I read “Making Sense of Online Text” by Julie Coiro, and I used the 1, 2, 3, 4 strategy to relay my findings:
- Big Idea: Technology in the classroom can be useful, but also confusing.
- Details: Using the internet inside of a classroom can be helpful, but if students don’t know how to navigate the internet well, it can be almost useless. Teaching students to be critical of resources found on the internet will limit the amount of sources that students use that aren’t credible. It is important to teach students how to research using the internet so that it isn’t overwhelming.
- Personal Connection: I sometimes have trouble determining which sources are credible and which ones aren’t, so this article was as helpful to me as I imagine it will be to my students.
- Questions: When is it appropriate to incorporate the internet in class outside of research? How can I as a teacher keep an eye on keeping students on task while using the internet in class?
For my post-reading strategy, I would like to pose a mock trial for my classroom. In the book Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo is exiled for accidental manslaughter of a fellow member of the community. I would like my students to imitate the trial, with some students serving as a jury, one as a judge, one as Okonkwo, as well as students for his attorneys and as witnesses. I believe that this is a fun way to bring the text to life as well as to give students an opportunity to decide the fate of Okonkwo themselves. This strategy also introduces the legal system, an institution that many people, if not all, encounter at some point in their lives. Providing an opportunity to gain familiarity with the legal system as well as how trials work will prove to be an invaluable lesson to my students.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3: Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1: Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1: Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
- Content and Grade Level: 10th Grade English
- Theme: Tradition and Change
- Essential Question: Can we respect tradition while continuing to make progress?
- Topical Questions: What are the advantages and disadvantages of progressing within a society? Why is it important to preserve tradition? Why is it important for societies to continually change and evolve?
- Anchor Text: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
For my pre-reading strategy, I chose an anticipation guide. In using an anticipation guide, I can gauge how my students feel about certain issues, while also getting them familiar with the issues that will come up as we read the text. Below I have provided an example of the participation guide I may give students:
Fill in each blank with an “A” for “agree” or a “D” for disagree:
- _____ It is okay for a person to have more than one spouse.
- _____ Christianity is the true religion.
- _____ Being masculine depends on physical strength.
- _____ A woman can be intuitive about the health of her child.
- _____ Men should be intimately involved in raising children.
- _____ Accidental manslaughter should be punished severely.
- _____ Ancestors have great influence in our present-day lives.
- _____ Hard work is the road to self-respect.
- _____ A parent should have much control over the future of her/his
- _____ Justice is served in the court system.
After discussing the students’ answers as a class, we will all be a little bit more familiar with how we all feel about the issues that will come up in the text, and the students know what to expect as they read throughout the unit.
Topic Covered During Socratic Seminar: Tradition & Change
Texts: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Common Core Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.D, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.A
Rationale: The goal of my Socratic Seminar is to have students explore the pros and cons of both respecting tradition and making progress as a society. Belonging to a group within which tradition is important is a concept that a lot of young people are familiar with, and there always seems to come a time in all of our lives when we are asked to choose between the traditions we are familiar with, and stepping outside of our comfort zone and letting go of our traditions, at least a little bit. I want my students to be able to complicate the idea of balancing a respect for tradition as well as a striving for progress and change. I hope with this socratic seminar that students will find that preserving tradition is just as important as striving for progress and change.
Essential Question: How can we respect tradition while continuing to make progress?
- Can you share an example of a time when you felt like your traditions were questioned?
- Why do you think certain characters in the novel are so opposed to change?
- How does Okonkwo’s resistance to change inevitably affect him?
- Who do you think has the authority to decide when it is time for change?
- Why is it important to preserve tradition?
- Why is it important for societies to continually evolve and change?
- What would you have done in Okonkwo’s situation? Why?