Series: Inquiry-Based Teaching

ELA.RH.9-10.2

Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • RH:  Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6-\x80\x9312
  • 9-10:  9th & 10th Grades
  • 2: 
    Determine the central ideas or information of a
    primary or secondary source; provide an accurate
    summary of how key events or ideas develop over
    the course of the text.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

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ELA.RH.9-10.6

Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • RH:  Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6-\x80\x9312
  • 9-10:  9th & 10th Grades
  • 6: 
    Compare the point of view of two or more
    authors for how they treat the same or similar
    topics, including which details they include and
    emphasize in their respective accounts.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

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ELA.RH.11-12.2

Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • RH:  Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6-\x80\x9312
  • 11-12:  11th & 12th Grades
  • 2: 
    Determine the central ideas or information of a
    primary or secondary source; provide an accurate
    summary that makes clear the relationships among
    the key details and ideas.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Inquiry-Based Teaching: Discussing Non-Fiction
Lesson Objective: Lead an inquiry based discussion based on primary historical sources
Grades 9-12 / History / Inquiry
ELA.RH.9-10.2 | ELA.RH.9-10.6 | ELA.RH.11-12.2

Thought starters

  1. What evidence do you see of students using the text to inform their own perspective?
  2. How does Mr. Barlowe's choice of questions help shape the discussion?
  3. In what ways does this discussion foster desirable reading and writing habits?
20 Comments

I'm kind of surprised nobody thought to ask whether people should have a say over the lives of others. Everybody just kind of assumed that people have the right to determine what others can and cannot do to a certain extent. Weird.

Recommended (0)
I completely support this type of discussion/questioning approach of breaking down primary sources. As the video points out, it is a great way to show your students that you value their ideas. It is a great way to make learning a collaborative activity, not a competition.
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I enjoyed how the teacher kept the students engaged with his questions and the way the tables were set up to encourage them to interact in the discussion. This kind of discussion promotes the students to think critically about the topic.
Recommended (0)
This was a great learning environment to see. I like the "round table" set up, which becomes much more challenging in a class of 35. Having students develop educated opinions based on evidence is such and important skill!
Recommended (0)
Students' opinions in what they are learning is critical and quite often we the teachers fail to see this, either by ignorance or limited knowledge. When the teacher does all the talking the students become passive participants and little or no learning takes place.
Recommended (0)

Transcripts

  • WNET / UCH Urban Academy
    “Exploring Powerful Ideas Inquiry-Based Teaching: Discussing Non-Fiction”
    UA History 6 min

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    (interview)
    The way

    WNET / UCH Urban Academy
    “Exploring Powerful Ideas Inquiry-Based Teaching: Discussing Non-Fiction”
    UA History 6 min

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    (interview)
    The way that we teach at the Urban Academy is that we use the Inquiry Method of teaching. It’s rigorous teaching that puts value on students ideas and sees students ideas as playing an essential role in the shaping of the discussion and the lesson.
    (to class)
    Did everybody just make sure they have this- these documents out? “The Meaning of Freedom After the Civil War”. Past the first letter, into the first person accounts. That’s where we are.

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    (interview)
    But it’s also teaching that requires students to not just engage but to engage thoughtfully and with information.
    (to class)
    Alright, let me read the first document out loud. This is a preacher, I assume a former slave, it’s a speech he gave. It says an impromptu speech. Anyone know what an impromptu speech means?
    (interview)
    In this lesson, I am coming at the meaning of freedom with the kids by looking at a set of primary source documents. And these documents are written from the perspective of the participants in the Reconstruction experience.

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    (to class)
    “You ain’t none of you gwine to feel real free til you shakes the dust of the old plantation off your feet and goes to a new place where he can live out
    of sight of the great house”.
    (interview)
    They’re organized as so to provoke from the students different points of view on what freedom meant to these people.
    STUDENT:
    He’s basically saying that freedom means kind of getting rid of your old life and moving on. Getting away from the plantation and just getting rid of your old master and moving on to a life where you don’t have to look at the life you had as a slave.

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    (to class)
    And do people agree that that’s freedom? I mean, I guess that’s my question. Are you not free until you leave the plantation?

    STUDENT:
    They’re free, legally, obviously but I feel like obviously, in reality, they’re not gonna get their freedom staying on that plantation because their owners are going to take advantage of the fact that they previously owned them, I guess, so.

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    (interview)
    I come prepared with a whole series of questions, um, of what I call open ended questions that I think will really excite kids and sharpen debate.

    STUDENT:
    I don’t think it was wrong, what he did, that he stole his masters horse and in his eyes, that was his exit to freedom.

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    (interview)
    So my role is to really facilitate the debate and to facilitate kind of a deeper of unpacking of the meaning of the text.
    (to class)
    Yes, Jamilla.

    STUDENT:
    You asked if we thought that was freedom in his opinion?

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    Yes.

    STUDENT:
    No because how are they gonna make money, like if they get away? Like he’s saying get away and make money and forget about white people but how are they, how are they all gonna do that and it work? So, no, I don’t think its freedom.

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    Jabari.

    STUDENT:
    I think that there’s too many definitions of freedom back then because freedom to the slaves meant one thing. Freedom to the slave owners meant another thing and people in the North and just people in general and in the government. And I also feel like some people were like, “Okay, well you’re free but I don’t respect your freedom”. So they don’t really get to take advantage of their rights because other people don’t respect their freedom.

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    (to class)
    I mean, you raise an interesting question because I assume you read some of the rest of this stuff.
    (interview)
    Text is something that helps them develop their thinking. And they use it to sort of defend a point of view or respond to another point of view which is different than in a traditional classroom because I am not asking them to say “What does this mean? Yes, you’re right. No, you’re wrong.” I am saying, “What does this mean to you?”

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    (to class)
    “You don’t know the Niggers. No nigger, free or slave, in these southern states, nor in any part of the known world ever would work or ever will work unless he’s made to”. Now, what do you do with people like that? Do you deny them the right to vote? Do you deny them the right to be in the government?

    STUDENT:
    All these people committed treason so why couldn’t they just be executed?

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    What about it? What about ki- He’s saying that these people committed an act of treason. They don’t want to respect the rights of the newly- of the former slaves, why don’t we just kill them all?

    STUDENT:
    The reason that Lincoln started the war was to bring back the South and if you’re just gonna kill all their leaders it’s just gonna bring back the sectional divide that they had.

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    (interview)
    When you’re opening things up like this and you’re encouraging student voice, you’re gonna have some comments that address the initial question, you’re going to have comments that address a new question, you’re going to have some comments that are extraneous and my job is to track the various debates that are going on and to be sort of able to scaffold them in a way for the students.

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    She’s saying, “Look, the goal of the war was to unify the country. If we follow Saloul’s policy and kill all the white leaders of the South, then we’re gonna turn of all the white people of the South, we’re never gonna be able to make them part of the country again.” Saloul is saying, “But don’t you want those people taught a lesson that you have to respect the rights of black people now that they’re no longer slaves?” Who is right? That is my question. Jabari and then Ezra.

    STUDENT:
    They could bring them back in but differently, like, I think instead of having to kill them, make them agree to abiding by these rules otherwise they’ll be punished. Say like prisoners. Something a little bit more moral than killing…

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    (interview)
    They’re learning how to support their ideas with evidence. They’re learning how to sort of refine their ideas when their ideas are challenged or modify them or even change them if someone else’s argument convinces them. These are all skills one needs as a reader and a writer as well.

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    (music fades in)
    So what I’m trying to do here is work on the same things and discussion that I want the kids to develop as readers and writers.

    STUDENT:
    We’re not really reading from a textbook and answering questions but we actually talk about what we think.

    STUDENT:
    I feel like you learn more because you learn about like other peoples opinions and you get to share how to feel about the subject.

    STUDENT:
    I like talking to the students as opposed to just reading or listening to a teacher talk because then I have motivation to stay in the class and be engaged. I think I become a better thinker and speaker.

    * * *END OF AUDIO* * *
    * * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *

School Details

Urban Academy Laboratory High School
317 East 67th Street
New York NY 10065
Population: 154

Data Provided By:

greatschools

Teachers

Avram Barlowe

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Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Collaboration

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Planning

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Engagement

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12 / ELA / Tch DIY