Pause for the Cause: Don Sterling discussion and order of location in The Odyssey

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SWBAT analyze an account told in different mediums by reading an article about Don Sterling and listening to an audio recording; SWBAT summarize a text by taking notes for an order of location paragraph.

Big Idea

Hitting the pause button for a moment to discuss a current topic in the news before continuing our reading of the Odyssey

Do Now: Current Events that Relate to Crossing Boundaries Theme

10 minutes

Ordinarily, I develop warm-up activities that relate to the current reading or writing activity, but today will be a special warm-up that relates to our essential question for this unit. Our unit is Crossing Boundaries, and our question is "How does learning about others help us learn more about ourselves?" Today, as students enter the room, I will ask them to read an article about Don Sterling, the embattled owner of the LA Clippers team, who has been accused of making racially inappropriate comments on a phone call with a female companion.

I am choosing to have my students read and discuss this article (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1.a) because I think it is a great opportunity to reflect on our essential question and to have a rich discussion about a provocative topic that is all over the news, drawing on information in this text and in other texts in order to evaluate the claims and arguments within (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8).

After my students read the article, we will have a discussion to determine whether reading about Don Sterling helps us learn about ourselves and to get their overall impression of the topic and the man.

Group Discussion

20 minutes

During the discussion, I will probe my students to share their thoughts about the following using details from the reading (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1.d)

  • Mrs. Sterling
  • TMZ
  • The Clippers Team
  • NBA Fans

I am having my students discuss these topics so that we can get to the essential question that I referenced in the "Do Now" of this lesson. I want them to really think about and share whether they learned anything about themselves from reading this article and/or having the discussion. I will share with them that I learned that I am more angry with people who don't take a stand for the right cause than I am with people who simply appear to be ignorant or misinformed. After I share my learning, I will ask a few students to share theirs.

If time permits, I will allow my students to listen to the audio of the conversation between Don Sterling and V. Stiviano for the purpose of comparing the newspaper account to the actual recording to by comparing the facts presented (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.7).

Building Knowledge: Charting the Order of Location Details

10 minutes

I'll admit that the transition to this part of the lesson will not be smooth, but I think the discussion opportunity is well worth it. For this part of the lesson, we will return to our reading of the The Odyssey.

Today we are focusing on Book 12 of the text because Book 12 has excellent examples of spatially organized details about the three challenges that Odysseus will face as he tries to make the trip back home. My students will be able to use these details to write an order of location paragraph during our next class session.

My students will be taking notes as they read about the three challenges that Odysseus will face as he attempts to return to Ithaca. In Book 12, Circe tells Odysseus that he will encounter the Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, and Helios. I am having my students take these notes because they will use narrative techniques to write a spatial order paragraph  summarizing the challenges (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2) during the next class session. I got this idea from Jim Burke's site because I thought it would be a good way for students to practice using narrative techniques (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3.b) later on when they begin to write their own stories.

I will model how to take notes using the challenge of the Sirens, since this is the first challenge that students will encounter as they read Book. 12. I am modeling this one because there is very little detail about the location of the Sirens, and I want to show my students how to include details that might make their future paragraphs more descriptive (even when they don't appear directly in the text).  In a three column chart, my students will chart the location, the obstacle, and characteristics.

Application: Note-taking for Order of Location Paragraph

15 minutes

During the application section of this lesson, my students will have 15 -20 minutes to read Book 12 and complete their note-taking chart (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1) by citing descriptions from the text. I will encourage students to chunk the reading by pausing after they read the entire warning about the Sirens. After this section, they will complete that portion of the chart before reading any further. I am providing this chunking advice because I think it will be less overwhelming for students to complete the work in sections rather than thinking about all of the challenges at once. Check out this video of students taking Order of location notes in preparation for the writing component in the next lesson.

Here's a sample of Order of Location student work; however, please see the reflection to hear my explanation of what I think about the work.

Self-Selected Reading

20 minutes

To close out this lesson, my students have two choices of tasks.

1) they can continue to read book 12 if they haven't completed it.

2) they can finish reading their self-selected reading (SSR) books

I am giving students this choice because I think my students are ready to make the best choice for themselves regarding how to structure their completion of all of the work that is required for the completion of their SSR Book Jacket Project (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.10). Their SSR project is due on May 15, so it is important that they do a little bit of work on it every day. By allowing them this time to work, I can also check in with students that might be waiting until the last minute to complete the work to try to keep them on pace. For this assignment, students are developing a book jack that analyzes a self-selected text. This project will assess students' ability to read and comprehend texts independently as we read and comprehend The Odyssey together.