How Should Kids be Disciplined at School?

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SWBAT support an opinion with evidence from the text.

Big Idea

Can you support your opinion?

Station Rotations

20 minutes

In the previous lesson students read an article the principal at John C. Calhoun School and his use of the paddle as discipline.  Today, they will have the opportunity to share their opinions, and believe me, they are opinionated!

For this activity, I will run 2 identical sets of stations.   I often do this because I want the students to have the experience of rotating through stations, but due to my large class size, 8 or 10 stations isn't realistic.  I like to keep group sizes around 3 or 4, so I just divide the class in half and have each half run through their own set of  identical stations.  

Station Set up:  

  • Each group of 3 or 4 students needs one large white board or piece of chart paper
  • Write a different question on each paper in the station

Questions can include: 

-  What is your opinion on the use of the paddle to discipline students?

-  What do you feel is the best discipline method to use in a school?

-  Do you feel that spanking was a good discipline choice for Laurie in the story "Charles?"  Explain your thoughts.

-How do you think your parents would react if your school starting using thepaddle?

Get Started:

  • Give each group a few minutes at each station to read the previous responses and write their answers on the paper or whiteboard.  Encourage students to respond to their classmates ideas as well, so if you are using whiteboards, tell the students not to erase the previous group's response.  I will give the students about 4 minutes per station to accomplish their task.  l often use the timer on SMART notebook, but there are many virtual timers available online as well.  
  • Once the students have been through all of the stations, ask students to share out some comments that are on the paper in front of them with the whole class.    

Sharing Your Opinion

30 minutes

Now pose this question:  

Is paddling students an effective discipline too?

Use the half multi-flow map to help students organize their writing.  

Their opinion statement goes in the first box, and the 3 boxes that branch out contain their reasons.  The lines next to the 3 branches are for textual evidence from either "Charles" or "The Principal and the Paddle."  The evidence must support the specific reason the student gives.  

Take on a different point of view:

Once students have completed the map on their own opinions, it is time to shake it up a bit.  I like to randomly assign roles to students, but it is fine to let them choose as well.  

Ask students to shift roles.  They are now either:

1.  A parent

2.  A principal

3.  A teacher

They will now complete the same map according to their new point of view.  

Time to Write:

Students should now choose one of the two maps to write into a paragraph.  Their opinion statement is already written, so it is easy to add in reasons and evidence.  I model adding transition words to their reasons to help their writing flow.  I also use the handoutSHOW ME THE EVIDENCE" to give students some different ways to introduce their support.  

Making Connections

10 minutes

As we bring this unit to a close, I want to have my students make some connections to what they have been reading.  Making connections to text is important because it helps students relate to the text which promotes long term comprehension.  As an ELA teacher, one of my goals is to help students see that reading isn't something that just happens for 90 minutes during class.  Reading is a way that we learn more about ourselves and the world around us.   

To start, I'll draw a 3 column t-chart on the board and label the columns:  Text to Self, Text to Text, and Text to World.  This is the first time we've done this activity this year, so I guarantee you that 90% of the students will think we are going to talk about texting.  So....I'll start by explaining that the text is what we have been reading this week:  "Charles" and "The Principal and the Paddle."  I'll give each student several post-it notes and challenge them to fnd some ways that either or both of those pieces relate to themselves, another book or story, or the world (this can be their home, neighborhood, school, city, state...).  

It is really tough for students to get started, so I always model it first.  For example, The story "Charles" reminds me of the books Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Superfudge because in those books the main character Fudge gets into some crazy trouble just like Laurie.  This is an example of a Text to Text connection.  Since I am a sixth grade teacher, I've seen all kinds of misbehaving over the years, so I can personally relate to both pieces we read.  This should go in the Text to Self column.  Finally, I think that "The Principal and the Paddle" reminds me of what we are doing here at HLS.  We have recently redesigned our behavior plan too.  Although our behavior plan doesn't involve paddling, it is similar to John C. Calhoun's plan in that it promotes student ownership of behavior and has led to increased attendance and achievement.  

After I talk through these examples, I'll give the students some time to come up with their own and put them up on the chart.  When we're finished, I'll read through some of the post-its and let the students comment on them.  This is a great time for students to practice listening to their classmates.