Informational Format: Creating MLA-Style Information Note Cards

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SWBAT demonstrate understanding of how to gather relevant information to support an argumentative topic by taking notes on information cards.

Big Idea

Info cards and finding specific information are today's milestones as students continue their trek through the research process.

Introduction and Welcome: It's Sherman Alexie's Birthday!

8 minutes

An introductory note: We are back in the classroom after nearly a week researching in the library and computer lab. Today continues this unit, but also draw on the writers of The Enlightenment in order to model the rhetorical skills students are using in their research paper. (See unit: "Literacy: Rhetorical Devices and Revolutionary Thinking" for more.)

As students enter the classroom, I welcome them back from Homecoming Weekend and hand them a copy of the Monday Mindbender answer sheet for October. 

After the bell, I identify Sherman Alexie (since today is his birthday, he is our intro topic of the day), his works ("The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven", "Smoke Signals", "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian"), tie these back to Native American creation myths we read, and encourage students to see any author they recognize speak live if they have a chance (I saw Alexie speak at a local college a few years ago). 

Today's Monday Mindbender tests one of those skills students often forget, reading an analog clock. (The Mindbender is property of Mensa, and as such is not reproduced here; other brain teasers can be found at "A Daily Brain Teaser".)

After students take a few minutes to puzzle out the Mindbender, I ask how Homecoming weekend was. I've set aside a few minutes today to let students share their Parade/ Volleyball/Football/Dance experiences. 

Finally, I wrap up the introduction by going through this week's schedule: two days in the classroom and two days in the library, then students will have four days (including a weekend) to wrap up these on their own.

As always, Monday Mindbenders and Daily Holidays exist to build a sense of community and uniqueness in the classroom--the "things" that my class does, and others don't. These give the students a sense of ownership. 

Finding and Using Information Creating Info Cards

40 minutes

My primary objective today is to allow students time to explore making sample info cards. Students will start gathering relevant information this week, and will need to consider what "slices" of that information to integrate into supporting their point (W.9-10.8). 

Students read "Step III: Take Notes (Information Cards)" on their own. As they read, I project the examples on the bottom of this handout. After three to five minutes, I highlight the structural information at the bottom, drawing students attention to how the samples follow the format. By proving the visual example as I reinforce what they read, students should be able to connect the format with the content, or form with function.

Today, students will practicing drawing strong, thorough, and relevant information (RI.9-10.1) from teacher-assigned sources. I chose the topic, "Public school teachers should be paid more" as my sample argument, as students are highly unlikely to have a solid opinion regarding teacher pay, so this topic always works well for a sample project. Additionally, it provides them with a glimpse into life on the "other side of the desk."  

One third of the class is provided with a selection from the book "Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America's Teachers" (these students will summarize), one third with the article "How Much Are Public School Teachers Paid?" from "Civic Report" (these students will paraphrase), and one third with an article on teachers' salary from the Facts on File database (these students will locate direct quotations). (These are all provided under academic fair use guidelines). 

Students read their article, looking for one strong piece of information supporting or refuting the claim, "Public school teachers should be paid more." Students take their notes on the provided information cards worksheet, so they have a model to refer to during their own research.

As students scan the article, I will be circulating the room making sure they're understanding the reading, following the correct format, and staying on task. When students complete their reading, I ask them to find class mates with the other two articles. Tomorrow, students will share the information they drew today, in order for students to see the different ways to "slice" that information to maintain flow of idea, presenting the information clearly, concisely, and logically (SL.9-10.4).


Two-Minute Warning: Homework and Schedule

2 minutes

With two minutes remaining, I pass out tonight's homework, a notes guide for Thomas Paine's "The Crisis," and remind students to look over the persuasive rhetorical devices we have been studying (repetition, restatement, antithesisparallel structurerhetorical question, and the three appeals of argument).

I remind students that we are continuing to draw from the writers of The Revolutionary War/Enlightenment period in order to provide models for the persuasive rhetorical devices they should include in their research paper.

We will discuss this (and there might be a pop quiz) tomorrow. I also remind them we will still be in the classroom tomorrow, and the library later this week.