Practice One Identifying Claim and Evidence, Day Two of Two

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Students will be able to identify claim and evidence in a grade-level text by analyzing Patrick Henry's "Speech to the Virginia Convention" in small groups.

Big Idea

War? Peace? Students find claims in a Revolutionary era text.

Do Now: Rhetorical Verbs Categorization 3

10 minutes

This warm-up is a continuation of our study of rhetorical verbs which began in this lesson. For a full overview of the activity, check out the original version.

On this, our third attempt at categorizing rhetorical verbs, I now rely on cold call to hear responses. Students have been able to practice the skill twice now, helping their confidence grow. I call on a wide variety of students for responses, sometimes even calling on a student twice so that all students realize being called on once does not mean they can "check out" of the action.

Some students still struggle with the activity; they make a tentative guess and offer weak reasoning as to placement. I ask for another student to build off of the previous response to make the connections clearer (if the first student was on the right track), or I ask for another perspective (if the first student was way off track).

We wrap up the activity just a bit faster than before; we're starting to get the hang of it.

Identifying Claim and Evidence Practice

35 minutes

As with the warm-up today, our main activity is a continuation of a previous day. I start by taking students back in time, "It's Friday. You sit in this room with a group not of your choosing, staring at a chart asking for claim, details, and connections. The "Speech to the Virginia Convention" is open on your iPad, and you move your gaze from iPad to paper to iPad, lost in thought or scribbling notes. Your goal: identify Henry's claims and analyze the text for support." Students nod along, remembering our previous work with identifying multiple central ideas, analyzing how they connect, and providing ample textual support. I remind them that submission will be luck of the draw, two people per groups drawing "safe" cards and one drawing the "me!" submission card at the end of the hour. I give them twenty minutes to review their previous work and complete what remains. I also remind them of our group norms:

Students break into groups quickly, though a problem soon arises. Where to put the people who were absent when we first began? I place them with groups who will help them catch up and move back into circulation; are students on task? Are they working well together? I pause to remind some groups to focus on details first, to make sure the whole group is on task, or give hints to those most puzzled.

Most groups work well together, sharing ideas and talking through the best wording for their responses. One group seems to have fallen apart. Two members sit idle while the other two (it was one of two extra large groups) diligently work. I've already stopped once to remind them to work together, but the idle two seem more interested in chatter. I stop at their table and crouch low so our talk won't be overheard by others. "It's not fair for two to do the work for four," I say. "It's time to split the group into two." They nod soberly, and I nod back. I move on to continue my monitoring.

After twenty minutes have passed, I call the class back together. I set up an Excel spreadsheet and ask for possible claims. I take four, and then I ask for details to support. It quickly becomes apparent that there is no support for one of the claims--Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. "Why," I ask. A chorus of reasons sound, "detail" a resounding theme. Indeed, the faulty claim is a detail. We move it to the correct location to support the claim that the colonies are prepared to fight.

The hour draws quickly to a close, so I move from group to group for final submission. Before the bell rings, I ask for a show of thumbs: thumbs up for confident with the skill, thumbs down for not, thumbs in the middle for "I'm getting there." We're a mix of middle and up, a good sign for our learning and further practice.