Evidence and Explanation of "This is Me in Grade 9"

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SWBAT analyze and argue about about a popular song depicting grade 9 by documenting evidence and explaining it with respect to their views of the song.

Big Idea

Just like this shallow water search team, our students will be looking for evidence and interpreting it!

Activate Prior Knowledge

10 minutes

Link to my explanation of this lesson!

Activate prior knowledge.  

In this section of the class, I just want to gather the students in, welcome them back to day 2 of high school (yeah!) and get them to begin to think about how they might use evidence in our class.  I am concerned that they begin to see our class's discussions (SL.9-10.1) and argument writing (W.9-10.1) as evidence-based.  We are going to build on our analysis of the song from yesterday's class very soon, but first a quick check-in about the use of evidence and argument:


I will ask (link to image for this activity):

What do you think that the men in this image are doing?

If I told you that this is a shallow water search team, what does that add to your answer?

Why do they use these yellow tape things in front of a crime scene? 

Why is evidence so important? 

What does it mean to tamper with evidence?  

What about using evidence in L.A. class? 




[image credit from wikimedia.org, by Magnus Manske link]


Modeling Evidence and Reasoning

30 minutes

Goals for this discussion.  Discussing evidence in the song, "This is Me in Grade 9":  I will use discussion and modeled examples to both demonstrate how evidence is cited and also how reasoning should be applied to the evidence in speaking in class (SL.9-10.1), in reading (RL.9-10.1), and in writing (W.9-10.1a).  In this way, I hope to elicit student thinking and to develop the norms of constructive controversy.   We are co-establishing the norms of an evidence-focused discussion.  It's only day 2 of class, so I will probably place the role of facilitator a bit more strongly than I otherwise will do. 

What I do:

1.) Tell students to examine the filled-in handout from yesterday's lesson (link).

2.) Ask: what counts as good evidence in this song?

3.) Show examples on the worksheet from yesterday, and ask students to fill in examples.  The lyrics say, “Half my friends are crazy, and the other half are depressed.”  One student wrote, “He is  making fun of his friends in a joking way.” What I aim to do is to expand on this reasoning to have the writer explain the humor through a question like this, “Is it really possible that fully 100% of his friends have a psychological disorder?” or “Why do you think he would exaggerate the idea that, yes, his friends seem to be having a little bit of trouble…what would be the point in making this exaggeration?”

4.) Another quotation from the story that was cited by a student says the following, “First day of school, and I’m already failing.”  This example is literally impossible, so the writer of the song is being deliberately absurd because, as the student says, “It is literally impossible to fail on the first day because you don’t get any assignments.”   On the other hand, there are several examples that show a really difficult time for the student.  He maybe really did have a difficult time. 


As I move to additional examples, I am looking to draw out the use of evidence (SL.9-10.1) and to ask students to extend their argumentative reasoning on the topic by linking what they think or claim about the song to what it says on the page (W.9-10.1a).

Setting the Learning

5 minutes

At the end of the class, I will have a mock talk show, just for five minutes, and have 2 students who have diverging opinions of the song and its meaning (SL.9-10.1).  I will call them up to the front and see if I can get the class to come to some closure about the meaning of the song, whether the humor is masking real pain or just a send up of a challenging time: adjustment into high school life.