Responses to Industrialism: Close Reading of The Communist Manifesto (Day 1 of 3)

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SWBAT analyze the organization of and evidence in Marx's argument by collaboratively reading and discussing The Communist Manifesto.

Big Idea

Marx lays out his argument in a very logical way. Today's task is to figure out how and why he does this.


10 minutes

We will start class with ten minutes of reading time. I will read with my students during this time.

Setting Reading Goals

15 minutes

Today we are going to dive into a close reading and analysis of the "Bourgeoisie and Proletariat" section of The Communist Manifesto. I will have the students read from a set of textbooks to save copy costs, but the entire text is available online in PDF format. This will be a continuation of our informational text analysis and a wrap up of the study of Industrialization that my students have been working on in history as well.

I have been struggling with where to teach this text as it really fits in a couple of good places in my curriculum. It fits nicely here as it is a contemporary piece of writing for the time period my history partner has been teaching, but it also fits as an introductory piece to my literary analysis of Dystopian literature unit, which is coming up next. Ultimately, I am putting it here so that I can continue our thematic discussion of the costs and benefits of change. It also provides a few more days of practice on our informational text analysis skills.

To set this up, I will actually present the standards we are focusing on and provide students with a note-taking guide. My ultimate goal, beyond discussion of our theme, is to ask students to analyze Marx's argument and to identify the logical construction of his ideas. As you will see on the  note-taking guide, that means that I will be focusing on the following standards/ideas:

We will review the goals and go over each of the required note-taking elements briefly. I will then read the introduction of the text with them to model my approach to reading a difficult text like this, which will include some reminders on how to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words using context clues (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.4a) and drawing on an understanding of historical information to help their understanding of the text.

Small Group Reading and Analysis

25 minutes

After I've modeled my reading strategy and made sure that everyone understands what their goals/tasks are, I will let students choose their own groups to read with. I will encourage them to work with at least one other person and will limit their group size to four or fewer. Other than that, I will let them negotiate as a group what their reading strategy will be (SL.9-10.1b). I have some students who are very fast readers and I anticipate that they will read independently and silently then discuss while other groups will likely read the section out loud and discuss as they go. Both strategies work and at this point in the year, I would rather have them identify what will work best for them than tell them what works best for me (RI.9-10.10)

I am letting them choose their groups today because I want my motivated students to have the opportunity to work with other motivated students, which happens some times, but not always, when I choose their groups for them. This will also let me focus my energy towards the less motivated/more confused groups of students, which tend to gravitate towards each other.

Wrap Up and Next Steps

5 minutes

I will make sure to leave time at the end of class to ask students if they have any questions and to check to see how far they got in the reading/note-taking process. I'm hoping that they will be able to finish the section I've assigned, but will need to know how far the majority of students got so that I can figure out what to do tomorrow.