The Power of Words - How do you use them?

4 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT make a plan for using the power of words and information in a positive way in their lives.

Big Idea

Actions speak louder than words, but do not underestimate the power of words.

Warm Up

15 minutes

To open class today, we will recap what we learned Monday about the power of information and how it was used in Nazi Germany to spread untruths and control the people.  

Then, I will ask students to respond in their journal to the following:

What connections can you see between the use of information in Nazi Germany to belittle some people and make others feel superior and middle school? Are there any similarities?What about people who disagree but out of fear do nothing like Karl's parents?

Lesson/Independent Work

35 minutes

Next, we will discuss how information is powerful everywhere and all the time not just Nazi Germany. Humans  -like you and Helmouth, Karl and Rudi from our Scope article "The Boys Who Fought the Nazis" (read on Monday) -have a choice about how they use information and words.  

We discussed Dumbledore's quote about words and used them in positive ways recently with the Blackout project, but I want students to see how on a daily basis -not just special occasions words have power in our lives.

We will discuss some of the connections they found in their journal entry. Hopefully, they realized there is a connection with bullying especially now with cyberbulllying. 

To give us a remedy, we will view the video below of Kid President and his "20 Things We Should Say More Often."

After the video, I will ask students to discuss Kid President's message and how Kid President and the three boys from our article are alike.  Students have worked with group discussion in several ways this year including literature circles during the whole first nine weeks and the "gist" of a message in previous lessons such as this one from the last unit. However, I want to help them move toward more "academic conversation".  There is a fabulous book call Academic Conversation by Jeff Zwiers and Marie Crawford to help with this.  The book is full of suggestions for taking your students to the next levels of conversation.  If you do not have access to the book a good article on the topic by the same authors can be found here.  

For today's lesson, I asked my students to take a handout from the caddy.  Before they begin their discussion, I will ask them to choose at least two sentence starters, to use when they discuss Kid President's message and how Kid President and the three boys from our article are alike.  

For furthering discussion after it has begun, I like the "teacher-like conversation skills - possible things to say" from page 77 of Academic Conversations. This includes things to say in response to other group members like - "Interesting, so what you are saying is…" "What are other points of view?" or Remember, our central question is…"  I will post these on the SMART board and ask students to refer to them once the conversation has started for ideas to help it continue in the best way.

After we've discussed and shared.  I will ask them to return to their journal and using Kid Presidents 20 ideas, make a detailed list of three ways they are going to use the power of words and information to help others between now and the end of the year.

Wrap Up

5 minutes

To wrap up class today, I will ask students to share their ideas and how we can extend them to our visitor tomorrow - Holocaust Survivor and author Mr. Fred Gross.