Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
First Close Read: Key Ideas and Details
1. The teacher reads aloud both articles, "Pro/Con: Is Snowden a Hero or a Traitor?" (Mark Weisbrot and James Jay Carafano, McClatchy-Tribune News Service, via Newsela)
Before reading the articles, provide students with a purpose for reading. Ask students to look for/respond to the following questions:
- Who is Snowden?
- What did he do? In other words, what is Snowden being accused of based upon the article?
- In addition, identify areas which need clarifying (word level and phrases).
Students should follow along in the articles as the teacher reads aloud.
Student Responsibility: While listening to the articles, think about the two questions posted and be prepared to share with your partner afterward. Also, highlight any words or text that were difficult for you to understand.
2. After reading: Have students complete a short written response to the two questions. Then, have students share and discuss with their partner for 2-5 minutes. Partners will then write a 3-sentence response to the questions and share out their answers with the rest of the class.
Snowden is a former NSA contractor who leaked information, via the Internet, to the world that his agency (the NSA) was collecting information regarding specific individuals and organizations, both political and personal. Some feel it was an act of heroism; others think Snowden betrayed his country and is a traitor.
3. Display a chart with both questions, "Who is Snowden?" and "What is Snowden being accused of based upon the article?"
4. Call on pairs to share their written responses. The teacher may wish to record student responses on a chart for display. As students report out, the teacher should clarify when needed for accuracy.
5. Provide another chart labeled "Clarification."
Have students write down the words or phrases they highlighted during the read aloud on sticky notes, and then have students provide a possible definition or summary of the troubling words/phrases. Call students up to place sticky notes on the chart. While doing this, have students share the words/phrases which caused a stumbling block and how they came up with a possible definition or clarification. At this time, the teacher can clarify any misconceptions or incorrect definitions. Have all students record the correct meanings/understandings of the phrases presented on their articles in the margin near the identified word/phrase. This will ensure a better understanding as they read the articles for the second and third time.
6. The teacher may need to define the following terms for students/provide background information to place them in the correct context:
- surveillance state
- Banana Republic
- burgeoning military intelligence
- war on terror
- constitutional vs. unconstitutional
- totalitarian regime
- protection laws
Second Close Read: Craft and Structure
Paired students are assigned the following paragraphs to read:
Paragraph 1: In the opening paragraph, Mark Weisbrot states, "Edward Snowden is a courageous American hero and will be remembered as one long after the 'war on terror' is replaced by some other pretext for violating Americans' constitutional rights and the rest of the world's national sovereignty, privacy and, sometimes, security." Why does Mr. Weisbrot place the words war on terror in quotation marks? What does the author mean by "some other pretext for violating Americans' constitutional rights..."?
Paragraph 3: Who is the author referring to when stating "critical reporting"? What is the argument to support the NSA's actions according to this paragraph?
Paragraphs 5-11: According to the author, the NSA is identifying and investigating individuals or groups associated with terrorism. In paragraph 6, the author states, "However, there is a mountain of evidence that this massive data-gathering is in fact being used against citizens who are involved in constitutionally protected activity, such as political organizing and public education." Reading through paragraph 11, give examples of some of the ways the NSA is abusing its power according to the author.
Paragraphs 14 and 15: What entity is the author implicating in the 14th and 15th paragraphs as an authority with more power than our president and elected officials? Why does the author think this a concern? What is the significance of sharing this information?
Paragraphs 3 and 4: How does the example of the Aussies and the Indonesian intelligence services help support the author's claim that Snowden did more harm than good?
Paragraphs 6 and 7: What did you learn about nations ranked at the top of the "Index of Freedom in the World"? According to the author, Jay Carafano, how did Snowden cause more damage to the nations ranked at the top of the Freedom House? Why is this important for his argument?
Paragraph 10: What does the author mean by "ordered liberty"? Why is this significant to his argument?
Paragraphs 12 - 15: What analogy does the author use regarding Snowden and his actions?
After students have reread and answered the questions, the class will participate in a Philosophical Chairs activity based on the following question:
Which author, Mark Weisbrot or James Jay Carafano, presented the strongest evidence regarding the Edward Snowden controversy, and what arguments specifically convinced you of his innocence or guilt?
Teachers might wish to use this link for Philosophical Chairs Rules of Engagement with students.
Teachers can also use this link for a Philosophical Chairs Report and this link for a Philosophical Chairs Rubric to assess students' participation.
Classroom Discussion: The teacher will be able to gather information regarding student understanding through discussion of the video clip and the Anticipation Guide. Specifically, the teacher is looking to see if students have issues with privacy as a whole.
Partner Discussion/Chart Responses/Written Responses
The teacher will be able to gain insight to the students' understanding of the text through listening to student conversation while in partners, the written responses, and most importantly through the class discussion while posting on the chart regarding: Who is Edward Snowden? What did he do? and the clarification process with unknown words and phrases.
Paired student work and written responses, as well as observation of discussion during Philosophical Chairs.
The teacher will be able to assist with partner discussions to ensure answers are accurate and based upon textual evidence. For example, as the teacher is circulating around the room listening to conversations, he/she is listening for students answering the questions using information from the article. If that is missing the teacher could probe, "Where did you read that in the text?" or "What did you read that made you come to that conclusion?" The teacher will also encourage students to record (written responses) where specific evidence was found and why it is important for the case for or against Snowden; this will assist students when participating in the Philosophical Chairs discussion. While facilitating the Philosophical Chairs discussion, the teacher is listening for the student's ability to adequately defend his/her stance based on evidence from the readings. Teacher "look-fors" would be statements such as, "When I read Paragraph 2 of the Pro section, I..." or, "The author Jay Carafano states..."
Feedback to Students
Students receive feedback after the video clip, the Anticipation Guide, and each reading of the text. All are formative assessments; therefore, the teacher is observing and providing feedback through discussion with individual students or the class as a whole.
Specifically for the assigned written responses during the second reading, the teacher can also provide written feedback on the students' actual responses. This feedback will enhance the Philosophical Chairs discussion, which, in turn, will enhance the essay (summative assessment). The purpose of the written feedback from the teacher is to ensure the students have a solid understanding of the arguments for and against Snowden and have cited the location of specific information in their written responses.
Allow time for a break after the partner discussion and written responses so the teacher can provide written feedback before the Philosophical Chairs discussion. Allow students to review the feedback, ask for clarification, and have time for corrections. This is the perfect time to share with students how the specific information they have in their notes (answers to questions) will assist them when discussing the case for Snowden during Philosophical Chairs, which is the next step. By doing this, you are providing scaffolding to the students to ensure an intelligent discussion.