Comparing Malcolm to Martin: Dr. King's Dream and The Black Revolution

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SWBAT compare the tone, allusions, and word choice in two informational texts by writing about them in shared writing groups.

Big Idea

What's the score? Students write comparisons of Dr. King and Malcolm and X and score their own writing.

Do Now: Reading "The Black Revolution"

15 minutes

Last class, we read Dr. King's " I Have a Dream" speech. Today, we are going to read an excerpt from a Malcolm X speech. I have chosen to read "The Black Revolution" with my students because I thought it would be interesting to compare the message and tone of two speeches on the same topic, written during the same time period. This lesson will illustrate the similarities and differences in perspectives of these two historical leaders during the Civil Rights Movement.

For the first 10 minutes of class, I will have my students read "The Black Revolution" speech by Malcolm X. I'll prepare my students for the reading of this provocative text by telling them that Malcolm X had a different stance on protest than Dr. King. During their reading, I'll ask my students to think about how Malcolm X's speech compares to Dr. King's speech. I am having my students do this because I want them to be able to analyze how both speakers use rhetorical devices and specific word choices to develop claims and arguments (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6).

After 10 minutes have passed, I will ask my students to turn and talk about what they thought about as they read the speech. I am asking my students to do this because of the inflammatory language in the speech. I want to hear what they think and whether they were offended or angered as they read it (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1.d). Here's a clip of my students discussing rhetorical devices in Malcolm X's speech.

Building Knowledge: Identifying Rhetorical Devices

10 minutes

After the first reading, I will ask my students to go back and find examples of ethos, pathos, and logos in Malcolm X's speech (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6).  They will be discussing how Malcolm X uses rhetoric to advance his point of view or purpose and citing evidence from the text (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1). I am having them do this to review rhetorical devices from a previous lesson. It is important that I do this because my students will begin an "on-demand" argument writing assignment in a couple of days, and they will expected to use rhetorical devices appropriately to support claims and arguments. I am using this lesson as additional practice because I don't want them to forget that these are persuasive techniques that writers use when writing convincing arguments. Check out these clips of my students discussing the rhetorical devices (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1.a) in "The Black Revolution": Malcolm X analysis 1 and Malcolm X analysis 2. Here's another clip of our general discussion of a metaphor presented in Dr. King's "I Have a Dream Speech" and "The Black Revolution" speech.

Application: Writing a Shared Paragraph

30 minutes

Now that my students have read both speeches, I will have them compare them. I will assign each group a letter, and they will work with a group of students to respond to a question by writing a constructed response.I am having my students write in groups today because the discussion that will need to happen in order to write the paragraph will be an opportunity to learn how to attack the question in a logical and cohesive way.

Each group will answer one of the following in a shared writing:

A. What can you infer about Malcolm X during this time in his life that might differ from Dr. King? Cite specific evidence to support your inferences.(CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1)

B. How is the tone of Malcolm's speech different from Dr. King's speech? What are the specific words that are used that may create a different tone? (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4)

C. How are Malcolm's allusions to the Bible similar or different from Dr. King's speech? Cite specific examples from both speeches in your response. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.9)

For this shared writing, they will all work together to craft a response that meets at least a level 3 or level 4 score on the PARCC rubric.

I chose  to use these questions because each of them provides an opportunity for higher level thinking and analysis of the informational texts on similar topics.

Before my students start writing, I will pass out copies of the rubric so that the rubric can guide their writing. We have reviewed the rubric in the past, but I think having it right in front of them is a necessary reminder of how to achieve proficiency on this assignment.

For this activity, my students will be orally citing evidence (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1.a) AND citing evidence (in writing) from two informational texts in order to support analysis of them (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2.b)--a double whammy!

Gallery Walk : Peer Scoring

10 minutes

After my students write their responses, I want them to walk around and score their peers' responses. I am doing this because it will tell me whether or not my students can recognize high level work. If they can recognize it, they can probably reproduce it. They will spend a couple of minutes walking around to score the responses of two other groups. I will ask my students to post the score point on a post it note with one strength and one weakness. This way, the groups can see how they could improve. Each scoring group will need to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the response and come to a consensus about what to put on their post-it note in order to help each group improve the quality of their response.

Check out this video of a sample of student work from this scoring activity.


10 minutes

For the closure today, I'll ask several members of the class to talk about what overall strengths they saw in their own and the two pieces of writing they evaluated. I'll ask them to do the same to identify weaknesses. This formative assessment will give me and the class a glimpse into our collective strengths and weaknesses. I am hoping that this opportunity to evaluate 3 pieces of writing (one of them their own) will be an "AHA" moment for some students that still struggle with constructed responses. I am also hoping that students right at the borderline between a 3 and a 4 will be able to see how their responses can move to a higher level on the rubric.