Today's Do Now is a lengthy one--explain how courage appears in our three revolutionary texts. Give textual evidence from Henry, Paine, and Jefferson.
I give students fifteen minutes to gather their evidence, circulating to ensure engagement and answer questions. Some students are looking only for the word courage; not quite the goal, I say--does the text suggest a courageous action? Did the writing of the text seem courageous? Appeased, they continue.
After writing time is up, I ask students to move into our full group discussion format, a large circle-square shape so we can all see each other.
I explain that I want to hear from everyone today (with five weeks under our belt, we are comfortable enough for me to make this request; plus, required participation typically equals better engagement) and that our best discussion will come from connections and disagreements. I send the world (our stress ball which indicates who is speaking) out to the students and take notes on who says what. Students begin to read their comments, no connections made. I realize a reminder is needed:
Eventually, we hear a variety of well-supported perspectives, including textual quotes and historical evidence recalled from other classes (yay!). Our final determination: our founding fathers had A LOT of courage to face the fear of death as traitors and rebel anyway. Students leave at the end of the day with better appreciation and better understanding of the texts.