Paraphrasing and Evaluating Sources: “Gaming Can Make a Better World” | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G7:M4A:U2:L5

Paraphrasing and Evaluating Sources: “Gaming Can Make a Better World”

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can gather relevant information from a variety of sources. (W.7.8)
  • I can evaluate the credibility and accuracy of each source. (W.7.8)
  • I can quote or paraphrase others' work while avoiding plagiarism. (W.7.8)

Supporting Targets

  • I can correctly paraphrase information I gather from "Gaming Can Make a Better World."
  • I can gather relevant information from "Gaming Can Make a Better World."

Ongoing Assessment

  • Researcher's notebook, section 1 (from homework)
  • Researcher's notebook, section 2
  • Exit ticket


AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. "What Is a Consequence?" (7 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Review: How to Paraphrase (5 minutes)

B. "Gaming Can Make a Better World" (24 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Homework Read-aloud (5 minutes)

B. Exit Ticket: Practice Paraphrasing (4 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Read "Video Games Benefit Children, Study Finds" and add to researcher's notebook, Section 3.

  • This lesson offers a quick review of the skill of paraphrasing, which is taught in Module 2. In the event that your class did not do Module 2, or you have new students, there is enough review here to give them a good foundation. During Work Time A, if you notice students struggling with the meaning of "paraphrase," you may want to take some additional time to review this concept.
  • This lesson also continues the launch of the researcher's notebook. Students will likely still be getting accustomed to using the researcher's notebook, so pay special attention to whether any  are facing obstacles as they follow the steps of paraphrasing in this lesson. You may want to ask students to take out their researcher's notebook entries from the previous lesson, so you can take a quick peek at them as you circulate during the entry task and exit tickets to see if there are any general patterns of confusion that you can address.
  • This researcher's notebook entry is formatted a little differently to help students analyze the argument presented in the video. However, in the interest of simplifying the loose papers that students must keep, it is included in the notebook packet.
  • In this lesson, you remind students to collect information about their sources in their researcher's notebooks. Unit 3 includes a formal lesson on MLA citation; for now, continue to remind students to fill in the appropriate section of their researcher's notebooks.
  • "Gaming Makes a Better World" is an engaging but lengthy video. Given time constraints, students focus on the aspects of the video that most clearly delineate the speaker's claim (Clip 1) and evidence for the claim (Clip 2).
  • The Opening asks you to introduce the concept of positive consequences. In this unit, you will continue to discuss the idea of consequences of different types of digital media as you scaffold students' understanding for Unit 3, when they will make a claim about the potential benefits and risks of entertainment screen time. Lesson 13 will bring the idea of consequences into full flower; the unit introduces it now as a means of acquainting students with the idea throughout this and following lessons.

( McGonigal, Jane. "Gaming Can Make a Better World." February 2010. Online Video.)

Post: Learning targets.


consequence, paraphrase


  • Entry task, Lesson 5 (one per student)
  • Domain-Specific Vocabulary anchor chart (from Unit 1, Lesson 1)
  • Researcher's notebook (from Lesson 4)
  • Video clip 1: "Gaming Can Make a Better World" (00:00-3:06; see Teaching Notes)
  • Video clip 2: "Gaming Can Make a Better World" (6:54-11:06; see Teaching Notes)
  • Teacher Guide: Researcher's Notebook (from Lesson 4,for teacher reference)
  • "Video Games Benefit Children, Study Finds" (one per student)
  • Exit ticket: Practicing Paraphrasing (one per student)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Entry Task: What Is a Consequence? (7 minutes)

  • Individually, have students answer the entry task, Lesson 5 question:

*    "What is a consequence?"

  • Together, on the Domain-Specific Vocabulary anchor chart, create a class definition of the word consequence. Listen for and include elements such as: "a result," "an effect," and "what results from an action or a series of actions." Steer students away from the idea that consequences are always negative; this idea will be discussed in detail in Lesson 13, but for now, simply note that not all consequences are negative.
  • Explain that today students begin to work on their research projects on screen time and that the word consequence will become very important within the research. Ask:

*    "Can you give some predictions for how the word consequence might fit into the idea of screen time?"

  • Cold call several students to get their responses.
  • Direct students' attention to the learning targets and have them read the targets aloud with you:

*    "I can correctly paraphrase information I gather from 'Gaming Can Make a Better World.'"

*    "I can gather relevant evidence from 'Gaming Can Make a Better World.'"

  • Ask students how the word consequence might fit into one or more of the learning targets. Cold call two or three for their answers. Listen for connections such as: "We will probably read about some consequences of screen time" or "Maybe our research will end up talking about what consequences there are for certain amounts of screen time."
  • Consider selecting students ahead of time for cold calls. Those who need practice in oral response or extended processing time can be told the prompt before class begins to prepare for their participation. This also allows for a public experience of academic success for students who may struggle with on-demand questioning or for struggling students in general.
  • Whenever possible, have students who need physical activity take on the active roles of managing and writing on the anchor chart, handing out the materials, or making the necessary notes on the teacher reference materials under the document camera.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Review: How to Paraphrase (5 minutes)

  • Write the word paraphrase on the board.
  • Ask students to turn and talk to their seat partners for 1 minute about what paraphrase means.
  • Cold call a pair of students to share out. Listen for: "Paraphrasing means to put an author's ideas into your own words while still giving credit to the author in some way." If students do not remember all these details, remind them why it's important to paraphrase while doing research. Explain that we want to avoid putting our entire research paper in quotes, but we also cannot take the ideas of another writer word-for-word. Paraphrasing allows us to give credit to a writer's ideas while writing things in our own words.
  • In addition, explain that students often quote directly because they don't understand the text well enough to paraphrase it. A benefit to paraphrasing is that it pushes them to understand what they're talking about.
  • Explain that students will continue to read texts and take notes in their researcher's notebooks for the next few lessons as they think about the overarching research question. From this point on, beginning with this lesson's homework, there will be a place in the researcher's notebook asking them to paraphrase key ideas from the texts.
  • Remind students that as they conduct their research, they must keep all their information about their sources so they can properly cite them later using the MLA format. They learned how to collect information about sources in Module 2. Explain that in this module, during Unit 3, you will teach them the MLA format. For now, they should just fill out all the blanks in their researcher's notebook so they are ready for that step when the time comes.
  • Hearing a complex text read slowly, fluently, and without interruption or explanation promotes fluency for students: They are hearing a strong reader read the text aloud with accuracy and expression and are simultaneously looking at and thinking about the words on the printed page. Be sure to set clear expectations that students read along silently in their heads as you read the text aloud.

B. "Gaming Can Make a Better World" (24 minutes)

  • Explain that you will play short clips from a video from the TED Talks website called "Gaming Can Make a Better World" that is about the benefits of video games.
  • Have students open up their researcher's notebook to Section 2. Note that the formatting of this section models the Tracing an Argument note-catchers that students worked with in Lessons 2 and 3.
  • Let students know that they will watch the video three times. The first time through, they should listen for the claim.
  • Play video clip 1: "Gaming Can Make a Better World"(00:00-3:06) once.
  • Ask students to write down what they think the claim is on the note-catchers in Section 2. Cold call one or two to share out. Listen for them to say the claim is that we need to play more games in order to solve the world's problems.
  • Explain that students will watch the clip two more times, just as they would reread a text.
  • Play video clip 1 a second and third time. As students watch again, ask them to write down the reasons and evidence that support the claim.
  • Play video clip 2: "Gaming Can Make a Better World"(6:54-11:06) and then give students about 2 minutes to add to their note-catcher.
  • Play video clip 2 a second and third time, again giving students a few minutes to add to their notes, specifically to evaluate the evidence for relevancy. Point out that close listening, like close reading, means that you often notice more details and deepen your understanding each time you watch a video like this. Encourage students to paraphrase their notes, as they reviewed during Work Time A.
  • After students have finished writing, ask them to form groups of three and compare their work. Encourage them to talk about any discrepancies in their answers and revise their work accordingly.
  • Cold call students to share the supporting reasons and evidence. Refer to the Teacher's Guide: Researcher's Notebook for possible responses.
  • Feel free to increase the number of times these video clips are watched. Also consider pausing the video at key points to allow students to take notes and "catch up" on what they are listening to.
  • Consider making the clips available to students electronically so that they may continue to watch them (or the rest of the video) at their leisure.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Homework Read-aloud (5 minutes)

  • Distribute "Video Games Benefit Children, Study Finds." Explain that students will read this text independently for homework, and that you will read it aloud now to help their comprehension. Encourage students to annotate the text as they read, circling unknown words, underlining key ideas, and so on.
  • Read the article aloud while students read along silently in their heads.
  • Note for students that for this article, they will fill in Section 3 of their researcher's notebook, which is another Tracing an Argument note-catcher. Encourage students to paraphrase their notes, as they reviewed in Work Time A.
  • The homework is a short and generally accessible article and should be manageable as independent homework reading, along with the scaffolding of reading it aloud. Consider other methods of scaffolding the homework for students with emergent literacy: providing a glossary, assigning smaller or less complex parts of the text, or filling in the researcher's notebook.

B. Exit Ticket: Practice Paraphrasing (4 minutes)

  • Distribute an Exit ticket: Practicing Paraphrasing to each student.
  • Circulate as students fill them out, providing guidance for anyone who may be struggling.
  • Collect and review the exit tickets before the next class so you can clarify any confusion and identify students who may need additional support with paraphrasing.


  • Read "Video Games Benefit Children, Study Finds" and add to Section 3 of your researcher's notebook.

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