As soon as the bell rings, I tell my students, "YOU are a reporter today. If you are going to write an article for the Cactus Chronicle (the school newspaper). What questions do you need to answer in order to write an article. Write down the question words only."
Next I tell them to watch this broadcast and take reporters notes.
After the broadcast, I go around the room and ask what question word did you use and what is the answer. I write the question words on the board until I have all the reporters questions.
Who, where, when, what happened, why did it happen? How does it impact the community/state/country/world?
Today the class will begin its first research activity. The students will choose topics and groups for a mini-research project that is based on an historical event from their lifetime. Watching this video and identifying the relevant facts is the first step in the research process. Once they have the foundational information about an event, students can make inferences on how that event impacted American culture and identity and use evidence to support their position (CCSS RI 9-10 1). Specifically, we can discuss the role of desegregation in our school district. Students can make inferences about how Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka, KS influenced the diversity in Tucson schools.
Now I pass out the Independent Learning Project for this unit (ILP maus 2013). I anticipate that my students will be excited to begin their next independent learning project since they all did a wonderful job on the first presentation.
The project is called Impact of History on Cultural Identity. It connects to the essential question: How does history shape our individual and cultural identities? The document includes and explanation of the project, pre-writing activities, practice note taking, how to divide up work, and individual and group rubrics.
To begin thinking about the impact of history on their own identity, the first thing I ask my students to do is brainstorm a list of historical or socially relevant events in their lifetime. I want them to conduct research on an event that hopefully they can remember. Their own memories serve as credibility checkers. It is their first opportunity to go to the library and use the databases, internet, and other resources to ask, conduct research on, and then answer a student generated question: What is (insert topic)'s impact on history and the future? (W.9-10.7)
Once they have finished brainstorming, I put a master list on the board so that we can share our thoughts with each other.
Now that the class has a list of events in their lifetime, I tell them we are going to practice taking reporters notes on important historical events. I chose the Kennedy assassination because most people who were alive when it happened can recall the event and tell their story of the event. I suggest they ask a few of their teachers who I know remember the assassination from their childhood. I also explain that their grandparents were alive when JFK was assassinated. They can probably tell them exactly where they were when the learned that Kennedy died.
To clarify the point that events from our childhood impact the way we see the world I share my memory from 10th grade when we watched Christa McAuliffe blast off in the space shuttle Challenger. I tell my students that Christa McAuliffe was the first teacher in space. Instead of celebrating the launch, we witnessed the shuttle explode. This accident changed how my generation viewed space exploration.
It is time for their activity, I ask them to write down the reporter's questions on the back of one of the papers. Now they are going to watch an event and take notes.
After watching, I let them discuss it as a group so they can fill in any answers they may have missed (CCSS SL 9-10. 1). The main question I ask them to report out is: How did JFK's death affect the United States? I want them to make inferences on how the assassination of the president changed the county.
We use the master list on the board to divide into groups Topics for ILP. I ask each student to rank their top three choices. I call out a topic and if a student chose that topic as #1, the student raises his/her hand. I write the names of the students next to the topic. The first full group is Star Wars.
After I have every student's name on the board once, I erase the topics that only have one name. I repeat the process of calling out topics and students raising their hand if they are interested in the topic until I have seven groups of five. I have 35 students in order to make 7 groups of 5, some of the students settle without complaint with their second or third topic choice. Now we have new groups. These are the groups they will work with for the rest of the unit.
Each of these groups will work together to research their topic for their history presentation and they will serve as discussion groups while the class reads Maus.
The students are in the library during the next class to begin their research and review how to use an online database for research.