The Ultimate Betrayal: Reading Diary Entries to Make Inferences

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SWBAT cite strong and thorough evidence of the beliefs and values of a writer by closely reading a Civil War diary

Big Idea

Students commit the ultimate betrayal by reading someone's diary and making inferences about beliefs and values.

Do Now

5 minutes

For the "Do Now" today, I will ask my students to create a T Chart on their desks using a dry erase marker. On the left side of the T Chart, I will ask students to write down characteristics of life in the 1860's in the North on one side and the South on the other side (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.10). I'll give them several topics to brainstorm such as (life for women, weather, family life, religion, etc). I'll be using the Emilie Davis Flipchart  to guide our work today. In order to view/use flipcharts, you can download free ActivInspire software at Promethean Planet.

I will ask students get up and do a quick gallery walk of their classmates' charts for 1 minute. Then, I will have them quickly go back to their seats to add to their charts.

I am doing this to access prior knowledge to see what my students already know about this time period in American history, and it will prepare my students for our next few lessons in which we will be drawing inferences about the beliefs and values of two people from different regions during the Civil War. This topic also fits in with our unit Making My Point because we will observe how Emilie Davies "made her point" in American history through their diary entries.

Building Knowledge: Verifying Background Knowledge

10 minutes

During this part of the lesson, I will show my students a video clip that depicts women in the North and South during the Civil War.

After the video, I will ask my students to refer back to the charts they created in the "Do Now," and I will engage them in a group discussion of how the images/information from the video contradicts or supports what they already thought about the historical period (in their charts) (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1.d). This activity is a way to bridge new knowledge with known knowledge and to clear up an misconceptions about women during this period.

I chose this video because it includes details about women that students may or may not have heard before. It presents women as a powerful presence on the battlefield and in daily life and I want them to explore these ideas more over the next couple of days.

Building Knowledge: Modeling

6 minutes

For this part of the lesson, I will tell my students that in honor of Women's History Month---yes, there's a month for that--we will be reading and analyzing some diary entries from Emilie Davis, an African American woman living in Philadelphia, PA during the Civil War.

I chose this diary because it reflects the life of a free woman in the North and her reactions to such historical moments as the Emancipation Proclamation as well as her daily life as a free woman. I also chose it because it fits in with our current unit, Making My Point. Although Emilie Davis was a free woman, it will be interesting to understand her perspective of the events happening around her and in the South. Her perspective of this period is relevant in order to get a well-rounded image of the diverse beliefs and values during that time. I will model the first two or three days of the diary, annotating as I read, to show how I read closely in order to make inferences about the beliefs and values of Emilie Davis (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1). This will help us answer our essential question: How are we compelled to act on our values and beliefs?

Application: Reading Diary Entries

25 minutes

For 20 minutes, I will ask my students to read and annotate portions of the diary in order to make inferences about Emilie's values and beliefs.

After the 20 minutes of close reading time, I will group students into discussion groups to share their annotations. The purpose of sharing these annotations is to share and hear other students' thought processes as they make inferences about informational texts (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1.a). Another reason that I am having them do this is because I want them to vote on someone in the group who will come go up to the document camera and do a "think aloud"of their annotations for the whole group.

Sharing Out

10 minutes

For this part of the lesson, I will have one student from each group share their annotations with the whole group. I am having my students do this because I want them to hear the way their peers analyze texts and draw inferences in an intelligent way. This is an opportunity for several students to win today by showcasing their speaking and listening skills (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4). 

Writing It Out

15 minutes

For this part of the lesson, I will ask my students to respond to the following prompt:

"Explain how the diary entries of Emilie Davis reflect her values and beliefs, citing evidence from the text in your response." (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1) and (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.10).

One of the things I am looking for in this response is a discussion of values AND beliefs. I will remind students that they need to break down the question so that they respond to all parts of it.  I will also pass out the PARCC rubric so that my students can refer to it before, during, and after writing because we have been working on elevating our responses to the 3 or 4 score point.



5 minutes

On a post-it note, I will have my students write down one misconception about the topics we have discussed today that they have clarified in today's lesson. I am asking them about a misconception because I want to see if they learned something new today that may have contradicted what they learned before. After all, I certainly did.

On my cue, I will ask my students to ball up the misconception and throw it on the floor. I'll tell them to keep picking them up and throwing them around the room until I turn the lights off. When the lights come back on, everyone must have retrieved one of the post-its from the floor. I'll have students silently read the misconception. On cue, I'll have them turn to the person next to them and shout it out (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1.c).

I am having them do this because it is an interesting way close out the the period to reflect on new knowledge gained today. Reflecting on new learning and comparing it to what we already know, will help us to be critical of what we hear and read in the future.