Night of the Twisters: Similarities and differences Between Multiple Perspectives of the Same Topic

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SWBAT compare and contrast multiple accounts of tornadoes during a Socratic Seminar.

Big Idea

What are the similarities and differences between multiple accounts of tornadoes? Why do those similarities & differences exist?

Cue Set

10 minutes

For the last two days, we've focused on narrator's perspective and how it influences the way that events are described.  Today, we are going to compare & contrast those perspectives and end with a socratic seminar.  First, we practice the skill of comparing & contrasting perspectives with something a bit more concrete.  

During the cue set, the last two days we watched a clip of Man Versus Wild and analyzed how the guide would describe the event and we imagined how we might describe the event if we went with him.  Today we compare and contrast our descriptions of the crocodile hunt.  First, scholars re-watch the cue set video.  

I present the question to the scholars: How is your description of the crocodile hunt the same/different than the guide's description of the crocodile hunt? Why do you think that is? 

Scholars chorally read the questions.  Then, I ask, "When you see this question, what do you immediately think to do?  I cuff my ear, that way scholars know it is OK to call out.  I'm hoping to hear someone say create a venn diagram.  This is what we ALWAYS do whenever we see those words same/different.  Then, I model drawing one using my visualizer.  I ask them, "what do I do next?"  I'm hoping that scholars will help me to label the venn diagram.  This is very helpful for struggling learners for many reasons.  First, you help them to set up a graphic organizer that will help them organize their thinking.  Secondly, it ensures that they understand the question.  Third, it helps them to know what 2 things we are actually comparing.  Here is one scholar watching cue set video, while taking notes on his venn diagram. 

I give scholars 3 minutes to complete a quick sketch venn diagram in their notebook (this just means that they quickly sketch the venn out in their notebook - nothing fancy!).  Then, they have 30 seconds to Rally Robin similarities with their partner and 30 seconds to Rally Robin differences with their partner.  

Finally, I take 2 friends from my cup and 1 volunteer.   

Guided Practice

30 minutes

Today we go directly into guided partner practice because this is the second time that I've taught this standard.  Scholars are ready for more practice of this skill.  Depending on how the Cue Set goes, I can always model before the guided practice if scholars need a refresher on comparing and contrasting, but I do not anticipate that they will need this.  

Scholars break into the same heterogeneous partnerships that were assigned at the beginning of the week.  They have 20 seconds to move with their books, pencils,  Venn Diagrams and Tag boards to a comfy place in the room.  They have 25 minutes to complete the venn diagram that compares and contrasts the way in which Warren Faidley might describe a tornado to the way in which a main character from Night of the Twisters would describe a tornado.  They also are expected to tag the text to mark evidence that they can reference during seminar.  Here are some examples of partner practice and more partner reading.  Here is a tagged text.  

As scholars finish the venn diagram and tagging, they begin rehearsing for seminar.  They actually practice saying (out loud) the ideas that they want to share during seminar.  We discuss the importance of being prepared for the seminar.  Scholars are very invested in seminar because they like to sound intelligent in front of their peers and they know that they will be graded by their peers and me during the discussion. 

The ELL co-teacher partners with 3 scholars in my first class who need more support - 1 for attention and 2 for English speaking needs.  I circulate to all scholars to ensure that they are on task and successful with the comparison.  I give on-the-spot feedback as needed.  

Socratic Seminar

60 minutes

During the seminar today, there are two circles (one inside of another larger circle).  Scholars who are participating in the discussion are in the inner circle. Scholars who are watching/listening and evaluating the discussion sit on the outside of the circle.   Click here to watch a video of our seminar!

Scholars discuss the following question: 

How are Warren Faidley's account of experiencing a tornado the same or different than the main characters from Night of the Twisters?  Why do you think their perspectives are the same? Different? 

Scholars in the outer circle give an individual rating to their partner (person who has the same color post-it note on their desk) and an overall rating for the group.  The rating is a simple 1 to 5.  Five indicating everyone participates, discussion remains on topic, participants respectfully agree/disagree, discussion is interesting,and participants remain attentive.   Here is the Rating Scale for Socratic Seminar.  

We will do three discussions each lasting 10 minutes so that each group of scholars have an opportunity to discuss.  

Seminar first group

Seminar second group

Seminar third group

As scholars discuss, they can continue to take notes on their note taking template (venn diagram from guided practice).  Completed note taking templates are a part of their checklist items for the week. Also, we will debrief each discussion for 2 minutes before we switch to the next one.  During the debrief, I provide on-the-spot-feedback to participants.  For example, I might say, "You did a great job respectfully disagreeing and agreeing.  Remember to use specific evidence from the text to support your thoughts."  


5 minutes

During the closure today, scholars take 5 minutes to finish up their evaluation sheets and add any remaining thoughts to their venn diagrams.  This is a great way to close out the lesson and provide scholars an opportunity to synthesize their learning and add any thoughts or insights that they gained from other scholars during the seminar.  Here is an example of one Student Completing a Rating Scale