I announce to students that we are about to engage in the reading of the second text of this unit. I give students a little background. Namely, this is a speech written by a student their age, Eve Shalen. I try to create the propper mind set by emphasizing that Eve Shalen is an effective writer who makes a strong argument in her speech and that it is their job to deconstruct her argument and to make connections to the concept of identity. A brief speech like this is helpful in setting expectations as well as to establish the tasks I will be referring to throughout the lesson. I distribute copies of the speech [The In Group.pdf]. I announce that they are to annotate this text and brace for groans. My students are still skeptical about the value of annotating so I need to redeliver the message that good readers keep track of what their mind is doing as they read. I also put pressure by communicating that I need to see a map of their thinking to be able to assess their reading, which has implications on their grade. I quickly remind students of the types of things they can annotate, pointing to our ANNOTATE chart on the wall. They have been introduced to this chart in past lessons so I can now expect them to make a wider variety of marks on their paper and say this much to them. I now ask student to start reading and annotating. As they do this, I walk around and look over their shoulder to get a sense of what they are noting. I am interested in seeing whether students are highlighting the most significant details and if they are identifying the central ideas in this speech. Once they have been working for a bit, it is a good idea to quickly announce that they need to make an effort to identify the central points and label them.
The actual language of this speech is not terribly challenging for my students so I can expect them to give it one read on their own. The most challenging aspect is the complexity of the author's argument, which is that the reasons her classmates had for making her an outcast were entirely fabricated by the group. It challenges my student's basic assumption that kids gets picked on because they stand out in some way. A student who grasps this idea is one that is aware of the fact that his/her basic assumptions are being challenged and moves on to consider the author's conclusion, that "outcasts were invented by the group out of a need for them." My student population usually comes to me with limited experiences engaging with and resolving challenging ideas so that they are likely to flat out ignore this part of the author's argument and continue believing that she was picked on because she is not "good at sports" and "read(s) too much." To support them with this, I have a couple of additional activities for the day's lesson. In addition to annotating during today's lesson, students will also explicitly identify the author's central ideas and discuss them with each other. This plan has the purpose of getting students to engage with the text repeatedly so as to increase the opportunities for them to grasp the author's complex point.
As they read independently, I look over their shoulders and peek at the comments they are making on their paper and the things they are annotating. This only gives me an idea of their effort to make a variety of marks. I see that students are asking questions, identifying important points and doing a lot of highlighting. This suggests they are becoming more familiar with the things listed in our "ANNOTATE chart." I expect this to help them understand the author's point.
I distribute this worksheet for "The 'In' Group" and ask students to now direct their attention to the worksheet. Between now and the end of the lesson, students will have the opportunity to work on the first part only, writing the author's central ideas and supporting details. I briefly point out that they have already done a big part of the work called for in this sections as they annotated. Specifically, the author's central ideas and supporting details are likely marked already. However, I tell them that whereas they can copy the author's exact words to identify supporting details, they must be able to write the central ideas in their own words. This requires more skill and effort and that is the point of this task. It is an important for students to discuss a text in their own words and the Common Core supports this. I tell students that the fact that they already marked these on the actual text should make it easier for them to complete this form and that, although it seems repetitive, it is important to be able to explicitly explain an author's central ideas. I give students about 8 minutes to work on their own. I then ask them to work with their partner. At this point, I specifically ask them to share what they have written on their paper and work together to make sure they have identified the central ideas and supporting details accurately. To do this, students must evaluate each other's work through discussion where they identify inaccuracies in each other's work, defend their work when necessary and collaborate to resolve inconsistencies.
I then spend about 5 minutes asking students to share what they discussed. This is a good time to gauge comprehension and respond to confusion. Also, students get an additional opportunity to discuss the text. Five minutes may seem like an awfully short time, but I am not concerned because the next lesson will give us an extended opportunity to discuss the text as a group.
I ask students to finish the rest of the worksheet at home. I make sure to direct their attention to the second part of this sheet, which asks them to analyze the author's tone. We recently had had a detailed lesson on tone so at this point I simply remind students that they did this task with the other text, "Stereotyping." Tomorrow's lesson will give us an opportunity to discuss the tone in this speech.