School Lunch Issues

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SWBAT discuss and debate school lunch related issues

Big Idea

Students identify a school lunch issue they are interested in learning more about


15 minutes

"Hi students.  Today we will be exploring a range of issues related to school lunches. An issue is an important topic or problem that is open for debate or discussion.  Let's read these issues together." Show School Lunch Issues and read to students as a way of pre-exposing students to what is coming up in their small group discussions. 

"From your reactions, I can tell you all have a strong feelings about these issues.  When you have strong feelings or beliefs about an issue, it is called your opinion. For example it is a fact that students have a lunch period but it is considered an opinion to say that the lunch period is too short or that the lunch period is long enough for students to go through the line, sit down and have time to eat.

Today after our discussion you will generate issues about school lunch, pick an idea that you really care about that you have a strong opinion about as part of a writing project. But, before we do that, lets review what we know about a fact versus an opinion.

I included this mini-review to support the understanding of fact versus opinion because I know some of my students need clarity around the big ideas of writing a persuasive essay.  They will need support with the concept that their details are carefully chosen as evidence to support their claim or opinion about the topic they have chosen to write about.  I want them to be able to dig deep and angle their details, reasons or facts to support their claims.

Say to students, "A FACT can be proven to be true while an OPINION is what someone believes -it cannot be proven true or false.  Let's practice.

I am going to say a sentence (Examples of facts and opinion sentences) and if you think it is an opinion whisper "Opinion"  If it is a fact, I want you to whisper "Fact". 

Let the students practice identifying facts and opinions and then take a minute to have students turn and talk about why each of the sentences are fact or opinion.  Next, have a student explain why black is the best color for a dog is an opinion.  Have a different student explain why a rabbit is a mammal is a fact. 

Then say, "Ok... know you all know the difference between a fact and an opinion.  We are getting closer to working in small groups but first I want to review our class discussion norms so that your group work will benefit everyone.  It is so important that everyone gets the chance to talk and be heard when we discuss and debate important issues.  Don't you agree?  If you agree that it is important to speak and be heard and for everyone to have a chance to their their thinking, say, " It's Important!!"

Wait for student to say "It's important!"  I will do this to reinforce shared expectations about who talks during discussions..everyone!.  Who listens...everyone!

Let's read this Discussion Norms poster of our class and school wide discussion norms.  Read together, then have the classroom readers ( a weekly job that rotates) take turns reading the norms.  Are their any questions on the norms of how to participate in a discussion?

Today students we will break into small groups for our discussion.  

( In my classroom, I have push-in help for 30 mins and I am going to use the extra people to run small discussion groups and to help students pick a topic and determine their opinion about it.  The discussion could also be held whole group if you do not have other adults available.)

Show kids the chart of the discussion groups. Students move to discussion areas with their boxes and bullets planning sheet.

"Students here are some ideas I think you will be interested in."  Show School Lunch Issues.


Small Group Discussion

10 minutes

"Students, I want you to remember back to the video we watched on Friday titled wellness in the schools video  We learned that NYC public schools are bringing chefs in to the kitchens to train cooks, making more food from scratch, and helping kids enjoy recess.  Their three programs are called Cook for Kids, Green for Kids, and Coach for Kids. 

Then, we read an article titled Chicago School Bans Home Lunches.  Many of you were so mad that a school could actually make a policy that doesn't allow lunches from home!  But as you read the article and heard what the principal had to say you learned she had reasons for her decision.  

Today we are going to talk about lots of issues about school lunches and I want to hear your thoughts on this topic.  I made a list of possible topics to talk about as I said in the mini-lesson.  Turn and talk with a partner about what you are thinking." 

Give the students a few minutes to talk and listen in.  Then call on students to start the discussion. Encourage kids to talk about the opinions they have and collect them by putting a checkmark next to the issue or add additional issues to the list.

"Now students I want you to pick an issue that you have a strong opinion about that you want to write about your own experiences, research websites to learn more, and then write an essay about your opinion using your experiences and research to support your opinion.

Turn and talk about your opinion about your topic.  When everyone knows what they want  to write about I will demonstrate how to use your boxes and bullets form to capture your claim statements."

Independent work

20 minutes

"For independent work, I want you to go to your seat and fill out your claim statement using the boxes and bullets planning form.  Then use your own experiences to write about your first reason that supports your opinion.  Remember to think of supporting details and list them next to your bullets.  If you have time after you do this you can write your claim and your paragraph."