Violence & Video Games, Day 1

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SWBAT finish slip or trip activity and begin reading and discussing "Can a Video Game Lead to Murder?"

Big Idea

As we begin our argument unit, this lesson builds engagement as we discover a highly debatable topic.

Silent Read/Check-In Log/Confer

15 minutes

Whenever possible, I begin my lessons with silent, independent reading. During this time, I actively monitor their reading progress by checking their out-of-class reading logs and engaging in reading conferences that cover a variety of topics.

To find ways to enact this section, please see my strategy folder.

Complete Slip or Trip

20 minutes

This section of the lesson directly connects to the previous day's lesson.

As an extension to Slip or Trip, I asked students to highlight all information that did not help them to uncover whether Sir Arthur was tripped down the stairs or whether he slipped, so they can uncover unhelpful, distracting details. Here is a Slip or Trip with Highlights.

I explain that they'll have ten minutes to finish up their work and nominate one person to present the group's findings. All groups will need to present whether Arthur slipped or tripped, using evidence. We discuss their findings in a large group and I ask students what the most important evidence they found that supported their argument.

Then I pass out a Posted-Note as an Exit Slip (or Trip). Kids will need to write down one new piece of evidence, including reasoning, that they heard during the whole group discussion, which further supports their claim. 

"Can a Video Game Lead to Murder?" Read & Discuss

25 minutes

The goal of today is to get the kids invested in a an easily relatable topic. I usually start with a question like, who in here has ever played a violent video game? Or I'll pose the question already written at the top of the article, can a video game lead to murder? I will take a blind poll at the start and post the results on the board, almost as a pre-reading activity.

This article,"Can a Video Game Lead to Murder," sent to me by a colleague at a neighboring school, is a fabulous resource to start a relevant, respectful debate. Most students have some background knowledge on the subject at hand. Even if they don't play video games, they have siblings, relatives, or friends that play.

I print one set of articles and pass out copies to all my students. I read it aloud, pausing often to get feedback and discuss crucial parts. The article talks about Devin Moore, a kid with no prior arrests, who was accused of murdering police officers, seemingly out of the blue. Here is an excerpt from the article where I paused and discussed further with my kids:
"Moore had no criminal history, and was cooperative as Strickland booked him inside the Fayette police station. Then suddenly, inexplicably, Moore snapped."

After we read this, I pause and ask, what is this insinuating? Or what is so scary about Moore "suddenly" snapping? I will pause and ask questions such as these every few paragraphs or so. This triggers powerful discussion, which deepens student's understanding.

Here is a video that tells how and why I pause to generate discussion:

Slowing Down Non-Fiction Read Alouds to Generate Discussion

By the end of the day, students should be leaning towards one side of this issue or the other. I explain that we will be coming up with a claim having to do with this article and debating the following day.