Shiloh Vs. Judd

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SWBAT defend claims using text evidence.

Big Idea

Can students apply persuasive techniques in a friendly debate ?

Motivational Hook

10 minutes

Students have read the book Shiloh and viewed the movie  about a dog, Shiloh, who  ran away from home and befriended a boy named Marty.  Marty is conflicted about keeping Shiloh or returning him to his owner, Judd, whom he suspects has been abusive towards Shiloh.  The story of Shiloh serves as a motivational hook and launching activity for making a claim and providing supporting evidence to coerce others to believe your claim.

I begin with a discussion about persuasive technique. I ask students what Marty should do.  As students state their claim, I encourage them to convince me to agree with them. I ask students how they convince their parents to do things they want.  What strategies do students use to get what they want ?  Relating real world experiences into this lesson increases understanding.  We had previously completed a  Persuasive Technique unit.  We review ways to incorporate the techniques discussed in that lesson to persuade others to believe our claim whether to keep or return Shiloh.

    We reviewed our previous lesson on Persuasive Techniques.  Students review the Persuasive Flip Chart as I explained the different ways to persuade:  Pathos, Ethos, Logos, Kairos, Big Names, and Research.  Once students understand the different techniques used to persuade our audience, they must select a claim.  Who should keep the dog?  Marty? Judd? Why ? We brainstorm ideas together and discuss them.  Students try out their claim: "I think Marty should keep Shiloh because Judd was abusing the dog" would be a claim for Marty to not return the dog.  This is an appeal on emotions (Pathos) since abuse is brought up.  Students can go further by stating research-based evidence:"90% of dogs that are returned to abusive owners are killed." This last example uses the persuasive technique called logos since it uses quantitative data.

I introduce our Goal & Scale to measure our progress for this lesson (see source).

Background Information

20 minutes

I as students to continue discussions regarding the  information about Persuasion techniques.  We discuss the flip chart explaining the various types of persuasion, a review from previous lessons on persuasive technique.  I further remind students of the techniques by showing oral presentations of students explaining, elaborating, and showing examples of each persuasive technique that I videotaped during previous lessons.  I also review the FINDS research process  by showing their videotaped oral presentations explaining each step of the research and  how they applied this process during their research.  I use student videos from past lessons to re-teach specific elements of past lessons that we will need to build on for this lesson. 

For this lesson, I ask students how we can synthesize our knowledge about persuasion and research in order to make a claim about why Marty should keep Shiloh. Since this concept is abstract, I give concrete examples by modeling what I expect students to do.  Students brainstorm ideas and we wrote them on chart paper. Ideas range from: "Marty should keep the dog because he is not fed well at Judd's.  His bones are showing and Shiloh is too skinny." to "Judd should get Shiloh back because it Shiloh is his property since Judd bought him." Writing these ideas on chart paper give students more concrete examples through modeling.

I share information that I researched about owner's rights.  I project articles, movie clips, and data on the Promethean Board about the reasons for returning pets to their owners and we discuss these findings together. For example, we learned from an Animal Rights Facts: Animals are Property Video that pets are considered property.  Therefore, to keep Shiloh is equivalent to stealing someone's property. I write/type what students select to use from these articles to defend their claim on a  Persuasion Map.  We fill out this map together using the articles, movie clips, and data I shared.

Afterwards, I model writing a claim with supports.  I start by modeling how to write persuasively stating the claim to return the dog to its owner and supporting this claim with findings from the articles we read.  I decided to model the owner's view point since the story of Shiloh does not motivate students to take this claim and they will later be arguing the flip side.  Clearly, in this novel, Marty is the protagonist.  Since Judd is the antagonist, students will not sympathize with him.  I ask students to think of this claim as it applies to any owner, not just Judd.  I make this claim universal to any owner generates student buy-in.

Once I model this claim,  I ask students to work in teams to write persuasively to support the claim of  keeping the dog from its owner.

Supporting a Claim

20 minutes

    Once students demonstrate their understanding of persuasive techniques and how to apply them to support their claim, I transfer ownership to students.  Students work in cooperative groups to research background information and take notes on pertinent information that back their claim:  Marty should keep Shiloh as should anyone who finds a lost or stray animal. We review the Cooperative Groups flip chart  so students know the expectations for working in collaboratively. Using these agreed upon rules, students participate in respectful conversations that clarify, explain, and build on the knowledge of others.

     I assign each collaborative group to research, write, and create a visual presentation of their findings.  Students are given materials for creating this project:  crayons, markers, poster or construction paper, pencil. They are also given tools for researching:  printed articles about lost animals and owners' rights, etc, laptops for searching websites, and a jump drive with relevant videos and articles that I downloaded from websites.  Students are to create a poster that depicts their claim using their selected persuasive technique. 

     Then, each group will select a reporter to orally present their final product.  The poster and oral presentation describing their technique and examples of its application will serve as formative assessment.  Student collaboration proved to be a productive process as evident by students' ability to support their claim both written and oral.