For homework, students had to read chapters 14 to 19 and answer the guiding questions. Now in their reading groups, they will discuss the questions (SL 9-10 1). The goal is for them to come to consensus on the answer and make sure that their answer is supported with relevant evidence from the text (RL 9-10.1).
Eventually, students will share their responses in a whole group discussion. For the past few classes, we have focused on small group work. But now, I think that it is time for students to hear from their peers that are not at the same table--we need to broaden the perspectives. However, before we engage the entire class, they will start in their comfort zone by discussing the material in their small groups.
I walk around with a print out of my gradebook checking to make sure the homework was completed at home and they are not simply copying answers from someone in the group. This also provides me time to check in with individual students who may be struggling.
Now we move into our whole class discussion. I review the ground rules for whole group discussion. They know these rules so I just give them a quick reminder.
1. "I don't know" is not an answer. Go with "Let me figure it out" instead.
2. No "pass"--when called on, you must give an answer.
3. Credibility comes from your ability to support your position with text-dependent evidence (RL.9-10.1 and SL.9-10.1a).
4. Listen while someone is speaking. Raise your hand if you want to comment (SL.9-10.1c.
5. Remember there are 35 of you--give others a chance to speak.
6. It is not necessary to agree, it is necessary to respectfully disagree (SL.9-10.1d).
I start the discussion by reading question one and asking for an answer. I will let the discourse of the class continue until they either run out of things to say or get too far off topic. Then I will go back to the next question. Some of the questions deal with looking at familiar topics, like Christianity, from a different cultural perspective (RL 9-10.6). I try to make sure that this discussion, in particular, is based on the text and deals with outcasts or the impact on the Igbo gods. I don't want to let the discussion get overly focused on student's personal religious beliefs.
They have an opportunity to express their thoughts on our society when we get to question four which first asks, "Okonkwo and other members of his community often blame their chifor their misfortunes. Why do people blame problems and misfortunes on outside factors to avoid personal responsibility?" And then follows up with "What are some aspects of contemporary American society that people blame in order to avoid personal responsibility? Why?"
For homework, students have to define the work "conversion" (L.9-10.4). I tell them not use a dictionary. Just base your definition on what you know. During the next class, we will investigate the different types of conversion in TFA.