Evaluation for 3.c.2
Materials engage students in productive teamwork and student-led discussions, in both formal and informal settings.
The materials engage students in productive teamwork and student-led discussions, in both formal and informal settings. Materials provide guidance and practice with grade-level protocols for discussion to express students’ own thinking. Materials also provide opportunities for students to give organized presentations/performances and speak in a clear and concise manner using the conventions of language.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Each selection has an “Analysis and Discussion” section, and there are directions in the margins that provide guidance: “Discuss your responses to the Analysis and Discussion question with your group. Listen actively to one another’s ideas. Reflect on and adjust your responses when your peers present valid, convincing evidence. Use clear, respectful language to respond appropriately. Adjust your communication as needed; for example, rephrase comments the group finds unclear.”
Unit 1 protocols for discussion are located in the student-directed learning portion called “Share Your Independent Learning.” Guidance and practice opportunities are present in the instructions to students prior to discussion; for example, in the “Prepare to Share” piece of the collaborative task, “One of the most important ways to respond to a text is to notice and describe your personal reactions.” Students are also asked in this same task to “Learn from Classmates” in the “Discuss” portion of the task, providing for a productive collaborative discussion.
In Unit 2, students are given guidance on engaging in student discourse. Students discuss, “If you see an injustice in your community, how might you start to change it?” The materials provide instructions on strategies to support meaningful discussion, which include listening actively, responding appropriately, and adjusting communication based on audience and purpose. Additionally, in Unit 2’s introduction, under the subheading “Icebreaker,” students are given two positions related to the unit’s theme of justice: “Social progress is possible only if you have a powerful leader” and “Social progress is possible only if it comes from the people.” Students are instructed by the materials to choose one of the positions and write down reasons that support their opinion. Students are then asked to find two other students who share their opinion, discuss the reasons behind their opinion, and choose the three strongest reasons that were discussed. Once all groups have posted their strongest reasons behind their chosen positions, guidance for a class discussion to evaluate the posted reasons’ validity is given.
Materials present a variety of ways to give presentations or speak publicly in class, either in whole-class discussions, peer-group conversations, or during opportunities to share independent learning and reading. Such tasks are present after each piece in various analysis, close-read, and inquiry-and-research components and tasks, and can be spoken, presented, written, or collaborative. It is not explicitly stated that these “Teach” section tasks need to focus on any single communication or presentation skill, but they could be extended or adapted to any of the five skill sets emphasized by the new TEKS.
In Unit 3, students could take tasks like the “Literary/Text Elements” section in the “Teach” part of the unit, following the text of Romeo and Juliet, Act 4. In this task, students are encouraged to have a debate where they “Take a Position”; students evaluate the traditional text and take a side: “Critical writings across centuries describe tragedies as sad but uplifting because they show the nobility of the human spirit. Do you think that is true of this play? Why or why not?”
In Unit 4’s “Share Ideas” section, under the subheading “Speaking and Listening,” students are given an assignment to hold a debate after reading The Odyssey, Part 2, by Homer. This assignment asks that students divide into two teams of lawyers and a panel of judges to debate the following question, “Should Odysseus be prosecuted for the murders of Penelope’s suitors?” Guidelines are given to assist students in engaging in discourse. These guidelines include listening actively to all participants, responding appropriately, and adjusting your communication to your audience.
Throughout the curriculum, students are also encouraged to frequently give presentations; they are challenged to keep their presentations concise, focused, and helpful to classmates for learning. Unit 5 contains instructions about reading and communicating in reference to the text as well as optional scaffolds for a performance task. The teacher guidance includes information on discussions: “Remind students that communicating and collaborating in groups is an important skill that they will use throughout their lives.” It also recommends that teachers “encourage students to do some preliminary thinking” about their poster presentation to help “focus their subsequent reading and group discussions.”