Reflection: Perseverance Critical Editorial Analysis: Is Overpopulation a Problem? - Section 3: Independent Reading Time


I've often talked to teachers that abhor the practice of silent, sustained reading in class, seeing it as a waste of valuable class time that could be spent on discussion, analysis, deeper inquiry, etc.  These teachers seem to assume that students will read their assigned reading as homework and come prepared to engage in these higher order learning activities.  Some of these teachers are the same who are invariably discouraged that their students won't talk, won't engage the material, and seem unprepared to dig deeper into a text. 

As much as I'd love it if I could assign a complex text as homework (and let's face it, an Op Ed for the New York Times is fairly complex for many, if not most high school students) and trust that my students will come to class having read and digested the material, it's not realistic when a large number of your students are ELL as are mine.  They are either struggling with the language, or simply struggling with the myriad challenges and distractions they're faced with once they leave school.

To approach this realistically, and to avoid burnout over students that "don't care" enough about the material to discuss it seriously, I have decided that class time devoted to reading is time well spent for the following reasons:

  1. It allows me to ensure that students are, in fact, reading the assigned text.
  2. It allows me to address the questions of comprehension of individual students better than I could either when they're at home reading it as homework (obviously), or in a whole-class setting where I'm trying to orchestrate the activity of the whole class and can't as effectively address the needs of an individual student.
  3. The quiet atmosphere models the conditions of effective study that many students may lack when they try and do homework at home in front of the TV, or in the midst of friends or siblings engaged in conversation.


  THIRTY minutes of silence in class? Isn't that a waste of valuable class time?
  Perseverance: THIRTY minutes of silence in class? Isn't that a waste of valuable class time?
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Critical Editorial Analysis: Is Overpopulation a Problem?

Unit 4: Populations
Lesson 8 of 10

Objective: Students will be able to critically consider the claims and evidence provided in an editorial and write a paragraph explaining why they agree or disagree with the central argument of the editorial.

Big Idea: Editorials are only as effective as the evidence provided to support their claims. Sometimes editorials that seem to be on opposite sides of an issue are actually in fundamental agreement.

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