Analyzing Interactions: Launching the Unit | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G7:M4A:U2:L1

Analyzing Interactions: Launching the Unit

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text. (RI.7.3)
  • I can evaluate the credibility and accuracy of each source. (W.7.8)

Supporting Targets

  • I can use close reading strategies to determine the details of the AAP recommendation for children's screen time.
  • I can evaluate the credibility and accuracy of the AAP recommendation.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Reader's Notes for AAP Recommendation
  • Answers to Text-Dependent Questions for the Excerpts from the AAP Recommendation
  • Thinking Log


AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Unpacking Learning Targets/Introducing the Triad Talk (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Close Read/Jigsaw: The AAP Recommendation for Screen Time (25 minutes)

B. Review AAP Recommendation Process/Introduce Prompt (5 minutes)

C. Mini Lesson: Credible Sources (5 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Is the AAP Recommendation a Credible Source? (5 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Fill in neurologist's notebook #6.

B. Continue independent reading (at least 20 minutes).

  • This is the first lesson in a full unit arc that scaffolds background knowledge, research skills, and note-taking toward a final written argument in which students will present a position on whether the American Academy of Pediatrics should increase its recent recommendation for screen time for children from two hours to four hours. Preview Lessons 13-19 in particular, to understand the writing that students will be asked to do, so it is clear how their reading in the first half of the unit scaffolds them toward success with this writing task.
  • This first lesson lays the foundation for the rest of the unit and launches a number of key routines.
  • First, students examine the actual AAP recommendation. They then look at the process the AAP uses to create its recommendations. This not only gives authenticity to the unit, but also highlights the importance of evidentiary argument in real-world applications. Finally, the writing prompt is introduced. The prompt will be posted as an anchor chart for reference throughout the unit. The same prompt is formally given to the students in Lesson 13 as the basis for developing their positions.
  • The texts used in this lesson from the AAP are authentic, which is important in order for students to understand the real overarching issues of screen time. However, the texts also are very complex, ranging in Lexile measures from approximately 1100 (subsections) to 1700 (the introduction). The lesson builds in a scaffolded close read and peer support as students work through these texts, but bear in mind that more support may be needed. As always, use your professional judgment as to how these texts are used: given the needs of your students, consider chunking the texts more, or allowing more time.
  • Later, in Lesson 2, students will begin reading, taking notes, and evaluating their research in earnest.
  • To orient students to the location of certain portions of the text, consider numbering the paragraphs on printouts of the PDF This also will help students keep track of text they can use to answer the text-dependent questions.
  • This lesson also introduces a speaking protocol, Triad Talks, which will be used to begin to prepare students for the Speaking and Listening Standards that will be assessed at the end of the unit (in Lesson 16). Although the Common Core Standards focus mainly on reading and writing, it is essential for students to be able to listen and speak effectively as well; this skill is especially important when orally outlining an argument and evidence to support it. Consider whether student triads will be standing groups of three or rotating groups.
  • In this lesson, students are also introduced to the Assessing Sources document. This serves as a guide as they locate and gather information from Internet sources. Consider keeping extra copies on hand for those who would benefit from using it as a concrete checklist.
  • In the Closing, collect the independent reading homework students that completed in Unit 1, Lesson 10. Review this to get feedback as to whether the students have chosen books that are a good match for their abilities and interests.
  • For independent reading throughout this unit, students may continue to read their self-selected books. Or some students may choose to re-read the articles that the class read together in lessons.
  • In advance:

-   Consider how to group students into triads for Triad Talks.

-   Review Jigsaw protocol (see Appendix); an adapted version of this is used in Work Time A.

  • Post:

-   Position Paper Prompt anchor chart.

-   Assessing Sources anchor chart.

-   Learning targets.


AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), pediatrician, screen time,

peer review, substantially, prosocial, penetration, necessitates, mitigate


  • Speaking and Listening anchor chart (new, teacher-created)
  • AAP Policy Statement: "Children, Adolescents, and the Media" (one per student)
  • Text-Dependent Questions: Introduction to the "AAP Policy Statement: Children, Adolescents, and the Media" (one per student)
  • Close Reading Guide: Introduction to the AAP Policy Statement: "Children, Adolescents, and the Media" (for teacher reference)
  • AAP Policy Statement note-catcher (one per student)
  • Explanation of the AAP Recommendation Process (one per student and one to display)
  • Document camera
  • Position Paper Prompt anchor chart (new, teacher-created)
  • Domain-Specific Vocabulary anchor chart (from Unit 1, Lesson 1)
  • Assessing Sources document (one per student and one to print and ideally enlarge as anchor chart)
  • Assessing Sources anchor chart (see above)
  • Neurologist's notebook #6 (one per student)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Unpacking Learning Targets/Introducing the Triad Talk (5 minutes)

  • Greet students and arrange them into triads.
  • Direct their attention to the learning targets:

*    "I can use close reading strategies to determine the details of the AAP recommendation for children's screen time."

*    "I can evaluate the credibility and accuracy of the AAP recommendation."

  • Explain that AAP stands for American Academy of Pediatrics and ask triads to discuss whether anyone knows what this organization is or does.
  • Cold call two or three triads for their answers. Explain if needed that the AAP is a large professional organization of pediatricians, or doctors who specialize in treating children.
  • Explain that the AAP makes many health recommendations based on its members' collective professional opinion and that students will look at one of those recommendations today, dealing with screen time.
  • Tell students that they will often have brief discussions in triads as an opening to the lessons in this unit, to practice the speaking skills they will need at the end of the unit. Refer them to the Speaking and Listening anchor chart posted in the room. Read through the criteria briefly.
  • Ask triads to discuss a last brief prompt, encouraging them to use the criteria on the Speaking and Listening anchor chart to guide their discussion:

*    "Predict what the AAP will recommend about screen time and children's use of screen time." (If needed, clarify that screen time covers television, media, and portable media such as cell phones, tablets, and e-readers.)

  • Circulate as triads address the prompt. Provide feedback for groups based on the Speaking and Listening criteria, such as:

*    "I really like how you're making eye contact with one another."

*    "I'm having trouble hearing you. Could you increase your volume?"

  • Consider assigning single vocabulary words for both the Opening and Work Time A to students with emergent literacy. Ask them to serve as the expert on that word and to volunteer the definition when it is needed in class. Call on that student when the vocabulary word is encountered. Alternatively, pre-teach the vocabulary to students with emergent literacy.
  • Triads may be arranged ahead of time to meet students' academic or social needs. Consider the benefits of homogenous versus heterogeneous groups in terms of reading level, or matching levels of introversion and extroversion.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Close Read/Jigsaw: The AAP Recommendation for Screen Time (25 minutes)

  • Hand out the AAP Policy Statement: "Children, Adolescents, and the Media," and Text-Dependent Questions: Introduction to the AAP Policy Statement: "Children, Adolescents, and the Media."
  • Have students look through the AAP policy statement, conducting a "notice and wonder" for a few minutes. Assure them that this document is important and interesting, but not as complex as it looks.
  • Ask a few students to share out their notices and wonders.
  • If students do not comment on some of the organizing text features that you feel would be helpful for students to navigate the text, point these out: subheadings, columns, bullets, and so on.
  • Direct students' attention to the introduction of the AAP policy statement. Use the Close Reading Guide: Introduction to the AAP Policy Statement: "Children, Adolescents, and the Media" to guide students through a series of text-dependent questions based on this section of the document.
  • Distribute the AAP Policy Statement note-catchers.
  • Using student triads from the Opening, at your discretion, have them read and take notes on these sections of the AAP policy statement, assigning one section to each student in the triad. (Notes in the margin are recommended here, but consider using any notation system with which students have experience).

-   "Recommendations for Pediatricians and Other Health Care Providers"

-   "Pediatricians Should Recommend the Following to Parents"

-   "Recommendations for Schools"

  • After about 15 minutes, give specific positive feedback on students' focus and stamina. Invite them to take a quick stretch.
  • Then ask them to gather in groups of three with other students who read the same section.
  • Invite these new groups of three to spend several minutes comparing and revising their notes on their sections.
  • Ask students to return to their original triads and share their notes.
  • If there is time, conduct a whole-class debrief on any points of the AAP policy statement that were confusing to students.
  • Wrap up by noting to the class that the AAP recommendation for children's screen time is two hours a day, maximum. This is the recommendation that students are going to use to create their position statement on screen time for adolescents. Ask whether the recommendation matches students' predictions from the Opening.
  • Consider assigning smaller, more manageable sections of text to students with emergent literacy. An alternative is to pull those who need reading support into a small group and work with them on a section of the document of your choice during this work time. Of the three sections listed here, "Pediatricians Should Recommend the Following to Parents" is the least complex.

B. Review AAP Recommendation Process/Introduce Prompt (5 minutes)

  • Distribute the Explanation of the AAP Recommendation Process and display a copy using a document camera.
  • Explain that what is pictured is the actual process by which the American Academy of Pediatrics makes a recommendation.
  • Review the steps briefly and define any words or phrases that may be confusing to the students, such as peer review.
  • Ask students to briefly discuss these prompts and share their answers, one prompt at a time:

*    "Knowing that this is the process the AAP went through, what can we infer about the recommendation for screen time?"

  • Listen for answers such as: "We know the evidence was considered carefully" or "We know that the AAP tried to balance potential harm and potential benefit."

*    "You've been studying a great deal about evidence this year. How does this recommendation process demonstrate the real-life importance of evidence?"

  • Listen for answers such as: "The AAP didn't make this decision up; it considered evidence first" or "The AAP formed a committee specifically to review evidence."
  • Direct students' attention to the Position Paper Prompt anchor chart and read the prompt aloud, explaining that the research and note-taking students will do in Unit 2 will be gathering evidence to answer this question. Note the connection between the prompt and the real-life decision-making process of the AAP.

C. Mini Lesson: Credible Sources (5 minutes)

  • Point out to students that they have been reading a lot of articles about the topic, and will continue to read more throughout the unit. They are doing real research.
  • Speak to students about the importance of using credible sources to build up their background knowledge and conduct research. On the Domain-Specific Vocabulary anchor chart, briefly create a class definition of credible source, including but not limited to: "uses a significant amount of verifiable evidence and is as unbiased as possible."
  • Hand out the Assessing Sources document. Briefly review its contents with the class.
  • Refer back to the definition of a credible source on the Domain-Specific Vocabulary anchor chart. Ask students to have a 30-second discussion with a partner about one thing they would change, keep, or modify about the definition, now that they have reviewed the Assessing Sources document.
  • Cold call two or three students for their answers. Make the changes suggested on the anchor chart. If students do not offer a key point of determining a credible source or incorrectly identify a change, model adding an accurate response on the anchor chart for the class.
  • Direct students' attention to the Assessing Sources anchor chart and remind them that it will be posted for the remainder of the unit for their reference.

Closing & Assessments


A. Is the AAP Recommendation a Credible Source? (5 minutes)

  • Bring students' attention back to the learning targets. State that now that students have read the AAP recommendation for screen time (the first learning target), they will take the last few minutes of class to apply their knowledge on assessing sources to the AAP recommendation (the second learning target).
  • Focus them on the second set of criteria (Assess the Text's Credibility and Accuracy). Have students work with a partner to apply each of the criteria to the AAP recommendation.
  • Debrief with the class on their answers. Listen for answers similar to these:

-   Is the author an expert on the topic? (yes--professional organization, expert committee)

-   Is the purpose to inform or to persuade/sell? (inform and persuade, but not to sell)

-   When was the text first published? (2013)

-   How current is the information on the topic? (current)

-   Does the text have specific facts and details to support the ideas? (yes--footnotes)

-   Does the information in this text expand on or contradict what I already know about the topic? (Students may correctly answer that the recommendation expands and/or contradicts their background knowledge. Encourage them to specify exactly how this may be.)

  • Hand out neurologist's notebook #6 for homework.
  • Collect the independent reading homework from Unit 1, Lesson 10.


  • Fill in neurologist's notebook #6.
  • Continue independent reading (at least 20 minutes).

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