What do you think?

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SWBAT practice establishing an opinion and claim.

Big Idea

Don't Be a Lemming...

Warm Up

15 minutes

Today I will introduce Model Monday.  This idea comes from two sources.  Kelly Gallager's SoW (Sentence of the Week) and Killgallon's Grammar for Middle School: A Sentence Composing Approach

In the second semester we always do more writing.  At this point, I've reviewed enough of my students writing to know where the "needy" areas are.  So, over the next few Monday's I will display model sentences or responses that include a skill or two I want my students to focus on.

I am not a fan of teaching grammar in isolation; however, I do understand (especially since students learn differently) that there is a need to practice a skill before being expected to use it.  So this is essentially my take on teaching grammar. My students are expected to display the skills in their writing during the week and going forward.

Today, we will start with the basics since I know many of my students need to revisit these ideas. So when students enter the room the following will be on my SMART board with the daily agenda. Note that further models will depend on the current need.

Model Monday

Copy the following sentences in your journal:

Jerry ate the pizza.
Mike and Lisa are happy.
Bob sneezed.

Below these write:
"What I notice about these sentences":

Discuss what you notice with your table mates.  

After their discussion time, I will ask students to share what they noticed and I'll steer them toward what I want them to notice. What I want students to notice is that these are simple sentences following the basic subject-predicate format.  We'll use these to talk about what makes a sentence complete.

Then I will ask students to, write their own three sentences imitating the pattern of each of the three above. After writing time, students will share these at their table and choose one per table to share with the class.

We will build from here practicing with in class and journal writing and add needed concepts with each Model Monday.


15 minutes

To begin today's lesson I will ask students if they are familiar with Lemmings.  (I'm never sure if they have covered this in Science.) Sometimes I have one or two who are.  The rest are not at all, so I show the video below. (note - comments below the video are not good.  I do not suggest pulling it up in front of class in a way that displays the comments.)

After the video, I will ask if students noticed that the lemmings follow on another even to their death. Due to their animal instincts they are not thinking for themselves.  Then, I'll ask if it would be a compliment or insult to be referred to as a lemming. Obviously, they will day it's an insult, yet I will point out how often they follow their friends instead of thinking for themselves.

To see this demonstrated, I'll ask them to take a handout from the caddy.  Today's handout is a print version of this article Which books Would You Ban? In addition to the site linked here, I have uploaded my print copy to the resources. We will read the first three paragraphs and stop so that I may show them the video below demonstrating the topic. 

After the video, we will read the rest of the article and discuss the use of the word lemmings and how the people in the video are like the lemmings we saw in the first video.

I'll ask students - "So what's the point? What do I want you to get from this?" Don't be a lemming...think for yourself. 

Independent Practice

20 minutes

To practice "thinking for themselves", students will participate in digital discussion.  (See my reflection about this choice)

To set this up, I have divided students into private groups on Edmodo.  Essentially, if you sit at a table together, you are in the same group online -for now. So, each student will login and access their group area.

Next, I will pose a question to the class.  They will have ten minutes to share their opinion, but must include reasons and challenge those who do not have their own reasons or seem to be acting like lemmings -following others. I explain that no verbal talking is allow unless they raise their hand with a question in which case I will come to them and whisper.

Question one - "Would you rather have the ability to rewind life or fast forward it? While students are "discussing, I will be monitoring the room and watching my computer screen to "listen".

After ten minutes, I will move on to the next question

The second question requires to video clips to be fair. I've linked the two I use below, but I only use the first 2 minutes at most.  


Question two - "Would you rather have a voice like Gilbert Godfried or Elmo?


Note - This idea is in part taken from Kelly Gallager's Write Like This.  Both questions stem a great conversation and require students to make a hard choice with reasons. See my video for examples of student response.

Wrap Up

5 minutes

To wrap up class today, we will share out some of the choices students made and reasons behind those choices.  I'll also share my response to each question and reasons.  I have these typed up like a response and will display them on the screen.