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This lesson is part of a larger unit on World War II and the Holocaust. Our shared text for this unit is Elie Wiesel's Night. Students will also be working in literature circles, however, to read books from this period on their own. Our strategy focus is writing responses to short-answer questions. Students will also discuss propaganda, audience, purpose, and point of view. In today's lesson, students practice MLA citation in preparation for responding to short-answer questions. Students also continue their reading of Elie Wiesel's Night. This resource is part of the World War II and the Holocaust Unit collection.
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Group Size: Any
Time Required: 60 - 90 minutes
Learning Objective: Students will be able to use MLA citation to respond to a short-answer question
Student Worksheet #8 (attached)
Overhead transparencies of questions and student notes (attached)
Independent Practice sheet (attached)
Post-it notes (so that students can code their novels)
Night by Elie Wiesel (one copy for each student)
Do Now: (S will complete today's Do Now, which is a Venn diagram comparing "gestapo" and "ghetto." After allowing students five minutes of independent work time, T should recreate the diagram on the board and ask students to share out their thoughts.)
Connection: Today is an important day. We've been talking about how to respond to open-ended questions and we've been practicing using our whole-class novel, Night. Today we're going to take our writing to the next level by learning how to properly cite the text so that we can back up our responses with evidence for the text.
Let me show you what I mean.
Direct Instruction / Guided Practice: In class yesterday, you had to plan a response to this open-ended question (Show overhead of open-ended questions, revealing only the first question. Review students' planning decisions and topic sentences.)
Whenever we respond to short-answer questions, we need to support our ideas with some kind of evidence. Certainly this isn't a foreign concept; you must do the same thing when you write persuasive essays. In writing a persuasive essay, you were likely taught that you could tell anecdotes, give statistics, or give details to prove your point. In persuasive writing, all of these things count as "evidence." In short-answer questions that require you to respond to literature, however, there is only one type of evidence that is truly indisputable, and that is citing the text itself. When you have questions like this--"What does Moishe see while he is in captivity?"--that require you to recall something from the novel, it won't do to tell an anecdote or provide your reader with statistics. You will need to support your response with evidence from the text itself. Here is how you do it...
First, you find your evidence.
I found my response to this question on page 6 of the text, so please turn to page 6 with me. (Allow time.)
My opening sentence, which is essentially my topic sentence, says this (T will write response on the board to model the process.): "Moishe the Beadle, the spiritual leader of the community of Sighet, changes significantly after being captured by the Hungarian police." What I need to do is find some evidence on page 6 that will help me to explain my response to this first question: What does Moishe see?
Who can help me out? (Take reasonable responses. Students will likely point to multiple paragraphs on page 6.)
I can't cite all of this. If I did, I'd be copying down a whole page of text! So, for the most part, I'm going to explain what Moishe saw in my own words, being careful not to plagiarize, and then I'm only going to cite what I think is the most important information. In this case, I actually think that citing the part about how the Gestapo shot the infants might be most important to my response, because the bigger question I'm being asked is how Moishe changes as a result of what he sees. No doubt seeing all of grownups murdered must have changed him, but if I were Moishe, I would be most disturbed, most affected, most changed by seeing what happened to the babies.
Again, my own words come first, and I must be very careful not to plagiarize. (T records the next sentence on the board, after the topic sentence.) "Moishe was taken by train to a forest to be shot. The Gestapo forced the train's passengers to dig their own graves, then methodically killed each passenger. They even killed infants."
I've paraphrased what I've read, being very careful not to plagiarize.
But now I'm actually going to cite evidence, which means I'm going to quote the book itself.
When you're going to cite the text itself, you want to introduce the quotation in your own words and ends your words with a comma. There are many ways to do this. One easy way to do that is to say, "Moishe states that," or "Moishe explains that," or "As Moishe states." I'm going to do it like this; "Moishe states that," (T records this on the board.)
Now I've paved the way to actually cite the text. I'm going to take that sentence about how the infants were thrown into the air and shot, and I'm going to actually quote it or cite it in my paragraph. You do that by marking the quotation with quotation marks.
That would look like this... "Moishe states that, ‘Infants were tossed into the air and used as targets for machine guns' " (T records this on the board.)
I want to draw your attention to something else here. I've started the quotation with a capital letter. That's important. You always start the quotation with a capital letter.
You should also notice that I haven't added punctuation yet. You don't want to add it yet because the punctuation goes after you record the page number. The end of my cited evidence will look like this. "(6)." (T records this on the board.)
The way you end your quotation is to record the page number in parenthesis and finally add end punctuation to your sentence.
Now I have a great opening sentence which we learned to create yesterday, and I've backed it up with concrete evidence from the novel. No one can argue with my response because I've pulled it right from the text.
Let's make sure that you have these simple steps for citing evidence recorded in your notes for today. (T will switch out overhead transparency for the transparency of student notes and review each step with S as S complete the guided notes at their seats.)
This is a lot of information for one day, so your reading for today is extremely short. You'll read a little, write a little, read a little, write a little. Let's complete the first bit together on pages 23-24. (T will read together with S to the break on page 24 and then direct S to respond to the question on the back of their notes. Dependent with student comfort with MLA citation, T will decide whether he/she wishes to work through this question with S or whether S are prepared to work in partners. If S are ready for partner work, T should share out responses after allowing S sufficient independent work time. The question is also printed on the overhead transparency of short-response questions for easy share-out.)
Link: It's very important that you do today's tasks in order. Check out the "Link" section of your notes to review what you should be doing today. (Share out "Links" and distribute independent practice sheets.)
Independent Practice: (S read silently and code the text. T may pair up students who would struggle alone.
After students have completed their assigned pages, they will respond to the open-ended question on the separate "Independent Practice" page.
Finally, they are welcome to move on to reading and coding their literature circle novels and pleasure-reading books. At this time, T should be free to hold Reader's Workshop conferences with individual students and/or pull small groups for guided reading or other interventions.)
Share:Our time for today is up. Please take a moment to share what you read and wrote with a person sitting near you. When you're done, you should be ready to share out how you wrote your response to the open-ended question. (Allow time.)
Let's touch base briefly about how you responded to today's open-ended question.
I have some special instructions for you first, though. I'm going to collect your responses and take a look at them to see if there are specific misconceptions we should address in class tomorrow. That means that, although we're going to share our work with each other right now, I do not want you to change what you have on your paper. If you change it to make it look like exactly what's on the board, I won't be able to see how you thought things through on your own. That means I shouldn't see pencils in hands as we're sharing out our responses. (Share out.)
(Collect independent practice.)
Closing: Today we read about the long trip Elie Wiesel, his family and his community members took in a cattle car to arrive at Auschwitz, and with that, we discussed how to cite evidence in response to open-ended questions.
And now it's time for Million Dollar Question.
1. Make a text-to-self connection. If you were on that train, what would you have done about Mrs. Schachter's screams and cries? (Accept reasonable answers. If there's time, feel free to probe as to why Mrs. Schachter would have been screaming about fire.)
2. When you cite evidence, where does the page number go? (Feel free to prompt students some, but ultimately we need to hear that it goes 1- after the quotation marks, 2- in parenthesis, 3- before end punctuation.)
3. (Note to the Instructor: Insert your own question here based upon objectives your students mastered up until this point in the year.)
4. Explain the first step in responding to an open-ended question.
Differentiation: Literature circle and pleasure reading novels are differentiated by reading level and by choice. Gradual release during Direct Instruction/Guided practice. Guided notes. Thoughtful pairing of students during Independent practice. Active reading strategy: coding the text. Independent Practice was collected for T review and misconception check prior to tomorrow's lesson.