I came up with this activity when I wanted my students to dig deeper into Mildred Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and I wanted them to make connections to the novel and another text, free of their own opinions. This tug of war surprised me in how my students really took ownership of the whole activity and didn't want it to end. We use it periodically with other texts, and it is a great pre-writing strategy that really gets students focused on text evidence.
The activity can inject a bit of competition in the classroom, as the students who find the most relevant text evidence win the tug of war. My students get so spirited and surprise me with how they take ownership of the activity. Since it is no-prep for me, as I have dry-erase markers and sticky notes on hand, this is one of my go-to activities.
This product is most appropriate for Grades 6-12. Having taught both middle grades and secondary grades, I know this activity works as well for my animated middle schoolers as it does for my analytical AP English students.
This nine-page product includes activity instructions, a tip sheet for teachers, an analytical Common Core Standards-aligned rubric, and a self-evaluation analytical rubric for students. The self-evaluation might be my favorite part! The students provide such valuable feedback and really impress me with their honest self-reflection. Also included are specific standards alignment, "I Can" learning objectives in parent-/student-friendly language, and differentiation strategies specific to this activity. The entire product is in Rich Text Format, which means it is compatible with all word processing programs and is able to be edited by the teacher.
Common Core Standards Addressed: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL/RI.6.1; CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL/RI.6.2; CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.8; CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.1