The new Common Core has a much-greater focus on non-fiction, informational texts in the English/Language Arts classroom. It’s time to start adding more real-world articles and materials to our literary canon. In this easy-to-deliver non-fiction activity, students will read an article by Malcolm Gladwell (link included) and complete a series of deep-thinking questions. Afterward, students will definitely have personal anecdotes and opinions to share about this “Let’s Get Real” classroom activity.
When your principal asks what you’ve done to align your classroom with the Common Core, just point to this non-fiction, expository-based work as an example. This 45-minute lesson will give students a high-quality article to analyze as they make connections between the academic arguments and their own lives.
The article addresses the idea that popular culture, including T.V. shows (like Seinfeld, The Sopranos, and The Simpsons) and video games (like Grand Theft Auto), might actually have some hidden benefits that are enhancing our brain power. Certainly, this controversial research will get your students thinking and discussing a complicated issue.
Begin with a reading of the article (you'll need to print copies from one of the links provided), have individuals write their answers to the multi-layered depth-of-knowledge questions (either in teams of two or solo), and then launch a class discussion. You don’t have to use any of Gladwell’s books in class in order to have a lively discussion about the ideas he puts forward here.
The package includes an option for 9th and 10th graders and a separate version for 11th and 12th graders. The article is the same for both groups, but the reflection questions are different, so that various levels of students will find the activity stimulating and challenging.
The first page gives detailed instructions to access the article. The next two pages of the PDF file are “Level 1” for underclassmen. The last two pages of the file are “Level 2” for upperclassmen. You might also want to use the two separate files for differentiated questions within one class. The answer key is included for both sets of questions, of course.
It usually takes my students 45 minutes to work through the article and give thorough answers to the questions. If you need to extend the lesson, you also could launch a discussion of the issues raised in the article. Your students will have plenty of real-life examples from their own worlds to illustrate Gladwell’s points.
These full-class, stand-alone materials also work great as emergency plans for substitute teachers. The material is easy to deliver and the kids will need to work hard for the whole period to finish on time.
Click the green “Preview” button at the top of the page to take a closer look.
Want a similar assignment with a different topic?
Click HERE for a non-fiction lesson plan on Blended Families
Click HERE for a non-fiction lesson plan featuring a hilarious look at Personal Greed and Sacrifice
Click HERE for a non-fiction lesson plan on the Benefits of Stereotyping
Click HERE for a narrative non-fiction lesson plan featuring Writing Advice from Stephen King
Want to buy all five and enjoy a deep 25% discount?
Click HERE for a Budget-Priced Bundle of all FIVE Non-Fiction Lessons
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