Today's class period will start with a reading quiz over "An Episode of War" in Socrative. Socrative is wonderful because it gives teachers feedback in real time and reports scores easily. Check out the resource section below for examples. This quiz was not initially planned in my weekly lesson plans, but due to the fear of an impending lack of student preparedness for class discussion, we will start with this quiz. See my reflection in this section for more information on this choice.
As soon as individual students complete their reading quiz online, they will begin taking notes and reading the supplemental material in the "Building Knowledge" section of this lesson. I maintain a website for my students, so I typically post given notes and links to supplemental materials to this page so students can utilize their class time effectively and move on to the next project when their first project is finished. When all students are finished taking the quiz (which I will monitor using the Socrative interface), we will discuss the story.
The questions I will ask will be as follows:
When students complete their reading quizzes, they will add the notes attached in the resources section to their own notes and begin reading the Library of Congress's information on African American Spirituals.
Once we have finished discussing last night's reading assignment, we will switch gears to take a look at other examples of nonfiction and informational text of the time. Students are familiar with both the terms "narrative" and "nonfiction," but we will review the notes about "narrative nonfiction" to clarify the types of material found in this genre and connect our previous readings to each type of text. I see it as vitally important to treat texts in my classroom as interrelated works, so actively recalling and asking students to make connections between texts throughout history and genres is a major part of my instruction. While old learning standards didn't focus as much as drawing connections between texts, the Common Core has created a major shift in expectations, and students must be able to call up their own knowledge about different texts to demonstrate mastery. To that end, we will review the narrative nonfiction notes, then I will ask students to give me an example of each type of narrative nonfiction from the texts we have read this year. They will add these examples to their notes and label them as public (PU) or private (PR).
After gathering our list, I will ask students which type of narrative nonfiction they believe is more historically accurate and why. Students can make a case for either side using examples from texts that we've read or making inferences based on their own writing experiences for public or private audiences. I will also ask students to remind me of the definition of historical fiction and explain the difference. We have discussed this concept before, so the question will be more of a review and clear delineation of this type of text (which can so often be construed as nonfiction to readers who are not aware of the difference!).
Next, we will review the notes on Spirituals (contained in the resources section), followed by the Library of Congress article. I will use this series of questions to connect the information on spirituals with prior knowledge about music, literary terms, and history:
As a final nonfiction exploration of today, we will view a mini-biography of Sojourner Truth to gather background information about her life. Many students have heard the name but have little understanding of who she really was or why she was so inspirational. I love to use these mini-biographies to help students get an overview of this information before reading text that really needs historical background to be entirely understood. Additionally, watching short informational clips and then relating that knowledge to our upcoming textual study is important for getting students comfortable with gathering information from multiple sources in varied formats on a single subject, as required by the Common Core.
After watching the video, I will ask students what they learned that they didn't already know about Truth and also what surprised them about her. Students will typically say that they knew she was a former slave who worked to get others out of slavery, but few will know about the other areas of her life. In past years, the fact that she went to court about her son's involvement with slavery at such a tenuous time for African Americans (freed or otherwise) has been the most surprising fact of this short clip. Students will build on the knowledge developed in this clip by taking 2-3 minutes to individually read "An Account of an Experience with Discrimination" (on page 254), marking evidence from the letter and clip to form an indirect characterization about Truth.
In the final few minutes of class, I will emphasize the importance of coming to class with complete, prepared homework. The Sojourner Truth activity we just completed will serve as a model for their homework tonight, which is explained in the next section, but additionally, students that did not get their reading logs done for "An Episode of War" must have logs completed by next class period for any credit recovery at all. To emphasize the importance of the readings I assign for homework, students will also be warned here that they will have another reading quiz when they enter class next class period.
For homework, students will need to complete two tasks. First, students will need to watch the mini-biography on Frederick Douglass below.
After watching the short clip, students will need to read Chapter 11 of My Bondage and My Freedom. There will not be written homework about this section of text, but students will need to come prepared to discuss the material next class period and with a list of questions about items in the text that they struggled with and what they did to overcome those challenges.