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Writing Sequence Draft Unit Overview
Context Eastern High School, Lansing, MI 9th Grade Honors English (about 40 students) and General Education English (about 15 students) Demographics: Diverse Races: Caucasian, Hispanic, African American, Asian American, Refugees; Diverse Socio-Economic Backgrounds: low class to upper middle class Ratio girls to boys: 3:1 Unit Bias & Cause and Effect (in relation to race, social class, ethnicity, etc.) How biases are formed How biases can affect one’s perception of the world around them Linking bias to real world events as well as literary text Displaying cause and effect relationships of biases
Themes/Concepts How do preconceived notions produce cause and effect relationships? What are the consequences of such biases? (i.e. external vs. internal) Real world and fictionalized application of biases and cause and effect Correlation of historical events in order to explain biases and such cause and effect relationships Rationale Within our context we have been exploring issues of bias in tandem with concepts of race, social class, poverty, civil rights and how that can affect different people. All of these issues are derived from a historical perspective of the Great Depression and the uprising of the civil rights movement (Jim Crow laws). With that said we will attempt to synthesize their background knowledge to tap into the connections they can make in their everyday lives. By using the “Migrant Mother” and To Kill a Mockingbird (movie and novel) students will be able to explore the historical and fictional events that not only produce cause and effect relationships, but real world applications. Inventory Journaling is done on a daily basis with a thoughtful prompt Dialogic discussion is easily practiced and made useful
Students have experienced persuasive writing through the means of examining famous speeches and articles Students have written persuasive speeches in which they have had to choose a topic that is surrounded by highly charged biases Students have viewed and discussed a documentary about real world events in which biases and morality conflicted (Scottsboro Boy Trial) Students will be able to think critically about the world at which we present them with and how they fit into it. Students will be able to realize the interconnectivity of bias and cause and effect in relation to recursive class themes and historical events. Students will be able to create various pieces of written and aesthetic work which will showcase their knowledge and perception of how biases and cause and effect function together.
Assessments Dialogic discussion of writing prompts and Fishbone Maps Crediting students for completing the specified journal entries based on the “check mark system” Creation and evaluation of Fishbone Maps in relation to the text; dependent on the written content and its ability to express a mode of higher level thinking Lessons “Migrant Mother” “Cause and Effect: The Fishbowl” Activities Journaling Dialogic Discussion Creating Fishbone Maps (Cause and Effect) Writing responses to Fishbone Maps Discussion Dependent upon student responses and lesson See Tasks for L1 and L2 Texts “The Migrant Mother” by Dorothea Lange To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Daily Lesson Plans
LESSON #1: “The Migrant Mother” Target Audience 9th grade Honors English 9th grade General English Goals Students will be able to think critically about an image presented in its original form while interpreting surrounding biases. Students will be able to participate in a dialogic discussion in which opinions, biases, and personal revelations can be shared. Students will be able to relate the concepts of bias and cause and effect in order to specifically analyze the presented image.
Objectives Students will be able to journal their observations of the “Migrant Mother” by using their sensory perceptions. Students will be able to revisit and synthesize their responses to the presented image after the background story is given. Students will be able to recognize the causes of exploitation and how that affects the subject. Rationale In accordance with keeping up with the recursivity of bias and cause and effect relationships students will gain insight by reflecting on a real world example. By exposing the true nature of the photo, students will begin to form their own opinions about how biases form and manipulation occurs. Materials Overhead Overhead pen Photo of “The Migrant Mother” Student journals Writing utensil Procedure Teacher introduces lesson with quote and instructs students to close their eyes while she reads it. “I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they
had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean- to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it.” (From: Popular Photography, Feb. 1960). Teacher shows “Migrant Mother” image a. Dorthea Lange b. (1936) Students begin Part One of their journals with instructed prompt a. What are your initial “sensory reactions?” b. What do you feel, see, smell, hear, if you were there? c. How does it make you feel, what does it remind you of? Students share their responses and the class as a whole responds and discuses the presented image in depth Teacher shares with students the “real story” of the photo a. Florence Owens Thompson b. Dorthea Lange’s true mission: Hurried pictures of account during the Great Depression c. Michael Stone’s article d. Daughter’s youth Students begin Part Two of their journals with instructed writing prompt a. How did your reaction change after learning the “true” story? b. Can you trust the new story? Why or why not? c. What does this say about bias and how that can affect your interpretation of data presented, images, ideas? d. What does this have to do with propaganda? Taking advantage of the “poor” during times of extreme misfortune, capitalizing on said misfortune? e. How can people justify? Students share their response and the class as a whole responds and discusses the implications of the new information
Assessments Journaling before and after image is described Dialogic discussion before and after journaling To-Do List Make sure journal entries are completed on a regular basis Build on knowledge of the Great Depression Relate lesson to reoccurring themes and past real world examples (i.e. Scottsboro Boy Trial, cause and effect of the Great Depression) References Photo, http://history1900s.about.com/library/photos/blygd45.htm
LESSON #2: “Cause and Effect: The Fishbowl” Target Audience 9th grade Honors English Goals Students will be able to think critically from a fictionalized character’s point of view in order to better understand his or her disposition, and or external perception within the fictionalized community. Students will be able to express themselves through various forms of media such as written, aesthetic, and dialogic forms of discussion. Students will be able to formalize cause and effect relationships based on their knowledge of historical and fictional events. Students will be able to discover and rationalize various connections in order to adapt them to their personal lives.
Objectives Students will be able to clearly and concisely describe their character from that specific point of view by using at least one quotation and specific page references form the text. Students will be able to utilize various fictional and historical events in order to describe the causes of their characters’ disposition. Students will be able to discuss and share their findings in order to better understand recursive classroom topics such as bias, racism, perception, the Great Depression, Scottsboro Boy Trial, etc. Rationale In accordance of keeping up with the recusivity of bias and cause and effect relationships students will gain insight by associating fictionalized character dispositions with their everyday lives. They will use their background knowledge of important historical and fictional events in order to fuse these connections appropriately. By doing so they will be able to tap into their high level thinking skills while simultaneously making inferences and seeing beyond. Materials Fishbone Map Worksheet Art supplies Scissors Tape Fishbowl cut-out Procedure Day One
1. Fishbone Map worksheets are given to the students; directions are read aloud; questions can be asked. 2. Students are divided into groups of 2-4 and must pick a specific character based on a given list to focus on. 3. Students will not be told what the fish cut out is for; instead students must be focusing on character analysis and the cause and effect relationships present from the point of view of their character. 4. Once written material is completed students have the opportunity to decorate and color their fish if desired. 5. Teacher must remind students to bring their fish to class the next day in order to continue the activity and to share their findings. Day Two 1. Teacher explains why the Fishbone Maps were created and the notion of a “fishbowl” in relation to a real world application. 2. Students share their fish and what they have discovered about their characters through this process. They will then put their fish in the fishbowl. 3. Teacher and students will make connections and ask open ended questions in order to dialogically discuss the importance of bias, perception, and correlating ideologies found within the novel and history. 4. Students will finish the hour with a written response to the activity in which they will discuss the notion of a “fishbowl” and how it relates to their lives. Assessments Creating Fishbone Maps (cause and effect relationships) Dialogic discussion upon completion of Fishbone Maps Written response To-Do List Make sure To Kill a Mockingbird is almost completed Build on students’ understanding of cause and effect relationships References To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Strategic Reading and Discourse Organization by Grabe and Stoller (p. 218)
Erica’s Thoughts 1. How does what you planned account for the development of procedural knowledge in your students? Well, the students are presented with “truth” and then given another “truth”. It is up to them to decide what to take away from the situation/information presented. This is the same with bias, we need to be able to think for ourselves and be able to realize why people may want others to think a certain way or believe particular information. This
accounts for procedural knowledge because students have to apply what they have learned to the situation. Students are encouraged to think critically about how different elements of society are presented to them, and then they must decide how to interpret that. This is something that is actively done. It may not be quite hands-on, but it requires students to think freely and come up with their own conclusion rather than a forced result. For the second lesson, students are asked to make the connections of cause and effect on the fish map. Having the students lay out the cause for the character of the book to behave and be such a way can help students to visualize their findings. This method may allow students to “see” how each character is affected in different ways from the same events and time period. I’m hoping that with this lesson, students will be able to think about themselves and their surroundings instead of just the events and characters in the book. In this way, students would be able to apply what they have learned about analyzing characters to the real world. Short of sympathizing with people, students may have another way to understand the people around them through digging deeper into why people are who they are. 2. How does what you planned connect to the overall plans for the unit and vice versa? The planned lessons connect to the overall plans for the unit in the way that each lesson either relates to bias or cause and effect. The first lesson prepares students for the idea of bias. It allows students to think about different ways to interpret way is presented to them. Showing students the “Migrant Mother” tells them to question what is presented to them. Ask, inquire, wonder, etc. This image opens up students to ideas of poverty, social class and race during the Great Depression and the different biases people had toward the specific groups/stereotypes. Students begin discussing how exploitation plays a part in why some people have biases against others, as a way to make money, a way to keep oneself higher than others. The second lesson connects to the overall unit in the way that it establishes the students’ knowledge of cause and effect relationships. Students will create “fish maps” that show the way bias infiltrates through in pretty much all situations. Bias is always present, whether it is good or bad, and it plays a part in how information is interpreted. Having the students make the cause and effect maps allows them to see from within the fictional sense (the novel) and the real world sense (historical). This connects to the overall unit because students need to be able to think critically about their surroundings and how it affects them. 3. What makes what you’ve planned dialogic? What are you learning about the challenges of dialogic teaching? How specifically could you improve these plans in this regard? The lesson plans are dialogic in the way that they both give students a chance to think things through and voice their own opinions and thoughts about the subject at hand. Students converse as a class and in small groups, creating a dialogue that is rewarding
in the sense that students are not expected to recite some “pre-formulated” answer. Students are encouraged to think about bias and cause and effect and come to their own conclusions. Thus, students are talking out their ideas. I know for me, it is easier sometimes to write first and then share. Students are expected to journal their thoughts as to make it less “scary” when speaking in front of the entire class. This makes sharing examples or thoughts flow more as a whole and helps students to collect their thoughts so they don’t feel as though they’re stuttering. Plus, if everyone is expected to write out what they are thinking, discussion can keep going instead of having a big lull in the middle of a great discussion. I am learning that the challenges of leading a dialogic discussion with students are considerable. I mean, we taught lessons and whatnot with out classmates, and everyone wants everyone else to do well, so we participate and help them keep the lessons flowing, However, when you’re in front of freshmen, they don’t care if you flop. It is more challenging in keeping them interested in what is at hand. It is challenging when you must think of other questions or examples on the spot when you’re not necessarily prepared to answered specific questions. It’s a never-ending process that I’m sure gets a bit less stressful with practice and experience. The plans could improve in regards to “think-pair-share”. If there is more discussion between students, they may feel more comfortable sharing. This could have been done with out first lesson, but we went straight from journaling to sharing. It went well, but there could have been more participation from other students possibly. The second lesson we haven’t taught yet, but I think there is more discussion between students. They will work in groups of 2-4 and have to decide what gets written down and why. This may help students to discuss why certain aspects of the novel and historical events are significant or not compared to a specific character. After students complete the first part of the lesson, they will come together and share what they came up with to the class as a whole. The teacher will foster discussion and lead students to think about perspectives and bias. Students will write a response and then talk about that as well. Overall, there is a lot of talking going on. Students have many opportunities to ask questions, help their peers, and seek advice from the teacher. I don’t know how the second lesson can be improved as of yet since we haven’t taught it yet. We’ll have to see soon. Hannah’s Thoughts 1. How does what you planned account for the development of procedural knowledge in your students? Well in my opinion, and I am sure Erica would agree, every lesson in the class is recursive. I do not know how Emily planned this so well or if it was a week to week kind of thing, but whatever she has done has worked great for these students. Erica and I were lucky to have been able to witness this before we decided to attempt to add to this awesome planning. In our case we decided to take what we know and blend that with
the overall class themes. Therefore choosing to focus on bias and cause and effect were not hard themes to bridge with existing ones. Within our first lesson we decided to keep with Emily’s recursive implementation of journaling and directly present them with an image that they knew nothing about except for what was right in front of their faces. They were able to not only tap into their prior knowledge about the Great Depression, but also begin to think cause and effect, and why such a relationship may occur. It was very interesting to witness the students thinking pattern. It was very easy to tell that they really felt cheated when we told them the “true” story. Their feelings toward the picture immediately changed and they now had a different perception of the world around them. I was so happy to see that the connections we provided them with were made and even others. Such connections that were made stemmed from all of the recursive themes that Emily has been revisiting throughout the year. I could only hope that my classroom resemble some of this in the future. As for the second lesson, we have not been able to teach it yet therefore I am hoping for the best. Similar to our first lesson I feel that it will more than likely tap into the development of procedural knowledge. We designed the lesson to bring out our students creativity and ability to think abstractly. They will have to think from the view point of a character and then analyze this character based on real world perception and baises. It brings together our WS themes and once again taps into the recursive themes, concepts, etc. of the class as a whole. It will be interesting to see this play out in a two day process. I have never had this experience so I am looking forward to it most definitely. 2. How does what you planned connect to the overall plans for the unit and vice versa? Oh wow…well once again I feel that everything is recursive. Everything Emily does and says every day relates back to various lessons, assignments, and real world events. Our few lessons only took up an inch worth of space in her plans, but I honestly feel that we were able to fit in to her recursive methods quite accurately. In our case we were pretty lucky because Emily had already been working with her students on biases and cause and effect relationships. Therefore we decided it would be easy to expand on what the students already know, and introduce a few new terms, themes, things to think about, etc. Our first lesson reintroduces the concept of biases and how cause and effect works. We also introduced concepts of exploitation, perception, and morality. The students ended up responding pretty well to these themes because most of them knew what they were and could easily apply them to our context. As suspected the Honors class had an easier time making such connections and giving us the kind of answers we expected…which I am not sure is a good or bad thing as of now. I say this because when discussion was sparked in the General class they did not give us the nice “cookie cutter” answers. Instead they were real and up front and pretty much told us what they would do if this was actually happening to them. I found that somewhat more refreshing than a highly rehearsed or practiced answer. Overall, both classes made excellent connections with the first lesson. When we teach our second lesson I hope we have some of the same results. Like the first it deals with the recursive themes of the class, and more specifically relates to biases and cause and effect. This time they are using To
Kill a Mockingbird to understand character relationships and what causes their fictional fates. Not only are we going to have them look to the novel for evidence, but use what they know about real historical events. This way we can bring back all of the previous lessons Emily have taught and tap into their critical thinking skills. Also, I have a strong feeling that this lesson will be fun…we are coloring FISH! 3. What makes what you’ve planned dialogic? What are you learning about the challenges of dialogic teaching? How specifically could you improve these plans in this regard? What we have planned is dialogic because we have given students the opportunity to critique, hypothesize, understand, etc. the world at which we present them without telling them what is right or wrong. Thus we are presenting them with a reality that they must make their own in order to better understand. We are not going to be giving them letter grades based on what they come up with. Instead we are going to be giving them credit for doing the work and participating in class discussion. And although we will respond to their work and participation we will not be judging them. In such an instance I feel that the exchange between teacher and student becomes more valuable and authentic because there are dialogic based exchanges rather than grade striving exchanges. Erica and I hope that through discussion, journaling, character profiling, and real world application we can make this experience as authentic as possible and recursively dialogic. Throughout this process I have definitely learned that my lesson plans are going to change day to day. Just for these two lessons our plans changed about ten different times. With that said I do not think that my best ideas will come to me right away. It is going to take a lot of backwards planning and critical analyzing to make sure that I am providing my students with a dialogic and pedagogically sound lesson. Also, I have found that what I have planned will most likely change while I am teaching it. I am going to think of something new that better makes a connection right in the middle of my lesson which ultimately will change how the rest of the lesson goes. So basically, I have realized that trying to plan a dialogic lesson is hard! It does not come as naturally as I thought it would, but it is totally worth the hard work when you realize how awesome your students respond to it. It’s like I did that!!! Overall, I think that we could improve our lessons if we got to know the students on a more personal level. We could really connect things to their everyday lives if we knew what they liked or what their opinions were about certain real world issues. I think that this would definitely make our lessons more dialogic and authentic without a doubt. Also, I think that we could improve our lessons by adding more room for creativity and expression. I would never want to subject my students to a mode of expression they do not fit with. I think that by giving my students options would make the lesson more authentic and useful to them. Then again this was a writing sequence lesson so we really did have to focus it mainly around writing. Overall I have realized that there always will be room for improvement in any lesson that I create now and in the future. Side Note: This was a really fun and useful assignment, Kelly!!!
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