Comparing Author’s Point of View

You know tech integration has reached a new level when you brainstorm ideas far and wide for the perfect CoETAIL project, only to realize that a bunch of lessons from the last few weeks (conveniently catalogued on my blog) will suffice. Bragging over; my main point is that CoETAIL has brought the academic world into my classroom in real ways.

This is Humanities 7′s first year of implementing the Common Core State Standards. One standard that sounded appealing was CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.6 (Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author distinguishes his or her position from that of others.) Teaching and assessing this standard became more daunting, but having a 1:1 iPad program made it reasonable to integrate media from around the world into

I started with an obvious example of difference:
-1955 Marlboro tobacco ad, available on YouTube
-The Truth campaign commercial about the dangers of smoking
We viewed both ads, and verbally sketched out how different the points of view were expressed.

Next, we moved on to a more difficult example:
-Government of China website’s description of system of government
-News story (video) from Al Jazeera media showing a small town election in China
This involved a lot of scaffolding. We read the Chinese description first, and students predictably did not have much to identify. Then we watched the Al Jazeera video, which more clearly expressed the point of view that “Chinese citizens do not have real choice in selecting their government leaders.” We looked back at the Chinese description, and I highlighted on my SmartBoard key words like cooperation and democratic, and students were able to find the contrast.

Finally, students independently looked for contrast between:
-Newsela The Associated Press (more on that) article on Saudi Arabian women and the right to drive
-Editorial from Arab News (a Saudi Arabian newspaper) about Saudi women and driving
Some worked independently, while a group that struggled with the concept stuck with me as we worked through it on the SmartBoard.

Overall, the availability of resources from different global sources clearly illustrated author’s point of view and bias. Best of all, with the iPad, this type of lesson is easy to design for any day. Students interacted with diverse forms of media. The lesson was engaging and interesting. It hit that Venn diagram sweet spot of content, pedagogy and technology perfectly (TPAC) and met the skills and standards we promised to deliver in our UbD unit.
One additional piece to share: Newsela articles can be adjusted to lexile levels from 3rd through 10th grade, allowing easy differentiation. (Using current events, reading level has always been the primary challenge.) Additionally, some articles have Common Core-linked quizzes that students can take upon completing, and the results are sent to the teacher’s Newsela account. All for free! An amazing find, thanks to my co-teacher Amy Minkley.


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