COMMON CORE STANDARDS
Reading Informational Text
RI.7.9 Analyze how two or more authors writing about the same topic shape their presentations of key information by emphasizing different evidence or advancing different interpretations of facts.
DESCRIPTION OF LESSON
This Grade 7 lesson “Current Events in Africa” by Shane Freeman for LEARN NC is intended to be completed in 3 hours of ELA/Literacy instruction. The lesson plan is designed as a starting point for teaching research and analysis as students expand their understanding of cultures. In this lesson, students find two news stories about a current event in Africa: one from an American media source and one from an African media source. They compare the two to gain an understanding of cultural bias and perspective. Students research using the Internet, write, and share their findings with their classmates. A variety of culminating tasks is provided to allow for the many ways this lesson could be used.
Connecticut teachers should be aware that the website, as well as the teacher notes and preparation materials, will require familiarity to be used effectively. Speaking and Listening and Writing standards are not listed and should be added since student presentations and writing are integral to the lesson. If the lesson is used in a social studies classroom, Reading and Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Socials Studies will need to be added. In order to facilitate rich and vigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts, instruction would be enhanced by more scaffolding, teacher modeling, and graphic organizers to help students build the skills necessary for independence and deeper comprehension. To meet the varied needs of students, supports and accommodations may be needed. Assessment guidelines are vague; an aligned CCSS rubric to provide sufficient guidance for interpreting student performance is suggested. Student computers with Internet access and/or current newspapers and magazines containing articles about Africa are needed to implement the plan as intended. Depending on the culminating task selected, additional instructional time may be required.
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION
The lesson is a useful example of how to provide for authentic learning, application of literacy skills, student-directed inquiry, analysis, evaluation, and/or reflection. The lesson is designed to teach students how to develop their own understanding of an issue and the perspectives of members of the culture that they are studying through research and the use of current events. This lesson can be repeated throughout the year as the country/world focus changes in the curriculum. The use of technology allows flexibility for teachers as they plan and deliver their instruction. A live link to newspapers and news sites around the world is provided below.