Slice of Life 2013

Slice of Life #2013: Day 12 You Say You Want a Revolution?

on March 12, 2013

Slice of Life

I’m participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Stacey Shubitz and Ruth Ayres at Two Writing Teachers

Today in class we (finally) started Unit 4: You Say You Want a Revolution? This unit is part of a series of theme-based (and common core aligned) units that I co-wrote with one of my colleagues for our county’s 7th grade language arts curriculum.

As is the case with all of our other units, we begin with a “circle discussion” where students respond to a series of statements about the theme of the unit. I usually run two circle discussions per class, with about 10-12 students in each group.

During the discussion, I take notes about who’s sharing, what they’re sharing, and occasionally pipe in to ask a question, to encourage someone to explain their response, or to challenge an opinion.

Of all the different learning activities we do in language arts class, the students absolutely love “Discussion Day.”

When I inform them that we are having circle discussions, they are all abuzz. They love to talk about the topic and have for the most part been able to hold “academic conversations” on a variety of themes. Of course, there are some students who are better at it than others, and some are more serious, others a bit self-conscious. We have been holding these discussions since the beginning of the school year, and I have definitely seen improvement in their discussion skills.

Today students were responding to Circle Discussion Revolutionabout revolutions.

Usually I give each group two or three statements to respond to, but today I gave them all nine statements ahead of time and gave them a chance to jot down their thoughts on each prior to the discussion.
At the start of each group I review the rules for discussion (e.g. only one person speaks at a time, acknowledge the previous speaker before moving on to your thoughts, give everyone a chance to speak, etc.).

Today’s discussion was quite lively. Most students were aware of what a revolution is and could give examples from social studies to support their opinions. The discussions began with talk of war, bloodshed (what exactly is bloodshed?) and revolt of the oppressed. Some groups ventured into the Industrial and Technological Revolutions.

Things got really interesting when a one boy talked about revolutions that occur within an individual. The kids were puzzled at first but then a few caught on and agreed that revolution could occur within a person. That a person could undergo major changes if he/she decided it was the thing to do. Some suggested that it was this personal revolution that was necessary to spark the larger societal revolution.

So much food for thought.

Tomorrow, students will grapple with this text and then listen to this.
We will continue to explore the meaning of “revolution” in its many forms—political, societal, technological, cultural, industrial, and yes, individual revolution.

Perhaps my student was on to something?

I think this is going to be an interesting unit!


3 responses to “Slice of Life #2013: Day 12 You Say You Want a Revolution?

  1. Cathy says:

    Interesting, “personal revolution that was necessary to spark the larger societal revolution.” Kids are amazing. I think we could discuss this for quite some time.

  2. This sounds like an awesome discussion! I love when students bring up some observation or insight that had never occurred to me.

    I wanted to let you know I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award and look forward to checking out more of your posts 🙂

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