I was listening to a TV program about September 11 that talked about the people who have no direct memory of the events of that fateful Tuesday. That struck a chord with me and put me on a mission to impress upon the minds of my students the importance of Patriot Day and how it came to be. They will still have no direct memory of the events of September 11, but they will know the impact it had and the ways in which our lives forever.
In order to begin the conversation about 9-11, I want to build background for my students. No direct memory of 9-11 means no direct memory of the Twin Towers. They will never know what New York City looked like with those buildings rising into the heavens so I need to paint that picture. The book The Man Who Walked Between The Towers by Mordicai Gerstein will help me to do that.
We will spend a couple of days just absorbing the book and completing activities with it before we address the page that says, "Now the towers are gone."
I will begin this lesson by playing Would You Rather on the Smartboard or on chart paper if you don't have a Smartboard. This will activate students' background knowledge and interest in the book.
After the book is read, we discuss the QAR- On My Own. I remind students that On My Own questions do not require them to read the text. It is their OPINION. We discuss what the word opinion means and give some examples of opinions and examples to support the opinions. (The students are VERY good at giving their opinion :)
I show them the graphic organizer for opinions and we take a Would You Rather question and complete the graphic organizer together. I show the students how to use ideas from the text to support their opinion. I personally like the "Ask permission or Just do it" scenario.
We then use chart paper to compose an opinion together. After the modeling, students will be able to work in pairs to complete an opinion for one of the other Would You Rather scenarios.
After the pairs have had a chance to finish their opinions on chart paper, we hang them up in the room and gather back as a group. I work with my students to develop a simple rubric to use in assessing their classmates' work. I give the students dot stickers (think garage sale tags) and have them assess each other's work with a rubric. A blue dot means the pair followed the rubric and wrote a good opinion (just looking at the format and support) and a red dot means they left something out. At this point we are not looking at spelling or mechanics.
The students love assessing each other and it is good practice for self assessment (checking over work) when they work independently.
After the assessing, we look at the dots and discuss why certain opinions got blue dots and certain opinions got red dots. The students need to justify their reasoning using the rubric for support. (A sneaky way to get more opinions in).
Students are then given an exit ticket to complete before they leave.