of these milestones happened to occur next to a highway. So, ironically, you have imagery of Afar nomads, some of whom are carrying daggers, with camels in the background, and the sound turns out to be a steady stream of trucks, a kind of stream of the Africa scene in the modern human-made world providing ambient sound, the throb of tired on asphalt.

6. BROOKE GLADSTONE:  And what's it supposed to add up to?

7. PAUL SALOPEK:  It’ll be a record, like beads along a string, of what the world looks like along the path of our ancestors from Africa through Asia, all the way down into the tip of South America, the oldest stories we tell ourselves, going back in most cultures, are journey stories, the quest stories. And as a foreign correspondent, I was doing this but in a pointillist fashion. I’d do a dab of a story here, get on a plane and, and do another dab over here.

And what I finally was able to concoct with this idea was a single linear narrative that connects all the stories that I’ve written in the past, and stories that I can’t even imagine in the future, into a single journey story. And by slowing down, the idea is to be able to immerse myself in the headlines in a way that a conventional foreign correspondent often can’t.

8. BROOKE GLADSTONE:  How have you immersed yourself into the story?

9. PAUL SALOPEK:  I’ll just give you an example. I walked up to the Rift Valley of Africa that is a, a combat zone. It's a scene of a resource war between two ethnic pastoral groups, the Afar and the Issa. I noticed as we were walking, Brooke, across this, to my eye, featureless landscape, salt flats stretching as far as the eye could see, my Afar friends who were walking with me were doing S curves, stretching over miles. And I would ask them, I’d say, “Why are we doing this? I’ve got a GPS, we can go straight to well X or oasis Y.” And they looked at me as if I was stupid, because what they were walking along were invisible boundaries of conflict that only they and their enemies could see. And that gave me an appreciation about invisible borders that conventional reporters don't see.

10. BROOKE GLADSTONE:  That’s remarkable. Do you feel, at any point, that you may get involved in a story?

11. PAUL SALOPEK:  I feel like I’ve managed to function best in a storyteller’s mode. You know, you are kind of like a blank slate when you’re a walker coming into a village or a town. It’s remarkable. People spill their stories to you because they can’t really share it with neighbors. They see you as a neutral party, they see you as somebody who’s safe.

When people moved way back and told stories the way I am now, kind of ambulatory storytelling, whether it was Greek bards or West African griots, they had a special status, the way traders did, where you sort of left them alone. You didn’t bother them because they were bringing a commodity to you. And I’m hoping to tap into that tradition. So if I start becoming a participant in the story, then I might lose part of the story.

12. BROOKE GLADSTONE: What part of the upcoming trip scares you the most?

13. PAUL SALOPEK: I would have to break it down. I think there’s a physical plane. There are landscapes that are bloody hard to move through, even in a mechanized fashion, much less on foot. Think about Siberia. That is probably going to be the most physically demanding part.

The other thing that’s kind of counterintuitive is that people have made comments to me as I’ve walked out of the Horn of Africa, which is this parched – very economically deprived part of the world, saying, “Boy, Paul, you’re walking through probably the hardest part at the beginning. And I’m having to correct them because, actually, it’s very congenial to walk through economically deprived parts of the world because people still walk. So it’s actually easier to find walking companions.

14. BROOKE GLADSTONE:  Mm.

15. PAUL SALOPEK:  It’s easier to find walking trails across a landscape that’s shaped by the human foot.

16. BROOKE GLADSTONE:  You talked at the beginning of the interview about how we've always loved quest stories. But what's the quest? What’s the grail at the end of all of this?

17. PAUL SALOPEK:  Well, there’s a grail for me and hopefully a grail for my readers. For me, very selfishly, I want to improve as a writer. I want to see what slowing down and partaking richly of a story does to my storytelling. And on the part of my readers, my hope is to slow them down, as well, highlight the joys of attentiveness, highlight the joys of sticking with narratives that might be longer than they’re used to, that might have a narrative thread that goes not for 24 hours but for weeks and even years.

18. BROOKE GLADSTONE:  You’re not proposing this as a form to replace conventional foreign reporting, right?

19. PAUL SALOPEK:  You know, I’ve been asked by colleagues, saying, “Paul, it’s a wonderful idea, it’s a wonderful concept, but are you dismissing the need for a PV crew to go rush to a terrorism attack?” And of course not, of course not. I’m not being polemical about this. This, again, is a laboratory for me.
But what I am saying is that had we slowed down a bit, increased our attention span a bit with critical stories from the 1980s and 1990s, had we “walked,” as it were, in quotes, through the refugee camps on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, we may not have had as many crises to report in the early 2000s. I think the, the reactive drive by nature of modern journalism is self-defeating because it provides less and less analysis, and we take our eyes off stories that fester and then become a self-perpetuating cycle of crisis reporting.

20. BROOKE GLADSTONE:  Paul, thank you very much.

  [MUSIC UP AND UNDER]

21. PAUL SALOPEK:  You’re welcome.

22. BROOKE GLADSTONE:  We caught up with Paul Salopek who’s on a seven-year foreign reporting trip, retracing the path of our human ancestors out of Africa, sponsored by National Geographic and the Knight Foundation. Just Google “Out of Eden Walk” to follow along.  

Guests: Paul Salopek

Credits

lesson plans prepared by

Fareed Mostoufi

design
Jason Huang and Caroline D'Angelo

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