Middles school Social Studies teacher using contemporary issues to incorporate ELA CCSS into a lesson about cyberbullying. Students use factual information, a video and two case studies to consider and analyze different perspectives in specific cyberbullying incidents.Small group discussions allow students to both inform and support their opinions as they formulate ideas about the impact of the bullying and decisions resulting from particular incidents. Students grapple with different possibilities and consider the different perspectives of those involved in and affected by the bullying. Beginning first with students' ideas about bullying, Amy tries to find consensus in understanding when a line 'has been crossed' and actions become bullying. The class then watches a video to understand the impact that bullying has on one individual and discusses possible actions and outcomes for this situation. As students begin to grapple with different perspectives and ideas, they are asked to examine two case studies and answer questions that reflect multiple viewpoints about these two situations. Students reflect on the emotion involved when discussing bullying and recognize both the complexity and potential severity of the issue.
Students will work in small groups to cooperatively to complete a Fermi math problem. Fermi math challenges students to solve seemingly complicated questions using estimation, rounding, approximations, analytical thinking, creative thinking, communication, and technology skills. The students will investigate the driving question: If you wanted to send a valentine card to each person in the world next year:
• how many boxes of packaged valentines will you need to purchase?
• how much will it cost for you to purchase and mail all of the cards?
• if everyone in the world sent a valentine to everyone else in the world, how many valentines in total would be sent?
High school History teacher Avram Barlowe leads his class in a discussion of treason. Avram explains how students' comments and responses drive the content of his lessons and how he wants students to respond to texts both personally and analytically. Fellow teacher, Adam Grumbach points out how Avram poses questions to his students, taking one student comment and formulating two questions that differentiate and allow students to respond both personally and analytically. Throughout the video, we see Avram make conscious decisions during discussions that allow the students to determine the content of his class discussions.
Using an inquiry based approach has a profound effect on the depth and complexity of classroom discussions. In this video, students share how this is different than what they've previously experienced and we see teacher, Avram Barlowe, use primary source documents to drive discussions about freedom as it existed during Reconstruction following the Civil War. Recognizing that these documents describe both daily life and larger political and social ideas, Avram expects that the discussion will focus on both elements but will be largely driven by student comments and reactions to each text. In preparation for this inquiry based approach, Avram shares how he develops many questions that may never be used and must be ready to use students' comments and questions to facilitate the resulting discussion. Even though he knows ahead of time that there are specific issues that should be explored, he does not come into the discussion with specific answers or outcome for these issues. Avram sees the text as a vehicle in which the students can explore ideas that interest them and requires that students use multiple documents to challenge their thinking and extend their understanding of differing perspectives. In this way, students are prepared to not only discuss these ideas in this informal setting but are also prepared to read analytically and write about these ideas, considering multiple perspectives.
Students increase their media literacy skills by critically examining and revising junk mail.
In this activity, students are provided with a list of supplies that survived their plane's crash in the Amazon jungle. They will organize the supplies to classify which items are useful for surviving in the Amazon. Students will use estimation and basic math skills to determine how much they can carry and to decide on what items to bring with them to survive in the Amazon until they reach their destination.