Very Superstitious

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SWBAT engage in a probing discussion by researching superstitions and expressing their own ideas.

Big Idea

Should we believe in superstitions?


5 minutes

To start this lesson, I want student to consider their own beliefs about superstition.  

I begin the lesson by asking if anyone can tell me what an superstition is or if they can give an example of superstition.  After we've shared some ideas, I show and read aloud the first slide.

Then, to have a record of their thinking, I have them do the quick write.  

After they have completed the quick write, we move into a reading activity to prepare us for our discussion of superstition.

Getting Down to Business

35 minutes

For this lesson, students need to be in small groups because there are four articles for students to read and discuss.  My goal is for each member of a group to read a different article, so he or she can bring different ideas to the discussion.

Hand out the articles.


As I'm handing out the articles, I do so strategically.  Some of the articles are shorter than others, and those I will give to my lower and/or slower readers.  I try to give a jock the article about sports superstitions, and I give the natural leader of the group the article about the study connecting superstitious beliefs and luck.

As they are reading, I will display the three questions on the screen.  That way, as they finish at different times, they can begin considering their article.

When it seems like the bulk of the class is ready to go on, I put up the screen with the discussion roles.  I have found that the easiest way to get students to take a discussion role is to assign it.  Having different articles at the tables makes it easy to do.  I simply say, "If you're reading about Athletic Superstitions, you are the Facilitator," and so on.

Once everyone understand their role, I move to the screen with the discussion question.  I will let them know that a good place to start this discussion is with everyone sharing what their article was about.  At that point, the facilitator can get a conversation started about whether or not people should believe in superstitions or not.  I then set a timer for 5 minutes and let the students talk amongst themselves.

As the students are having their discussions, I will circulate and make note of good comments.  Sometime those comments can be about content specifically or about good conversation etiquette. I will share these with the class after each group has shared out.

Did They Get It?

10 minutes

Once the timer sounds and I feel that all of the students have had a chance to share what they think with their group, I will call the room to order to give a final group instruction.  I give the group one final minute to make sure the report can tell the class what they talked about and a particularly interesting point that was discussed.

After all of the groups have shared out, I will share out my findings about how the conversations went and the good things I heard.  Kids love knowing that you were listening to them, and I try to quote them exactly when I'm sharing my observations.  For example, today I said, "I noticed that Haley said, 'It says right here.'  That let me know she was going back to her text to give examples." 

To bring this session about superstition back to Tom Sawyer, I will have my students go back to the text to find three examples of superstitious beliefs held by Tom and Huck that we read about in chapter 6.

To wrap it up, I will remind my students that they need to put these notes away in their binders, as they can use them on the assessment over chapters 1-8.