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In this bundle, you will find the top-selling crime units from Bespoke ELA!
Serial Podcast Season One Listening Guide
The topic of crime stories captivates people from all walks of life. Tapping into this fascination is a great way to capture student interest in order to target nonfiction reading and writing skills.
In this project, students will research the life of a famous criminal and compile a bibliographic research project to share with the class. Please note that I have included lists of criminals for students to choose from and have purposefully left out serial killers, terrorists, and mass shooters. You may choose to allow these at your own discretion. The criminals included in this project range from fraudsters to gangsters and from pirates to drug lords. There are plenty of options here to captivate the interest of secondary students.
After selecting a criminal, students will compile an annotated bibliography as they go through the research process while preparing to create their final projects. Students can choose from the following project options via the "Research Project Choice Board":
--Traditional Research Paper
There are plenty of options here to allow students the opportunity to share their research in today's technologically connected world. After students complete their projects, they will share them with the entire class and then reflect back on the research process.
In this nonfiction unit, students will read articles about the case and then decide for themselves if they think Lizzie Borden is INNOCENT or GUILTY.
If your students like this nonfiction unit, be sure to check out the Bespoke ELA activity on deciphering tone and bias through the media coverage of the infamous Jack the Ripper!
Students will complete the following activities:
1. Close reading of news stories, including text features (ten total)
2. 5 multiple-choice questions for EACH ARTICLE to prep for standardized testing
3. Debate the verdict in the trial
4. Close read the Prosector's Closing Arguments
5. Write a Closing Argument Speech
6. View a Documentary about the trial
This is a HIGH-INTEREST WAY to integrate nonfiction into your curriculum and get students interacting with nonfiction texts that they won't be able to put down!
Jack the Ripper. One of the most notorious serial killers of all time. And he was never caught. There are over 100 theories about his identity. If you're looking for a high-interest nonfiction topic to get your students interested in analyzing nonfiction, this is it!
This activity has two parts. The first parts takes students through an exercise of identifying tone in a news article written about Jack the Ripper. There are four articles in this part of this lesson that all come from The London Times, late 1800s. (please note that all texts are in the public domain)
Each article is followed by a series of three multiple-choice questions written using Common Core question stems. These questions will help students understand the overall message of each article and encourage them to read critically. Students are then to record examples of tone from the articles and label the tone accordingly. Identifying tone will help with part two of this activity series in which students begin to analyze sources for bias.
In part two of this activity, students will assess a series of stories about Jack the Ripper all written on the exact same day, all about the exact same grisly discovery of two more female victims. By reading multiple sources on the same event, students will be able to compare/ contrast how each source represents the "truth." After assessing sources for bias, students will evaluate which source is more reliable and present their findings to the class.
I have also included FIVE extension activities to use with your students after completing this activity in order to keep your students engaged with nonfiction.
Jack the Ripper is a topic that will keep your students intrigued from the very get-go!
Serial Season One Podcast Listening Guide
This is a listening guide to accompany Season One of Serial: The Adnan Syed Case. Students can use this guide as a baseline to listen to Season One in or out of class and record their answers and observations on the case to debate in class.
This bundle is sure to captivate your students from beginning to end!
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