Panel Discussion of Characters in "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" (Day 1 of 2)

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SWBAT negotiate speaking roles and adapt to three fluid speaking genres by engaging in a panel discussion.

Big Idea

Student uptake--when they explain ideas directly to one another in a whole class forum--creates a transformative genre of class discussion!


Today, I am seeing the need to reinforce the high levels of participation and to see if there are ways to drive student inquiry deeper into the themes as we finish groups 2-4. 

Remind Groups of Norms and Speaking Roles

5 minutes

The purpose of this section is to remind students to engage everyone in the conversation and to drive the inquiry a bit deeper (RL 9-10.3).  I will remind students of the norms simply by highlighting several exit slips from the day before, which read...

1.) Great questions

2.) Get everyone in

3.) Very good communication

4.) Going deeper into each question

5.) Could be louder

6.) Could be a bit quicker

7.) More people should talk

I think that using the students' own words to explain the discussion norms (SL9-10.1) is really what should be done in order to make the communication of norms comprehensible.  Often we speak in adult terminology when describing ideal classroom dynamics, and something might be lost in the translation. 

Finish Panel Discussion for groups 2-4

30 minutes

These panels will follow the same pattern as yesterday, and the focus of these discussions is to allow for student uptake (student-to-student comment) and to allow all students to adopt to the three speech genres available:
1.) Facilitator (1)

2.) Panel guest (6 at any one time)

3.) Audience (asks questions for follow up).

The students have prepared character analysis sheets (resource attached), and also they have prepared questions related to the theme that they chose to focus on.  The agenda for each panel discussion is on the board:

1.) Introduce yourself in character.

2.) Explain which question you are answering and give your response.

3.) Other panel participants or audience members will then ask follow-up questions.

Each panel will last 10-12 minutes and will allow the panel participants a great opportunity to elaborate on their thoughts and to receive questions.  ALL students will end up cycling up to the front of the room to be on one of the panel discussions.  My class happens to have 24 students, so I have four panels of six each, but you could do 4 panels of 7 students each, or some other variation if you have a larger class.   The important thing is that each student knows the roles that they are expected to enact and the responsibilities that come with each role. 


I will assess the students both qualitatively and quantitatively.  Attached to the resource in the previous section is a student rubric and handout that I will read to see how their understandings of theme and character are developing.  I will also take notes in class of the qualitative responses in terms of speaking and listening that the students are making.  I also have an additional student (in this case, the student is from another class) take tally marks on how many comments each student makes--and while the focus for quality engagement is not solely on the number of comments a student makes, I still find this stat to be helpful. 

This activity is a summative grade, since it comes as the third student-centered discussion that we have done in this unit, after the hotseat and fishbowl; thus, I expect to see some mastery of the speaking roles that we have been utilizing.  I expect to see evidence, connections, and questions on the notes sheet.  I expect to hear students citing textual evidence while the panel is progressing.