By the time teachers understood the magnitude of Friday's terror attacks on Paris, school was over, or close to it. So students throughout Southern California came to school Monday morning with a few questions:
Who were the people being killed in Paris? Who was doing the killing? Why did they hear about France so much, but not about the tragedies that happen in other countries, like Lebanon?
Although the class has moved on to the study of West Africa, Flanagan put the new material on hold Monday morning. Flanagan instead asked the students what big world event had happened since they last saw each other (he was out on Friday). They talked about Paris, and Flanagan asked if they knew of any other recent attacks that had occurred. Most did not.
So he broke the students into three groups, each assigned to find reputable news sources and learn about recent terror attacks in one of three places: Paris, Beirut and Kenya, where an April attack at a college left 147 dead.
Eleventh-grade U.S. history students at Downtown Magnets High School spent an hour on the topic on Monday, said Daniel Jocz, a history teacher at the school and one of California’s teachers of the year.
"Part of my job is to just totally confuse the hell out of them," Jocz said. "If they can get clarity of the confusion, that'll make them better civic participants."
Reach Sonali Kohli on Twitter @Sonali_Kohli or by email at Sonali.Kohli@latimes.com.