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Lesson Plan

Assessing Cultural Relevance: Exploring Personal Connections to a Text

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Assessing Cultural Relevance: Exploring Personal Connections to a Text

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Six 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Student Objectives

Session One

Session Two

Session Three

Session Four

Session Five

Session Six

Student Assessment/Reflections

 

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

Students will

  • assess the cultural relevance of texts, individually and as a group.

  • identify texts with higher levels of cultural relevance.

  • write process-based reviews of the texts, focusing on cultural relevance.

  • present their reviews to the class.

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Session One

  1. Post a prompt that asks students to gather examples relevant to the unit on the board or using an overhead transparency:

    In two or three sentences, describe a time when you read, viewed, or listened to a story that included events or characters you identified with. Then draw a line across the page, and write about how it felt to read a story that you identified with. Think about how the ways that the story and your life or experiences were alike. How did the similarities influence your understanding of the story?

  2. Read the writing prompt to the class. Define any unfamiliar words, and provide a personal example for students. You might write your example on the board or an overhead transparency to provide a model for the class.

  3. Answer any questions that they have about the informal writing, and then allow the class 5–10 minutes to compose their answers in their journals.

  4. As students write, help any individual class members who need additional support.

  5. Once students have had a chance to gather their ideas, ask the class to share experiences that they remembered. The goal is to have students recognize how personal connections to a text affect their comprehension.

  6. After students have shared, introduce the text that you have chosen as an example for analysis:

    • If you have chosen a picture book, take time to read the book to the class.

    • If you have chosen a video of some kind, show the piece to the class.

    • If you have chosen a song, play the song for the class.

    • If you have chosen a novel or nonfiction book that the class, ask students to recall the key details from the text (e.g., people, events, symbols).
  7. Pass out copies of the PDF version of the Cultural Relevance Rubric for students to refer to as you discuss the book.

  8. Discuss each of the elements on the Rubric.

  9. The differences among the three levels of relevance may be too subtle for students to notice; so take time to point out how the three levels differ.

  10. To emphasize the differences, you can have students underline or highlight the differences among the choices on the Rubric (e.g., very much like, not at all like, some similarities and some differences).

  11. Emphasize that all of the rubric responses follow the same order, with those most like the student appearing first and those least like the student appearing last.

  12. Display the Online Cultural Relevance Rubric using an LCD projector.

  13. Analyze the cultural relevance of the text that you are using as an example, working through the prompts in the Online Cultural Relevance Rubric. If computers are not available, you can work through the PDF version of the Rubric instead.

  14. As you work with the Online Rubric, explain how the tool works:

    • For “Your Name” students will enter their own names.

    • For “Whose work are your reviewing?” students will type the name of the author, performer, director, or producer of the text they are examining.

    • For each question, students choose the sentence that best describes the text by clicking on it.

    • For each question, students can enter any notes or an explanation of their choice in the additional comments section below the rubric choices.

    • Once all the rubric elements are answered, demonstrate how to print the chart and the feedback. Students will use both printouts as they work on their review.
  15. Once you have completed the rubric for the example text, review the choices and ask the class to use the details to determine whether the text is culturally relevant. It's quite possible that the text will be more relevant to some students than to others.

  16. Explain the project that the class will complete: students will search for additional, relevant texts; each choose one; and write reviews of the texts that they choose.

  17. Remind students to bring their copies of the PDF version of the Rubric to the next session to use for reference.

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Session Two

  1. Gather students in a location with texts that they can choose among, whether the school library, the classroom library, or a local public library. If library resources are not available, students can complete the process of choosing a text independently.

  2. Review the PDF version of the Rubric, and generally discuss what makes a text culturally relevant to a reader.

  3. Explain that students are to choose a text during this session that they will evaluate for cultural relevance.

  4. If the librarian has pointers or possible texts to share with the class, allow time for presentation of these resources.

  5. Allow the rest of the session for students to find their texts and begin exploring them (e.g., reading, listening, viewing).

  6. As students search for their texts, provide feedback and support as appropriate.

  7. At the end of the session, provide a due date for students to have completed their texts. On the due date, explain that the class will complete the Online Cultural Relevance Rubric and begin writing their reviews. Allow enough time for students to complete their reading, listening, or viewing before the next session.

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Session Three

  1. Before this lesson, students will have completed their texts, and they will be ready to analyze those texts for cultural relevance.

  2. Ask students to bring copies of the text to this session for reference.

  3. Remind students of the assignment they will be completing: students will search for additional, relevant texts; each choose one; and write reviews of the texts that they choose.

  4. Display the Online Cultural Relevance Rubric using an LCD projector. If computers are not available for students, they can work through the PDF version of the Rubric instead.

  5. Remind students how to use the tool for this activity:

    • For “Your Name” students will enter their own names.

    • For “Whose work are your reviewing?” students will type the name of the author, performer, director, or producer of the text they are examining.

    • For each question, students choose the sentence that best describes the text by clicking on it.

    • For each question, students can enter any notes or an explanation of their choice in the additional comments section below the rubric choices.

    • Once all the rubric elements are answered, demonstrate how to print the chart and the feedback. Students will use both printouts as they work on their reviews.
  6. Provide support as students work on their analysis. Remind them to print both the chart and the feedback when they complete the Online Rubric.

  7. As students finish their analysis with the rubric, ask them to review the questions on the feedback printout to begin gathering details for their reviews.

    If students did not use the online rubric, pass out the Gathering Evidence of Cultural Relevance for them to use as they gather details for their reviews. Note that the questions on the Feedback printout are specific for the rubric response that students choose. The Gathering Evidence of Cultural Relevance handout uses generic questions that will fit with whatever rubric response students choose.
  8. Ask students to complete the feedback questions if they have used the Online Rubric or the Gathering Evidence of Cultural Relevance handout if they are working with the PDF version of the Rubric.

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Session Four

  1. Review the activity that students are completing: they are analyzing texts for cultural relevance and writing reviews that discuss their findings.

  2. Invite students to share details from their reading and analysis. You can begin discussion by asking students whether the texts that they reviewed seemed culturally relevant.

  3. As students share their assessment, ask them to provide details that support their position. Through this process, students begin thinking through the information that they will include in their reviews.

  4. After students have shared for a few minutes, explain that the class is going to read an example review that students can use as a model for their own writing.

  5. If desired, you can read ¡Sí Se Puede! Yes, We Can! Janitor Strike in L.A. (Cinco Puntos Press, 2002), the picture book that is the focus of the model essay, aloud to the class.

  6. After reading the book and discussing any immediate reactions that students have, quickly assess the cultural relevance of the book using the PDF version of the Rubric.

  7. Pass out copies of the Model Cultural Relevance Essay, and read the essay aloud to the class.

  8. Ask students to identify details in the essay that came from the book, and write their observations on the board or on chart paper.

  9. Once students finish sharing observations, pass out the Components of Your Cultural Relevance Review and Cultural Relevance Review Guidelines handouts.

  10. Read through the two handouts, identifying aspects of the model essay that meet the criteria for the assignment. Refer to the list of details that students identified after hearing the essay as you work through the handouts.

  11. If time allows, work together or in small groups to create thesis statements, following the structure of the thesis in the Model Cultural Relevance Essay.

  12. For homework, ask students to begin drafting their reviews, bringing at least a thesis statement to the next session. Students may also want to explore Websites on book reviews and sample book reviews, such as  Finding Book Reviews –Stauffer Library Reference or Write a Book Review before beginning to write their own.

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Session Five

  1. Arrange students in small, mixed language groups, and ask group members to share their thesis statements with one another.

  2. As they listen, ask group members to consider whether the thesis clearly states the writer’s opinion of the cultural relevance of the text.

  3. Encourage students to share their plans for the remainder of the essay as they talk about their thesis statements.

  4. Review the expectations for the assignment, using the Components of Your Cultural Relevance Review and Cultural Relevance Review Guidelines handouts as well as the Model Cultural Relevance Essay.

  5. Following a process approach, spend the reminder of the class session in response and revision.

  6. Remind students to return to their printouts from the Online Rubric or to their responses to the PDF version of the Rubric and the Gathering Evidence of Cultural Relevance handout for evidence and details to support their position on the text.

  7. As students compose, note problems and challenges that they face to determine how much additional guidance is needed. Provide individual instruction as well as small group or whole class mini-lessons as appropriate.

  8. Add writing sessions at this point if necessary for students to complete their drafts.

  9. Ask students to come to the next class session with a complete draft of their review ready to share with others in class. Explain that students will have time to revise their work after the next class session before submitting their final drafts for teacher feedback.

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Session Six

  1. Gather students and answer any basic questions that they have about the rough drafts that they have brought to the session.

  2. Pass out copies of the Checklist for Cultural Relevance Review and go over the questions, drawing connections to the information on the Components of Your Cultural Relevance Review and Cultural Relevance Review Guidelines handouts.

  3. Return to the Model Cultural Relevance Essay, and use the Checklist for Cultural Relevance Review as a class to check the content of the model.

  4. If students identify aspects of the Model Cultural Relevance Essay that they would change, discuss revision strategies. As appropriate demonstrate revision strategies in the context of the Model.

  5. Once the class finishes reviewing the Model Essay, arrange students in pairs and ask them to exchange and review each other’s papers using the Checklist for Cultural Relevance Review.

  6. Circulate among pairs, providing feedback and support as appropriate.

  7. Once pairs finish the feedback process, they can work together to discuss and try revision strategies. If desired, students can work in groups of four or six as they revise their essays so that additional support and feedback is possible.

  8. Ask students to be ready to submit a copy of their finished review at the beginning of the next class session.

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STUDENT ASSESSMENT/REFLECTIONS

 

 

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