Position Writing - "Is the Bulldog Doomed?"

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SWBAT determine on a point of view about dog breeding to write a position paper.

Big Idea

Whose Side Are You On Anyway?

Anticipatory Set

10 minutes

I begin the class by asking students to partner up and discuss what they know and how they feel about dog breeding. I know from past experience that some students are quite knowledgeable and have some strong opinions about this topic. I also know that a majority of the students know very little about the topic. I like starting with this partner discussion because I see a wide variety of conversations that happen and the students support one another as they work to establish and/or cultivate a solid perspective. When I pair the students up, I do so by asking the students to rate their own personal understanding of the issue of dog breeding. I do this with a simple 1-3 scale where 1 means they know little to nothing at all about it and 3 means they feel they know quite a bit. I then try to balance out the pairs evenly to ensure there are no pairs where neither partner knows little to nothing about it. 

Once students have discussed the issue in their pairs, I ask for a few people to give a brief summary of what their partner said. This is a good way to get the students to branch out and potentially become exposed to divergent opinions, but it also allows me to include an added element of accountability. 

Instructional Input

15 minutes

I then take the next few minutes of the class period to take the students on a short journey of images on the SmartBoard. I show pictures of different dog breeds, some from decades ago, and some from recent years. As they look at the images, they are expected to look for elements in each breed that remain consistent and elements that have changed over time. It works just fine to have them use the Bulldog T-Chart  to take notes on. 

Regardless of the position they have established, if they have even done so at this point, the students tend to recognize changes through time that they did not anticipate and, sometimes, that they find to be pretty surprising. Some great breeds to check out are St. Bernards, daschunds, boxers, and bulldogs. From what I have found in my own personal research, many of the most well-known breeds have changed quite a bit in the last 50-100 years, so most of them would work for this part of the lesson.

Once we have gone through this process, I ask the students to share some of the things they wrote on their T-Charts. As a student mentions something, I make sure to ask the other students to give me a thumbs up if they also made the same or a similar note. 

Independent Practice

30 minutes

I then have the students work independently to read the Is the Bulldog Doomed Article that relates to the topic we have been building thus far. When they have finished, I have them do some work with the vocabulary from the article using the Bulldog Vocab worksheet. 

I make sure to move throughout the room and engage the students as necessary, but only after they have finished reading the article for the first time through. 

After students have completed the vocabulary activity, with the remaining time in class, I as them to read over the story one more time to determine how their improved understanding of the vocabulary terms translates to improved comprehension of the text as well.