Culture! Individuality! Which comes first?

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SWBAT support a claim with sufficient evidence by answering the unit essential question using evidence from their classmates presentations.

Big Idea

Students grapple with culture and individuality: Does culture shape the individual or does the individual shape culture?

Let's Get Started: Final Day of Culture Wheel Presentations

20 minutes

Today is final day of the culture wheel presentations.  The last four students present their culture wheels. The student take notes on the how their peers choose their most important aspects of culture, like relationships

Today, after the completion of the presentations.  Students will use their notes to write their final response to the essential question for this unit: Does culture shape the individual or does the individual shape culture? 

Applying Knowledge: Synthesis--Answering the Essential Question

30 minutes

Done! Done! Done!

Now that the class has finished their Culture Wheel presentations, it is time to write.  Today I do not ask them what they learned about their classmates at the end of the presentation.  Instead, I put the essential question for the unit on the board:  Does the individual shape culture or does culture shape the individual?  I tell the students to use the notes they took during the culture wheel presentations to write a response to the EQ.  Furthermore, I remind them that their is no one right answer.  They need to make a clear decision on a claim that responds to the prompt, support it with evidence from the presentations, and organize the evidence in a logical pattern to prove the claim (W 9-10. 1).

Once the students begin writing, I keep my distance.  This essay is a summative assessment.  Throughout this unit we have worked on the skills necessary to break down a prompt, craft a claim, develop evidence, and organize it in a way to support the claim. What they have learned from their peers is their evidence. They are slowly moving away from focusing on their internal knowledge as evidence and incorporating external knowledge as evidence.  

This essential question can take students in two possible directions. They can claim that the individual shapes culture or the counterclaim that culture shapes the individual.  CC W 9-10 1a wants students to use a precise claim and distinguish it from a counter claim.  Regardless the the position the student take s/he will have to show how it differs from the opposite position in order to answer the question. Additionally, the students have notes from 34 presentations and their own experience that provide evidence.  The students have to determine the best way to categorize and organize the information to best support their claim.   


Closing: High Five

5 minutes

This is our last lesson of the unit.  I use this time to work on the climate and culture of the class. This kids are tired and they have worked really hard. Sometimes, I just have to take a moment and celebrate who they are and thank them for having the courage to share with the class. 

After I collect the papers, I tell the students to give each other high fives to celebrate the end of the unit. I congratulate them on their hard work and comment of a few things I learned about several of them.  I point out that one student is a member of a youth road cycling team, another won a homemade salsa context (he made some to share with the class), and another student can sing the soundtrack to every Disney cartoon movie.  I give each student I call out a virtual high five from across the room.  Next, I tell them to move around the room and let people know that they appreciate what they learned about them (SL.9-10.1).

They get up and walk around the room celebrating their accomplishments.  It is loud with taking, laughing, high fives, and fist bumps. When the bell rings, I give everyone a high five or fist bump on the way out the door.  

I really focus my class on building community through collaboration and the appreciation of the individual.  The students will see this essential question again.  It is the majority of their final for this class at the end of the school year.  They will have to use evidence from the entire year to evaluate the connection between culture and identity. This unit along with the narrative unit is just the beginning of our exploration of culture and identity.