Teacher's Guide for COBBLESTONE ® Voting Rights in America
Teacher's Guide prepared by: Mary Shea, Ph.D. Dr. Shea teaches graduate literacy courses and directs the Graduate Literacy Program at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.
The following guide is designed as an extension to the reading and discussion of this issue of COBBLESTONE® magazine.
This issue traces the origins of voting rights in this country with a description of the ideologies and philosophies that first guided voting eligibility. The evolution in thinking about who should have voting rights in a democracy is outlined along with the struggle of those first denied that right.
Throughout their work with this text, students will focuc on the skill of paraphrasing. This involves restating or retelling what was read in one's own words, concentrating on key concepts and supporting evidence. For students, it would be like explaining what went on during a lesson to a peer that missed class. Paraphrasing can also include logical interpretations, connections, and/or elaborations. Fisk and Hurst (2004) propose a four-step procedure for a paraphrasing for comprehension strategy. These are: (a) students read and discuss the text, (b) students reread the text for the purpose of note-taking, (c) students paraphrase in writing, and (d) students share their written paraphrase.
Fisk, C. & Hurst, B. (2004). Paraphrasing for comprehension.
The Reading Teacher. 57, (2), 182-185.
As a result of reading and discussing articles in this magazine, students will:
Bloom's Taxonomy (level of skills):
- strengthen their ability to restate or retell (in verbal and written form) what they've read with a focus on key concepts and supporting evidence.
- move from paraphrasing paragraph-by-paragraph to completing step b for the entire article and, then, completing a paraphrase on the selection as a whole (step c). This paraphrase may have several paragraphs that include key ideas across the reading.
- integrate logical interpretations, connections, and elaborations where appropriate in their parpahrasing.
- clearly articulate their thinking during discussions as well as effectively respond to and/or expand on ideas introduced by others (steps a and d).
- examine the struggle for voting rights in this country against the concepts of democratic principles.
- consider the impact of voting rights and exercise of those rights in a democracy.
- examine the responsibilities of voters in a democracy.
Knowledge, Comprehension, Analysis, Application, Synthesis
March 2004 Issue of COBBLESTONE®, overhead transparency, chart paper, journals
Anticipatory Set (Motivation):
- Explain that in communities, people living in different districts are assigned a place for voting. This might vary based on the election. Sometimes people vote at the school for the school budget, but they may have to go to another site for a town, city, state, or national election. Ask students if they know where people in their neighborhood go to vote. Discuss.
- Ask students what reasons people might have for not going to the polls (voting places) to exerce their right to vote on election day. The teacher will list these. Discuss and share ideas.
- Ask students why some might argue that a real problem occurs in a democracy when people don't exercise their right to vote. Discuss ideas.
- Introduce the March 2004 COBBLESTONE® issue. Have students examine, read, and discuss the magazine cover page, About the Cover, and the Editor's Note.
- Model how to survey of the Table of Contents and illustrations for the purpose of making predictions that will guide comprehension. Model making predictions, setting expectations for the information that will be revealed. This sets a purpose for reading - to find answers to new questions and to reaffirm background knowledge. Invite students to also "download their thinking" on the article titles and illustrations.
- Explain that Americans learned how much every vote counts during the last presidential election.
- Introduce the article "The Value of the Vote." Have students skim pages 2-5, examining pictures, word boxes, and captions. Discuss students' reactions and comments. Have students share what they know about the Florida vote count during the last presidential election. Discuss ideas.
- Explain the four-step procedure for a paraphrasing for comprehension strategy. These are: (a) students read and discuss the text, (b) students reread the text for the purpose of note-taking, (c) students paraphrase in writing, and (d) students share their written paraphrase.
- Model the procedure with the first paragraph of the article, "The Value of the Vote." The teacher will:
The class will be asked to discuss what they observed with regards to performing the task. Ask students to evaluate the quality of the teacher's paraphrase. Consider if it includes key ideas and gives supporting evidence. Discuss how the paraphrase can include a logical connection, interpretation, or elaboration. Explain that good readers create a running paraphrase in their mind as they read. Have students identify the interpretation/elaboration provided in the last sentence of the model paraphrase.
- read the paragraph aloud and discuss the content with students,
- reread it and take notes on an overhead transparency or chart paper,
- write a paraphrase of the paragraph using notes taken, and,
- then, read his/her paraphrase to the class.
- Example of teacher's paraphrase:
- Elections are held in this country for many offices at the local and national level. Many groups of people had to fight long and hard to get the right to vote. That right carries a responsibility for expressing one's choices. However, many who are eligible choose not to vote. Some feel that their vote doesn't matter or they just don't pay attention to the issues or candidates.
- Ask students why it is important for readers to be able to paraphrase what they have read. Discuss ideas. Explain that the length of a paraphrase will vary depending on the number of key ideas included. Paraphrasing can be done by paragraph, section, chapter, or passage as a whole, depending on the text.
- Have students work with a partner on the next paragraph. The teacher will read the paragraph aloud and discuss the content with students. Partners will continue with steps b and c of the paraphrasing for comprehension strategy while the teacher circulates to give assistance as needed. Students silently reread before collaborating on note-taking. Using these notes, partners coauthor a paraphrase.
- The teacher will guide a whole class share of partners' paraphrasing to complete step d.
- Repeat #s 1-2 with the next paragraph.
- Students continue reading page 3-5 and working with a partner, using the paraphrasing for comprehension strategy. Partners will each read silently and then discuss what they've read to complete step a. One will reread in a low voice as the other takes notes to complete step b. Reverse roles (reader-writer) for this step, paragraph-by-paragraph. Partners will collaboratively write a paraphrase for each paragraph (step c). Step d, the sharing, will be done when all have finished the article and paraphrasing for remaining paragraphs.
- Students think about how voting equipment and/or procedures should be improved to be sure every vote is counted.
- Students will partner up (pair) and discuss their ideas. (1-2 minutes).
- Students will be called on to share ideas they've been discussing with the whole group. The teacher will scribe these on a chart.
At a later time and over several days, students will survey adults in their family and/or neighbors to ask how they think voting equipment and/or procedures should be improved to be sure that every vote is counted. When this information is brought back to class, it will be added to the chart with students' ideas.
Anticipatory Set (Motivation):
- Suggest to students that the class will soon hold an election for a class president.
- Outline the duties of this presidential role. Whomever is elected will work with you to determine dates for major class events, free time activities, homework policies, and a variety of other classroom procedures.
- Announce that only brown-eyed male students may run for the office or vote.
- Ask students to describe how that makes them feel. Ask them whether they think it is appropriate. Why? Why not?
- Explain that, for a long time in this country, the right to run for office or vote was similarly limited to a special category of people. Many groups had to struggle long and hard for the right to vote. They felt unfairly left out as you did.
- Introduce the article "Establishing the Vote." Draw attention to the word box on page 7. Discuss the terms and meanings (atheist, suffrage). Explain that this article will outline voting rights as defined in the early days of this country and the reasoning for these limits.
- Guide students to predict who had the right to vote in Colonial America and who was denied that right. Ask, Why might colonists have made such determinations? Discuss ideas.
- Ask students to predict what effects voting limitations had on people. Ask, Would groups denied the right to vote feel left out as you did in the class election? Why? Why not?
- Briefly review the parpahrasing for comprehension strategy. Assign partners for working on this article.
- Students will silently read the artlcle and discuss its content with the whole group (step a).
- Students will independently reread the article and take notes for each paragraph (step b). The teacher will circulate to provide assistance as needed.
- Partners will use their notes to write a collaborative paraphrase for the entire article (step c). This will include several paragraphs. The teacher will circulate to provide assistance as needed.
- Partners share their paraphrase.
- Students will provide feedback on each other's paraphrasing that includes key ideas and supporting evidence as well as interpretations, connections, and elaborations.
At a later time, students will respond in their journal to the following. They can agree or disagree. They must support ideas with evidence.
In a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, everyone of appropriate age should have a voice in decisions that are made.
Consider: Should anyone be denied the right to vote? Why? Why not? If so, who would that be?
Students will continue reading and paraphrasing. Gradually, students will be responsible for completing steps b-c independently.
With work samples (paraphrasing and journal entry) along with anecdotal notes of observations during discussions, the teacher will assess students' ability to:
- succinctly paraphrase what they've read, providing key ideas and supporting evidence in their own words. Logical interpretations and/or elaborations are included as appropriate to add emphasis and extend reasoning.
- write a jornal entry that follows an order that includes an opening statement, evidence to support ideas, and an effective closing. It is characterized by clarity of expression, substantive information, personal voice, and appropriate grammar and spelling.
- read with understanding as displayed in their note-taking, parpahrasing, and contributions to the discussions.
- work effectively with partners and peers in the process of thinking and learning with texts.