To really get the students thinking about history and what they know about history, I will pass out the Anticipation Guide. This will also allow the students to pull the knowledge they already have about author's perspective to the forefront of their minds.
The more prior knowledge that I can activate, the more likely I am going to be able to make the learning meaningful.
I will ask the students to work independently to answer the questions on the anticipation guide. Some of the questions are there to elicit a response out of the students. The question that states "Christopher Columbus was a cruel and horrible person" will surely go against what they have learned in history. I am hoping this causes some students to react vocally. The purpose of today's lesson is to help students to realize how author's perspective can shape our beliefs and no one likes to learn their beliefs may be based on false information.
To begin today's lesson, I need to prepare my learners for some of the definitions they may come across. I will display the power point and have the students take guided notes. I provide guided notes for 6th graders because they are not too familiar with the note taking process and this allows them to develop that skill and still attend to the lesson.
As they are taking the notes, I will be discussing the definitions of author's perspective, bias, and tone. I always like to provide examples for the words as they are writing them down. I will use the example of a writer who works for Apple and writes a review of the Iphone verses a writer who works for Android and is writing a review of the Iphone. This example connects to the students therefore it will be easy for them to understand the perspectives.
I will use this example and create a t-chart on the board. On one side, I'll list Apple Writer and on the other I'll list the Android writer. I'll have the students work in their groups to develop what each writer will say about the Iphone. I'll have the students work with their shoulder partner. This will allow them to develop some of their own ideas, which is a step that supports the instructional shift within the Common Core. They will complete their own T-Chart at the bottom of their guided notes.
I'll set the timer for 10 minutes so the students stay focused and on-task. While they are working, I can walk around to provide guidance or prompts. I will ask each group to think of what specific words each writer may use to describe the Iphone. This will help the students understand the importance of language in author's perspective.
After about 10 minutes is up, I will call the class back. I will then, complete my t-chart with their thoughts. I will have each pair report out so it allows every voice to be heard.
I will use this to demonstrate how author's perspective is developed.
Now that they have experienced author's perspective, I am going to have the students really see how it has shaped our beliefs.
For this guided practice, I will hold more of a discussion style classroom. I need the students to feel safe in sharing and the more opinions we are able to share, the easier it is to drive this point home.
I will begin by asking the students what they know about Christopher Columbus. I'll generate a list of their responses. I'll underline any adjectives they use to describe him. Again, this is to drive home the power in the language used in writing.
Next, I will push students to understand how to read to analyze for author's perspective, purpose, and point of view. I will have the students use the author's loaded language as well as the inclusion or avoidance of facts to identify the bias and perspective of that author.
I will begin by talking to students about how when we read nonfiction, we often read thinking that what we are reading is true. However, non fiction isn't always the truth, it is the author's perspective on the truth. I will make the connection to social studies and the students' recent study on primary and secondary sources. This will help them understand the differences we are going to be looking for today as we analyze text.
I will bring the students back to the list we generated about Christopher Columbus. I'll discuss why we believe what we do about him. How did we learn he was heroic? How did we learn he was skilled? I'll use this to make the point that we learned from non-fiction texts.
Next, I'll tell students as readers, we need to be reading with a suspicious eye. We need to keep an eye out for loaded language as well as facts the author includes or leaves out. This writing is what is used to shape our beliefs.
I'll display the text on Christopher Columbus. This first piece of text praises him as a person and navigator. It discusses his accomplishments. I'll work with the students to underline some of the loaded language used in the text. I'll keep the format of the class more discussion at this point. I want the students to interact with the text and the discussion. As a class, we will discuss what the author's perspective is on him.
Now that I have modeled the skill, I will have the students attempt to analyze a piece in a group. I want to use groups today to keep the discussion format of the classroom flowing. Discussion is important when looking for perspective because of the bias's we bring to the table. Working with others allows us to see our own bias's and be more attuned to what is the true perspective of the author.
I will provide each student with his or her own copy of the text they will be analyzing. The Independent Work is an excerpt from Howard Zinn's The People's History of the United States. Howard Zinn is known for his viewpoints on American History. He has taken all the facts we have learned and presented an entirely different viewpoint. It is a very complex piece, but the students will be able to analyze it, because they are analyzing for loaded language as well as author's bias.
I will have the students work to underline the piece for perspective. I will encourage the students to discuss their notes and markings with their group. This piece is extremely intimidating to read and understand. I will point this out to the students. I don't want them to be able to give me a full summary and analysis of the text, I just want them to look for loaded language, strong emotion words, etc.
I will have the students read it once on their own, just to read it. Then, I will have them go through once trying to identify any words they think are examples of "loaded" language. Then, I will ask them to share with their Shoulder Partners
As the students are working, I will walk around to monitor their work and discussion. I will work with any groups or students who need assistance. I will sit down and discuss the piece with each group for about 3 minutes. This will allow me to help model that thinking suspiciously about the text.
Finally, I will ask the students to decide on what this author's perspective of Christopher Columbus is compared to the first text we looked at. I will ask them to explain how they know the author's perspective.
I will have the students complete the Closure Slip for the day. It asks them to describe how an author's writing can influence a reader. This will hopefully review with the students the use of "loaded language" but also get them thinking about how much power writing holds.
This will help the students process the information learned and share any concerns or celebrations they had with the lesson.
I can use this as an assessment to determine reteaching or future lesson development.