Olympics Investment: We Do Hard Stuff

Alan May (2012 ELA, Friars Point Elem.) was a business owner of a gym prior to joining TFA-dELtA.  He is using the following videos to build his students’ investment in hard work and coming back from behind during the beginning weeks of school.  I thought they were just such great ideas that I asked if I could share them with everyone.  Of course, he said yes!

I just typed up a theme for each video & aligned questions, so you can make sure that you’re using this opportunity to get to know your students better as speakers & writers.  You could even grade students’ written response on the response-to-literature rubric to get your students feedback on their writing!  (Warning:  I truly spent just a couple minutes typing up these themes/ questions, and I didn’t get anyone to check my thinking before posting- NOT a best practice!!  Please, please, please check my thinking for me and tweak the questions for your kids. )

Here are some Olympic presents of ELA-investment for you!  If you use one or both of these ideas, please let Alan (alanm1357@gmail.com) & Sarah (sarah.franzen@teachforamerica.org) know what works and what you would tweak about your approach, and Sarah will update this post accordingly!

Video + aligned questions #1:  Derek Redmond & Father + Consider pairing this video with an article about the Achievement Gap
  • Theme:  We will do difficult things in this class & in life.  Reading is hard.  Life is hard.  Overcoming educational inequity is hard.  In order to do really, really difficult things, we will sometimes need the help of other people (like our classmates, teachers, families).
  • Guiding Questions (for students to consider in partners or small groups):
    • Who was Derek Redmond and what was he trying to do in the beginning of the clip?  How do you know?
    • What happened to Derek Redmond?  What kind of pain do you think he was in?  How do you know?
    • Would you have continued trying to finish the race if you were Derek?  Why?
  • Culminating Question (for students to write in response to; feel free to push your students to cite video-evidence, similar to text evidence):  
    • Why do you think Derek Redmond still tried to finish the race even after his injury?  How do you know?
    • Why did Derek’s father feel compelled to join him on the track?  How do you know?  (Cite quotes from the video.)
    • Given that reading and writing are very difficult tasks to do well, why will you personally not give up?  Who will you lean on when you struggle to read a text or struggle to write an argument?
Video + aligned questions #2:  1972 Olympics Dave Wattle Comes from last place to Win!  Consider pairing this video with the day that you share initial reading-level-scores with students.
  • Theme:  It is not your fault at this point that you may not be reading on grade level.  However, it is your problem.  Overcoming educational inequity is hard; however, will extreme focus a
    nd dedication we can all raise our reading levels over time- just like Dave Wattle came from last place to first place to win gold!  
  • Guiding Questions (for students to consider in partners or small groups):
    • Who was Dave Wattle and what was he trying to do in the beginning of the clip?  How do you know?
    • Why did the announcers think Dave was in last place?  What did they say about him?
    • Why do you think Dave didn’t give up?
    • Would you have continued trying to finish the race, if you were as far behind as Dave was?  Why?
  • Culminating Question (for students to write in response to; feel free to push your students to cite video-evidence, similar to text evidence):  
    • How do you think Dave would have felt if he had heard what the announcers were saying about him at the beginning of the race?
    • What do you think Dave must have had to do in training & believe about himself (during the race) in order to ultimately win the race?
    • What is your starting reading level?  How far away is your starting reading level from where you want to be?
    • What must YOU believe about yourself if you want to achieve your goal reading level?  What must YOU DO in order to achieve your goal reading level?  What’s your plan?

 

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