Reflection: High Quality Task Analyzing "Silent Spring" & Researching Environmental Concerns - Section 2: Building Knowledge


I love this assignment, even though it deviates a lot from my typical lesson plans, which are usually highly interactive and collaborative.  The strength in this lesson plan is two-fold:

  1. For students, this activity takes them through a path of text exploration that results in a deeper understanding and models how successful readers think about text.  They gather a background independently (rather than relying on teacher-given "backgrounds") through outside material, then they get to work previewing the text.  While reading, they pause frequently to consider what they've read, what it means, etc.  Without an assignment that requires this of them, they will be tempted to avoid the "hard work" of analyzing this complex text.  Today, there's no escaping this work!  (Mwahahaha!)
  2. From a classroom management perspective, this lesson worked fabulously for today since I had a substitute.  It's always difficult to plan rigorous, in-depth activities when a sub is control of the room, but students had to really engage with this assignment on an individual level to get it completed in the time allotted.  Since they only had 90 minutes to get the Silent Spring work done, there was no real time for them to be off-task.  


I think that in the future I will incorporate more of these activities on a smaller scale to give my students more routine practice with analyzing text.  Some students complained that the text was too challenging, but after discussing it with them, it because clear that it wasn't too difficult to understand.  Students were just mentally exhausted after doing so much work!  For one day, this mental exhaustion wasn't a bad thing (and kids were SO HAPPY when I returned!), but it's probably not something I'd do with a full 90 minutes routinely.

  Crafting Critical Response Assignments to Model Successful Reading Strategies
  High Quality Task: Crafting Critical Response Assignments to Model Successful Reading Strategies
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Analyzing "Silent Spring" & Researching Environmental Concerns

Unit 10: A Brief Introduction to Post-Modernism
Lesson 1 of 5

Objective: SWBAT critically analyze the illustrations, structure, tone, imagery, and impact of Silent Spring and investigate an environmental issue of their choosing in a style similar to Carson's for an oral report.

Big Idea: Empower your students to analyze & evaluate Rachel Carson's expose on DDT, then encourage them to look into their own environmental issues!

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silent spring cover
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