Building Toward Debate by Reading and Annotating: What time should school start?

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SWBAT read an informational text to support or question their own opinion by using strategies for reading.

Big Idea

If school started later, would we be better teachers and have better students?

Lesson Rationale

This lesson and the one that follows are crucial to establishing the tone of the classroom early in the year.  In these lessons, I barely touch the specifics of argumentation and I don't grade students on perfect writing.  Instead, I simply want them to practice the reading strategies we studied last week and get used to talking and listening to each other.  Certainly, we are touching on CCSS that deal with reading and writing, but I'm teaching the Speaking and Listening standards within this two day lesson.  It is very difficult for sophomore students to understand that they should listen to understand rather than listen to respond.  This lesson begins to establish that expectation for my classroom.  It also helps students understand that our  goal is not to read literature at face value, but rather to work through all steps of analysis and end with conceptualizing it within our own life.  

Warm Up--Get the juices flowin'

5 minutes

As students enter, the prompt is projected on the Smart Board,

Please take a few minutes and create a daily schedule for your typical summer routine.  In other words, go through a typical summer day for you and list times that coordinate with those events.Be specific.  For example,

8:00AMWake up

8:30AMHave breakfast-cereal



After students have written for a few minutes, we will discuss.  At the end of discussion, I will explain that today we are going to investigate what time school should begin.  

Mini Lesson--Make a judgment before reading

10 minutes

I project the prompt:

The High School day should begin at _______ and end at ________.

I explain to students they are deciding the ideal numbers to insert in this prompt.  I'm going to model what I want them to do.  I go to the Smart Board and revise the prompt to read,

The High School day should begin at 7:00 AM and end at 3:00 PM.  


Next, I explain that I need some reasons to support my assertion.

I list:

1. Teachers need more time with each class to teach all of the objectives for the course.

2. Sport teams need to start practice by 3:30 so they aren't there until 9pm.

3. Students perform  their best in the morning. (Please watch this Explanation of this reason video).





Student Work Time--Make an initial judgment

5 minutes

I explain to students,

Our task is to prepare to have a collaborative group discussion about school starting times.  We are going to first, make an initial judgement.  Then, you will use an article to research material and draw on that material to stimulate a thoughtful exchange of ideas (SL.9-10.4, SL.9-10.1a).  

Students have five minutes to make a decision on the ideal school day hours and to support that assertion with three reasons.  I tell students there is no right or wrong answer here.  Rather, it is simply their initial ideas.  


The High School day should begin at _______ and end at ________.

Reason 1.

Reason 2.

Reason 3. 

Mini Lesson--Reading to prepare to discuss

5 minutes

Teaching the Core is a wonderful website full of CCSS resources.  One of the most valuable resources is the Articles of the Week.  Dave Stuart has worked hard to find complex articles and to build engaging, CC tied activities to those articles.  Today's article comes from Stuart's website.  I don't use the last two pages of the article and assignment, which includes a writing prompt.  Typically, I use this, but today's assignment has a Speaking and Listening focus.  


I tell students, we are going to read an argumentative article about school start times.  While the author has specific opinions, you don't have to agree with her.  In fact, we read this article to practice our reading habits from Harvard that we discussed and practiced last week and to gather information to help form our own opinions about the topic. I project the article, AoWSchoolStartTimes by Nancy Kalish which was published January 14, 2008 in the New York Times.  


I project the article under the document camera and while I read the text aloud, I stop and annotate.  Here is teacher-modeled annotated article. I make sure to use language from the 6 Habits document that we worked with the previous three class periods.  

Student Work Time

15 minutes

While students read and annotate their articles, I walk around to lend support to students.  I anticipate many students simply underlining as a way of preparing their text.  I will ask these students questions like,

Why did you underline this?  Can you write the explanation you just gave me?

What does this underline mean?  Can you write what you just told me?

Did you underline this because it was important or because you have a question?  

I have a difficult time reading your thinking if you simply underline.  Can you write some thoughts and questions instead?



5 minutes

Before we leave class, I want students to share their annotations with each other.  I tell students,

I want to give you an opportunity to build on others' ideas and express your own clearly(SL.9-10.1). Please pick three of your annotations, either statements or questions, and share them with a neighbor.  Rather than having your neighbor read them, please read your annotations aloud to your neighbor.