Roberto Clemente - A Man of His Word

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SWBAT...explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point

Big Idea

When authors write stories they add details from their own opinions into the text. Critical readers can separate the facts from the opinions in biographical accounts.

Creating the Purpose

5 minutes

I start this lesson by sharing that I saw an accident on the freeway and I called in to the police this morning (not real). I told students that when I recounted the story I also told the officer that I felt that the man was dangerous because he was really yelling at the other man when I drove by. I shared that I had a return call an hour later from the officer sharing that all was ok, no one was hurt, and that the one man was yelling for the other to get out of the road so that he wouldn't get hurt by the traffic on the freeway - he had to yell because it was so loud out there. I shared with students that I was really glad no one was hurt and that now I felt a little bad about telling the officer one man was angry when all he was trying to do was help the other.

This story lets me lead them into the lesson - that authors often do the same thing when they write. They insert their opinions into their writing and can show readers their feelings about issues by the positive or negative ways they write or by their characters reactions to situations. Today we are going to read the second part of Roberto Clemente's life and discuss author's opinions and then evaluate choices made by Roberto Clemente.

Inferring Opinions

15 minutes

In the last lesson students were able to share information about Roberto's early life. I know at this point students still don't have a strong grasp of how to identify the differences between fact and opinion. I share that opinion in text make statements of how someone feels, thinks or sees another person, place or thing. Facts are things that can be proven in a encyclopedia and other historical or scientific books.

We now need to practice this so I ask students to read the next pages in the book and identify the author's opinion on broomball vs baseball looking for the key ideas we just discussed (you could use any comparative passages to do this with another book). I share that they need to find evidence in the text to support their claims. Timer set for 7 minutes and students begin working and using their journals to identify author's feelings/ opinions found in the text.

We come together and share our responses building on eachother's knowledge as we go


Debating Decisions

20 minutes

I know want them to read further and to take their questioning from an author focus back to Roberto Clemente focus. I ask them to evaluate his choice to honor his contract. I share that they will read pages  and then determine why he made the choice he did, and if they agree or disagree with his decision.

This turned out to be a great debate because it was evenly swayed on each side of the issue and they found evidence all throughout the text to support their opinions. My role was to encourage them to continue to think more deeply about the text by prompting them with leading questions and then letting others in the group respond. 

This video is a good example of an effective student debate and learning session

After this debate students have already made the connection that he was an honest person who stood behind his word, so now I just need them to make the final connection to facing the segregation hardships and changing the sport of baseball.

Our final discussion question was How did Roberto Clemente change the sport of baseball? This one was a little bit more difficult for them but with peer discussion they were able to come to the conclusion that other "darker skinned" athletes could now play because of his will not to give up and how good he was at the game.

They made another insight when they shared that he seemed like a happy person because he was always smiling in his pictures. This would have been another good place to share a discussion on authors perspective vs truthful information. We ran out of time but it did make me realize that this book has a lot of lessons that could have been generated from continual rereads to build deeper meaning - a Common Core adjustment I really like.