Tuesday, October 18, 2012

Clear Learning Targets
  • I can cite textual evidence to support my analysis of what the text says.
  • I can cite textual evidence to support my analysis of inferences I draw from the text.
  • I can write a well-structured narrative.
  • I can contribute to both my pod and whole class discussions.

Essential Questions
  • What is prejudice?
  • Who discriminates and why?

Activating Activity/Pod Talk (5 minutes): Work in your pods to discuss essential question number 2 above, Who discriminates and why?, that we will explore during this unit. Be ready to share your responses.

60-second Shout Out: Share out information you discussed during pod talk.

Read and Focus: As you read the passage below silently...

Choose the most important word, phrase, or sentence.


Eve Shalen, a high-school student, reflected on her need to belong.

My eighth grade consisted of 28 students most of whom knew each other from the age of five or six. The class was close-knit and we knew each other so well that most of us could distinguish each other’s handwriting at a glance. Although we grew up together, we still had class outcasts. From second grade on, a small elite group spent a large portion of their time harassing two or three of the others. I was one of those two or three, though I don’t know why. In most cases when children get picked on, they aren’t good at sports or they read too much or they wear the wrong clothes or they are of a different race. But in my class, we all read too much and didn’t know how to play sports. We had also been brought up to carefully respect each other’s races. This is what was so strange about my situation. Usually, people are made outcasts because they are in some way different from the larger group. But in my class, large differences did not exist. It was as if the outcasts were invented by the group out of a need for them. Differences between us did not cause hatred; hatred caused differences between us.

The harassment was subtle. It came in the form of muffled giggles when I talked, and rolled eyes when I turned around. If I was out in the playground and approached a group of people, they often fell silent. Sometimes someone would not see me coming and I would catch the tail end of a joke at my expense.

I also have a memory of a different kind. There was another girl in our class who was perhaps even more rejected than I. She also tried harder than I did for acceptance, providing the group with ample material for jokes. One day during lunch I was sitting outside watching a basketball game. One of the popular girls in the class came up to me to show me something she said I wouldn’t want to miss. We walked to a corner of the playground where a group of three or four sat. One of them read aloud from a small book, which I was told was the girl’s diary. I sat down and, laughing till my sides hurt, heard my voice finally blend with the others. Looking back, I wonder how I could have participated in mocking this girl when I knew perfectly well what it felt like to be mocked myself. I would like to say that if I were in that situation today I would react differently, but I can’t honestly be sure. Often being accepted by others is more satisfying than being accepted by oneself, even though the satisfaction does not last. Too often our actions are determined by the moment.


Pod Talk: Share out with your pod what you think the most important word, phrase or sentence is in this passage. Choose one response from your team to share during the 60-second shout out.

Rereading Activity: Have one member of your pod read the passage aloud. Look for textual evidence to answer the following question:

What kind of person is Eve?

Pod Talk: Following the reading, discuss the question:

What kind of person is Eve? Cite textual evidence to support your response.

Reading Activity: Experiencing Prejudice Centuries Ago ~ In your pods, read the passage below and discuss the questions that follow.

Shylock: He hath disgraced me, and
hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses,
mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my
bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine
enemies; and what's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath
not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with
the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as
a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison
us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not
revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will
resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian,
what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian
wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by
Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you
teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I
will better the instruction.
-- Merchant of Venice, Act III, scene i, 49-68

Pod Talk: Take 10 minutes to answer the following questions referring back to the text.

  1. What do you know about Shylock based on this speech?

  2. What does the word sufferance mean? How do you know? What about "villany"?

  3. Why does Shylock pose such a long series of questions? What point is he trying to make?

  4. If you were going to break this passage into paragraphs, what would be the most logical place or places to create new paragraphs? Explain.

  5. What kind of person it Shylock based on the text?

Listening Activity: A Little History Lesson: Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice

  1. What kind of person do you think Shylock is after hearing some background on the play?

Viewing Activity: After viewing the actor Al Pacino as Shylock, answer the following questions in your pod:

  1. What do you gain from watching the video that is different from the reading you did?

  2. At the beginning of the clip, Shylock is asked what he will do with Antonio's pound of flesh, he says he will use it to "bait fish withal." What does he mean by that? What can we infer from this statement?

  3. Does the clip make you feel more or less sympathetic toward Shylock? Why?


Writing Assignment Overview: You will be writing a 2-3 minute speech to deliver to the class. You may write the speech from your own point-of-view or choose the perspective of another person who faces some sort of prejudice. Take a look at the rubric attached below to check out the criteria on which your peers and your teacher will evaluate your speech.

What Makes A Good Speech: Check out this website for speech-writing tips!

7th Grade Speech Rubric

Getting Started

Speech Writing Step 1 ~ Choosing a Topic: In your pods, brainstorm as many examples as you can of individuals or groups who face some sort of prejudice. After we create a class list, you will choose your topics and move to topic alike groups.

Speech Writing Step 2 ~ Brainstorming: Once in topic groups, brainstorm some of the main points you will want to make as a group. Take individual notes on these points so that you can choose points later that you will use in your speech.

Homework: Pre-Writing and Research

Speech Writing Step 3 ~ Finding Reliable and Accurate Information: Think about some places where we might find accurate and reliable information to use to make strong arguments in your speech. Bring in three ideas for where we could find information tomorrow.

Today's Food for Thought


Optional Viewing: Watch some of these great speeches to get some ideas about what makes a good speech.