Reflection: Complex Tasks Vocabulary Eighteen Review - Section 2: Viva La Venn Diagram


As we developed the Venn Diagram as a whole group, I tried to encourage discussion about what changes Harper Lee makes in To Kill a Mockingbird as opposed to what actually happened in Scottsboro, and why she would have made certain changes.  This was marginally successful, as my students could easily point out what was similar and what was different in the two depictions, though at times they struggled with the "whys."

I don't mean to be cynical, but it seems that most compare/contrast roads lead to the destination of "So What?"  I have always struggled with this as a teacher; while I believe it makes for interesting (if not obvious) discussion, I often wonder whether or not most compare/contrast assignments know what the desired end product is or should be.  I feel they often fall short of exploring the "whys," which can make the exercise seem futile.

Then again, maybe that's simply my inability to be an eighth-grade mind anymore.  What appears obvious to me is often not as much so to the average 13 year old, and merely taking notice of changes versus similarities is foundation for critical thinking skills.  However, I do think that pushing those critical thinking skills into the realm of addressing the "whys" is where compare/contrast exercises should go.  


  The Trap of Compare and Contrast
  Complex Tasks: The Trap of Compare and Contrast
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Vocabulary Eighteen Review

Unit 12: To Kill A Mockingbird Part II
Lesson 7 of 8

Objective: SWBAT participate in a guided review of the week's vocabulary words, collected from chapters 20-22 of To Kill a Mockingbird and from the documentary on the Scottsboro trials.

Big Idea: “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” (Rudyard Kipling)

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