Not Without My Daughter: Experiencing the Lives of Betty and Matob Mahmoody

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Personally, this novel has opened my eyes to the life others live outside of the United States. I cannot express the amount of appreciation I have for the United States government for giving me rights, not only as a citizen, but also as a woman. Often, we take for granite the amount of freedom we have. I wanted to create an activity that forced students to look at the novel, "Not Without My Daughter," and showcase the differences between their own culture and the Iranian culture and realize that every culture is different. I planned this novel to be read in my ninth grade classroom, but I believe it could work for grades ten through twelfth as well. The novel in itself is rather long, but the content is not very complex. For older grades, I would keep the same WebQuest, but read and discuss at a faster rate.

Materials/ Tips & Tricks:
- It might be a good idea to share this assignment with students before they start the novel so they can start marking any Iranian culture differences they find or anything else that stood out to them. Post-Its or colored tabs work well!

- Students will need access and time to view WebQuest activity on computers. Once the activity is explained, computers are not necessary to complete the assignment, but you might want to have at least one computer available for students who want to re-check what the assignment is or check what is going to being graded. (For this assignment, students need to have basic computer literacy skills including how to use the internet, mouse, keyboard, etc.)

Students need to be aware of a due date for the project—it can be time consuming to find examples from the book!

The WebQuest project may be adapted accordingly for learners with exceptionalities. (The number of letters or journal entries could be altered, students could work in pairs or groups, students could be set up with a model student to guide them along, etc.)

Providing a model from previous years or classes helps students understand what is expected of them. Set the bar high with a creative work from another student or your own!

Standards:NCTE Standards
Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.

R11.A.2: Understand nonfiction appropriate to grade level.
R11.A.2.1: Identify and apply the meaning of vocabulary in nonfiction.
R11.A.2.3: Make inferences, draw conclusions, and make generalizations based on text.
R11.A.2.4: Identify and explain main ideas and relevant details.
R11.A.2.5: Summarize a nonfictional text as a whole.
R11.A.2.5.1: Summarize the major points, processes, and/or events of a nonfictional text as a whole

1.35 The teacher develops and uses curricula that encourage student to see, question, and interpret ideas from diverse perspectives.
4.13 The teacher knows how to enhance learning through the use of a wide variety of materials as well as human and technological resources (e.g. computers, audio-visual technologies, videotapes and discs, local experts, primary documents and artifacts, texts, reference books, literature and other print resources).
7.12 The teacher knows how to take contextual considerations (instructional materials, individual student interests, needs, and aptitudes, and community resources) into account in planning instruction that creates an effective bridge between curriculum goals and students’ experiences.

This WebQuest activity could be used in two ways:
1. Assign to students before they read the book as an ongoing project for the entire unit
2. Assign to students as a "final" assessment of the book

I like the idea of merging information from the text with students' own creative imagination for this project because it not only tests them on their content knowledge of the book, but it also allows them to feel like they are in control of the outcome of their project, because they are! They can be as creative as they want while showing me that they have read and understood the material.

**Note: the purpose of this WebQuest is not to bash or discredit any culture over another, but to introduce the idea of multi-cultural practices around the world. After reading this novel, I had a different kind of respect for the Iranian culture, one that made me realize why their customs and laws were different than the ones that I followed.

Additional Resources:

Use these YouTube videos to watch the full “Not Without My Daughter” Movie.

Part 1 of 8: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRrYsCbM8r4
Part 2 of 8:
Part 3 of 8:

Part 4 of 8:

Part 5 of 8:

Part 6 of 8:

Part 7 of 8:

Part 8 of 8:

An interview with Betty Mahmoody, author of “Not Without My Daughter,” about her true life experiences in Iran. (The beginning is not in English, but the actual interview is...fast-forward a bit to find the interview.)


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