This quarter, the 7th graders read and studied To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. First, students partook in the K-W-L activity (What you KNOW, What you WANT to know, & what you have LEARNED) after reading an excerpt from the novel. Each week, students read assigned chapters and answered novel unit guide questions that acted as a formative.
A class discussion ensued on the major themes of the novel. Subsequently, groups were assigned chapters in which they created theme bank posters using evidence from the novel.
To review for the summative, students played a series of Kahoot games on the plot, setting, themes, and characters of the novel.
Students were led through the speechwriting process and learned about ethos, pathos, and logos. Afterwards, were asked to reflect how Atticus used these three rhetorical elements during the trial in To Kill a Mockingbird.
Students wrote, practiced, and presented their speeches to the class.
Students then reviewed for the final exam and watched the 1962 film of To Kill a Mockingbird during the last week of school.
This quarter, the 9th graders learned about satire and society. First, students were oriented and guided on the cause and effect essay. Students had an option of selecting a topic from a list or generating their own with guidance from the teacher. The students were guided through the outlining and first draft process of the cause and effect essay.
Students took notes on the background to Voltaire’s Candide and the characteristics of a satire while watching a short documentary. Examples of satire in various media were then shown and discussed as a class through a competitive game.
To review Candide’s storyline and sequence of events, students filled out a detailed plot diagram. Within the next two weeks, the teacher discussed each chapter of Candide while students took notes on the summary, analysis, textual evidence, and themes.
In groups, students presented mini-reports based on their assigned chapters.
After they revised, edited, and submitted their cause and effect essay, they prepared for their oral defense and were given a series of practice questions to respond to regarding their research.
After their oral assessment, students reviewed for final exams.
This unit began with students choosing one of the speeches listed from “The 20 Most Inspiring Speeches in Film” by The Telegraph. From their chosen speech, they had to watch, analyze, and present it to the rest of the class paying close attention to purpose, audience, rhetorical techniques, and overall effectiveness of the speech. Students consulted with the teacher who provided them with feedback before their presentation. While students presented, the classmates wrote down comments in a peer evaluation sheet provided by the teacher.
The Chosen Inspiring Speech segued into the Global Issue Speech (the final assessment of the semester) in which students had to select a topic from the following list of global issues:
Lack of economic opportunity and employment
Inequality (income, discrimination)
Government accountability and transparency/corruption
Food and water security
Lack of education
Climate change/destruction of nature
If students wanted to select an alternative topic for their global issue, it had to be approved by the teacher. They also had an option of making a presentation through Google Slides, PowerPoint, Prezi, poster, or props, or alternative approved visual for their visual aid to their speech. Once proposals were approved, they began researching their chosen topic. The following week, they were required to submit a reference list of at least four credible sources, with the attached summaries. In their speech, students had to integrate 5-8 rhetorical techniques, the persuasive techniques, and the presentation tips that they’ve learned into their speech. They also had to incorporate evidence from their research into their argument and had to pay close attention to purpose and audience. Furthermore, students were required to cite their speech in APA format. Throughout the weeks, students consulted with the teacher who gave them feedback on their sources, outlines, and first drafts. They revised their speeches based on feedback and rehearsed their speeches well enough until most of the content was memorized. Students submitted their final paper and delivered their speeches along with their visual presentation. The final paper served as a summative assessment, while the actual speech presentation served as their final exam. While each student presented, the classmates wrote down their comments in a peer evaluation sheet provided by the teacher.
For the last week of the semester, the Global Issue final paper and actual speech presentation marks were returned, and the teacher reviewed the performances with each student one-on-one. The unit ended with a series of documentary films on public speaking.