Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
The students will be able to:
- work cooperatively in groups, having a respectful discussion about how class/school rules are created.
- organize their thoughts in a well-developed newspaper article, paying close attention to point-of-view and audience, while maintaining a purposeful, slanted perspective.
- present a sound argument from the perspective of their assigned character, using evidence from the text to support their claims.
- take a clear position in writing about the suspension of a student, providing relevant evidence that supports the upholding of the punishment or the lifting of it.
- present claims and findings from the text that support their respective characters' opinions, while maintaining a clear voice and eye-contact during a whole-class debate.
- apply their speech, while in character, to different tasks and contexts, using a strong command of formal English.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
Students need to have read the entire novel Nothing but the Truth by Avi, and have an understanding of the plot, conflicts and character motivations before beginning this lesson.
Students should also:
- have a working understanding of persuasive technique.
- understand the roles of different personnel within a school (teachers, administrators, and other staff).
- know what PTSA stands for and understand the purpose of this organization.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
To what extent and how do students have first amendment rights in school?
Are students' rights restricted in this book?
Is a school rule enforceable if it is written as a memo?
Does anyone have the right to be "patriotic" in any situation? Should displays of patriotism always be allowed? What if they are disruptive (or dangerous)? Are there any times when patriotism should be restricted? Should students be forced to show patriotism (listening to the national anthem and/or saying the pledge of allegiance)?
Do school mandates sometimes conflict with teachers' or students' beliefs? In such cases, what do you think the teacher/student should do? What are some right ways and wrong ways to deal with this conflict?
How does the novel fall under the theme of justice and equality?
Ultimately, does Philip's punishment "fit the crime"?
What is your opinion about Dr. Palleni's handling of this situation? How could he have handled it better? What do you think your principal would do in this situation?
What are the moral and ethical implications of the final "verdict" in this case?
How do the characters in this book manipulate the information for their own personal reasons?
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
The "Hook" and Activation of Prior Knowledge
1. The teacher will first ask students how they think rules originate, what makes a legitimate rule, and what the difference is between a rule and a law.
2. Following this brief discussion, the teacher will arrange students in small groups and they will take approximately 15 minutes to answer questions about how and why school/classroom rules are enacted. Each group member will be assigned a job within the group and this will be recorded on the handout (attached).
3. Students will take another 15 minutes to draft a list of reasonable classroom rules (Part 2 on the handout). Within their groups, the students should read each drafted rule aloud, listening for proper syntax, word choice, and proper punctuation.
4. Each group will make a small presentation to the whole class where members explain five of their most important classroom rules, with accompanying consequences, conceived and written by that group on a large piece of poster board (possibly with color-coding, symbols, or illustrations).
5. The teacher then gives each student a copy of the first amendment, since this document is so central in Philip's premise for why he is innocent, and ask the class how this rule applies to the book and Philip's situation.
Introducing/Modeling the Concept or Skill
1. The teacher will assign each student a character from the book and ask that they assume the identity of that person for the rest of this lesson. The characters being impersonated include: Philip Malloy, Dr. Pallini, Ms. Narwin, Coach Jamison, Mr. and Mrs. Malloy, Mr. Lunser, and Philip's friends. NOTE: The same character will be assigned to multiple students and that is okay, since there will be unique approaches to those arguments.
2. The teacher may choose to model how to gather text evidence using Dr. Doane as his/her adopted character - a role he/she will assume in the culminating debate - following the procedure below.
3. Students will sit with all of the other students who were assigned the same character. These like-character groups will begin finding evidence in the novel regarding how their character feels about Philip's suspension.
4. The students can create two-column notes (columns labeled "What the Character Says"/"What the Character Does") and list a combination of direct quotes and paraphrased events which illustrate that particular character's stance on Philip Malloy's suspension from school. Students should write page numbers after each piece of evidence so they can return to and/or cite this evidence later. (attachment provided) Note: An active discussion among team members should be encouraged, though they will decide independently how they will frame their arguments.
5. The teacher can ask students: "Based on all of these behaviors you listed, state your character's position on the topic of Philip's suspension." This can be followed up with: "When you put all of these actions together, describe the personality of your character." (included on handout)
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
1. The teacher distributes copies of Jennifer Stewart's newspaper article from the book. (attached)
2. In small groups, students discuss where Jennifer got her information (who were her sources?).
3. The teacher conducts a discussion on how this article shows bias / how it is slanted. The teacher may want to point out that the "facts" in the article tell us who her sources were - this reveals the bias of the characters.
4. The teacher models how he/she can take the evidence he/she gathered about Dr. Doane and his attitude towards Philip's suspension to create a differently slanted article. In other words, if Jennifer had interviewed only Dr. Doane, how would she write the article? Note: The teacher could choose to write an actual model article here.
5. Students independently write their own slanted news article following the directions on the attached handout.
6. Students should also be given a copy of the rubric so they know how their article will be scored.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
1. Students will re-read what their characters stated or implied about the situation using their Two-Column Charts.
2. In preparation for the next day's debate, students will write a two-paragraph persuasive piece from their character's perspective. (assignment sheet attached)
3. Again, the teacher could choose to write a sample persuasive paragraph from Dr. Doane's perspective or to discuss with students how a persuasive piece is different from their Slanted News Article.
Note: As preparation for writing their persuasive paragraphs, teachers may choose to have students create a topical outline of what they will mention in their argument through the voice of their assigned character. The teacher can then provide more feedback prior to students writing the actual piece.
4. Students will now prepare for the summative assessment (see summative assessment section for specific details).
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
The teacher should go back to the guiding questions from this lesson and discuss them with the class now that they have thoroughly analyzed each character's attitude about Philip's suspension.
- Students will adopt the persona of their character for the purpose of attending a PTSA meeting.
- The teacher will engage the whole class in a mock debate about whether Philip Malloy should have been suspended from his school.
- As in a real PTSA meeting, each person will have their chance to speak. The teacher may choose to have all of the students who have adopted the same character speak one after the other, or to mix it up. Students who are the same character do not need to present unique arguments - anytime another student assigned to the same character wants to rephrase or reiterate points already made by the previous speaker, this is perfectly acceptable and can only bolster the argument. Students also have the freedom to make unscripted comments at appropriate moments, as long as those remarks are cogent and follow decorum. Students can also step out of character and ask the speaker about how they came to the conclusions they did about their character's attitude (what their text evidence is). (i.e. "What did Mrs. Malloy say or do in the book that leads you to this conclusion?")
- The teacher will not only be the moderator of this forum, but will also play the role of Dr. Doane, the principal, injecting principled remarks as needed.
- Students are allowed to use their persuasive paragraphs as a "script" of sorts, but should be encouraged to refrain from simply reading verbatim. Students will be assessed on eye contact, enthusiasm, elocution, persuasive argument, and organization. Note: Students should be provided with a copy of the rubric at least one day ahead so that they can practice using their paragraph as a resource to help them during the debate rather than a script to read verbatim.
The teacher will gather the following data on student progress throughout the lesson:
1. Classroom/School Rules Discussion: The teacher will circulate around the room and listen in on the thought processes of each group as they draft a list of classroom rules. The teacher will also listen as each group presents their rules to the class.
2. Gathering of Text Evidence: Students will be evaluated on the gathering of appropriate book evidence that either directly states or implies the positions of their respective characters. The teacher will circulate around the room while students are working in like-character groups, reviewing the evidence cited by students about their characters. He/she will be looking for a balanced number of character quotes and paraphrases that show what the character says and does. These examples will be checked for relevancy and factual support of the argument. Recommendations can be made for the elimination of less convincing points. Note: The teacher can decide what would be an acceptable number of examples, but perhaps a total of 10 (a combination of character words and actions) will suffice.
3. Slanted News Article: When students finish their Slanted News Article, the teacher will collect them. This will serve as a formative assessment as well. The teacher will learn through evaluating this written piece whether the students understand the bias that their character has towards the situation.
4. Persuasive Paragraph: When students begin writing their outlines, the teacher can check for a logical sequence of ideas, including two distinct reasons and examples written underneath. The teacher can also check that students are using text evidence to inform their choices. If the teacher skips the outline portion, he/she can still check for organization and text evidence in students' first drafts. Note: Students do not have to use Roman numerals when organizing the outline. Bullet points, letters, or numbers are acceptable, as long as students indent their ideas when they become more precise or fall under the main topics.
Feedback to Students
Delivery of Feedback:
1. Classroom/School Rules Discussion: During the discussion about school and classroom rules, the teacher might ask: "Is this rule written clearly enough?" Or "Simplify this rule because it may confuse some students." The teacher can also engage students in discussion about their rules as they present to the class and/or provide other feedback.
2. Gathering of Text Evidence: See above for feedback that the teacher can provide during class. The teacher may also choose to collect students' two-column charts and provide feedback to students on their text evidence the next day. This feedback could include written comments on individual student papers or general feedback to the entire class based on common strengths and weaknesses (missing evidence, missing page numbers, etc.)
3. Slanted News Article: The teacher can provide feedback to students on their Slanted News Article. While the teacher is going to eventually grade this portion using the attached rubric, he/she can also provide brief overnight written or verbal feedback so that students can correct any misunderstandings or add more evidence that they may have overlooked before progressing to the next portion of the lesson.
4. Persuasive Paragraph: The teacher can give verbal feedback in class on students' outlines and/or first drafts, focusing on elements that are on the scoring rubric such as organization and use of text evidence. The teacher could also choose to collect outlines and/or drafts and provide written feedback to students the next day. The teacher could also read the outlines and/or drafts and provide general tips to the entire class based on common strengths and/or weaknesses before students produce a final draft for assessment.