In this lesson, students are engaged in a shared inquiry about a piece of text, "A Game of Catch." To begin the lesson, the teacher poses an open-ended question and requires students to write down their thinking and opinion about the question, using text evidence to support their opinion. After the initial writing, students spend the majority of the lesson discussing key points from the text that support their opinions. After the discussion ends, students have an opportunity to write again about their opinions. In some cases, the powerful discussion and text evidence has changed students' minds. The teacher does a particularly excellent job of including everyone, scaffolding when necessary, and placing the cognitive lift on the students.
Addresses ELA/Literacy Common Core State Standards: R.L.5.1, W.5.1, SL.5.1, SL.5.3
Text-Based Disagreement During Discussion (Guidarelli)Download
1A, 2B, 3D: The teacher explains the process of close reading the class has already done and poses a text-dependent question for the day's discussion. From minute one, he expects that all students write about the text using evidence to support their thinking. Students are engaged in the work and the teacher narrates excellence from a few students so others know what to do.
2A, 2B, 3B, 3D: The first speaker begins talking about the text using his own thinking as a guide, reading the part of the text that proves his point, and explaining how this supported his point of view. The teacher reminds him that he should use the text to guide his thinking and requires him to report out where he is finding the evidence so that everyone else can follow. The teacher upholds this expectation throughout he discussion that follows; the students are passionate and perseverant about what they believe about the text, while being respectful, and the question is sufficiently complex and open-ended to require true analysis and thinking in order to answer it.
2D, 3A, 3C: The teacher asks a series of clarifying questions to bring students' thinking to a deeper level. Each time the discussion begins to become repetitive, he asks another question to further their analysis, and the students continue to provide evidence to support their thinking.
2B, 3A: Students have clearly articulated opinions about the text and are using the text to support their opinions. The students are so passionate about their opinions that they are starting to talk over each other, and the teacher reminds them to abide by the rules of their discussion so that everyone is able to be heard.
2C, 3B: Students discuss their opposing viewpoints about the text, using particular words and phrases to prove their thinking, while continuing to be respectful with t their disagreements.
3D: A student tries to explain her opinion but is having difficulty communicating her entire thought. The teacher asks clarifying questions so that the student gives a precise answer. He then follows up with another question to lead the discussion even further.
3B: The teacher requires the student to explain her thinking further and expects her to use supporting evidence from the text.
2C, 3A, 3B: The students analyze the specific word choice of the author in order to interpret what really happened in the text, using textual evidence within the context of the story by making inferences about the characters.
3D: When the discussion becomes repetitive, the teacher presents another piece of evidence that they haven't noticed yet, asking them to make connections to what they have already discussed without doing any of the cognitive lift for them.
2D, 3C: The teacher asks a series of questions that brings students to a deeper understanding of the text, including themes and the author's word choice.
3A, 3C: A student changes his mind based on what another student said from the text, demonstrating the power of a productive, text-based discussion. The students continue to discuss their various points about the text for the rest of the discussion.
3B, 3C, 3D: A student makes an interesting point about the main character that initially receives a lot of pushback; the teacher reframes the conversation and follows up with her, helping her form the defense of her position, which is actually a complex analysis of the character's actions.
2C, 3C: A student uses textual evidence from two different parts of the text to prove his thinking, making connections across pages and ideas to get to a deeper understanding about the character's actions. Others initially disagree, but follow-up with engaged comments.
2B, 2D, 3C: The teacher brings an end to the discussion and leads students into a writing task, asking them write down their answer to the question after the discussion, using textual evidence and other people's arguments to support their thinking about the text. By completing this both before and after the discussion, students can see how their ideas have developed after collaboration and deep exploration of the text.
1A: The teacher ends the lesson by having students share their writing and thinking with partners so that they can have a more involved conversation about the text. He begins the lesson by having students write about the text; the students spend the entire lesson talking about the text, and then it wraps up with students doing more writing and sharing about the text, including whether or not their ideas or opinions have changed.