Keep it or Junk it: A Student-Run Lesson
Lesson Objective: Facilitate discussion by deciding whether to 'keep it or junk it'
Grades 3-5 / ELA / History

Thought starters

  1. How do students demonstrate their understanding of the text?
  2. How do student facilitators help to increase participation and engagement?
  3. What role does Ms. Brouhard play in this discussion?
6 Comments

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After watching this video, this seems like a great activity to do with the students because this gives the students a chance to run their classroom and the subject they are learning about. It also helps the students voice their own opinion respectfully with each other and feel confident. My question is, how do you know which subject to do this activity with?

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I fully agree with you

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From this video i learned that kids can teach themselves and other kids pretty well. As long as there's an adult to keep things on track and remind kids of the focus, this lesson seems to be very useful. It supports the notion that teaching is the best way to learn. 

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"Keep it or Junk it" is a great strategy to use in the classroom because your students get time to brainstorm on what specific words from the article help or dont help with the focus question. Students can often get lost in the text and put their focus on something not as important. Also, they get to share and hear other perspectives. This strategy not only allows students to feel valued but to also work on their speaking, reading, listening skills.

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This is such a good activity to do! I really liked seeing how the students become the teacher in this lesson. It gave those girls that stood up and asked about their words the power to ask their classmates whether they wanted to junk it, keep it, or cloud it and then specifically asked a couple students to explain why they would junk it or keep it. You can really see how independent and respectful they are able to become in this activity. Also, I liked how the teacher was mostly observing them and only redirected them back to the focus question twice, but was not being intrusive. I was wondering what grades this activity would work for? Because I do feel like it works better the older they are since it's very independent.

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Transcripts

  • Male Voice: Get ready to see a near-perfect student-run lesson. Here comes the fifth-grade class of teacher Jennifer Brouard doing

    Male Voice: Get ready to see a near-perfect student-run lesson. Here comes the fifth-grade class of teacher Jennifer Brouard doing “Keep It or Junk It.” There’s another video on site where Jennifer explains her teaching, but this video shows the students in action just as it happened.

    The day before, the class read a two-page passage about the Jamestown Colony in the 1600s.

    Interviewee: England [cross talk 00:37].

    Male Voice: In small groups, they made lists of key words to use to answer a focus question. Now, as a class, the students review each word and decide to keep it or junk it.

    Interviewer: Okay, so we have our four students who are gonna lead this. One of you is gonna write in the pair and then one of you is gonna do the keep it or junk it words, okay? I’ll give the directions—so up there, and the other two over here.

    Interviewer: We’re gonna do Keep It or Junk It right now, and B1 is tobacco, one keep, two junk, three cloud.

    Interviewer: Everybody must—

    Interviewer: Everybody must vote. Jonathan 01:19, why do you wanna keep it?

    Interviewee: I wanna keep tobacco because it’s mostly the main idea of this whole passage.

    Interviewer: Okay. Garrett 01:26, why do you wanna keep it?

    Interviewee: I wanna keep it because Powhatan sold it to the English to make a profit.

    Interviewer: Okay, so one keep, two junk, three cloud.

    Interviewer: Okay. I think we’re gonna keep it, so the second word is profit. One keep, two junk, three cloud. Anthony 01:54, why do you wanna keep it?

    Interviewee: Because you can make profit by selling the tobacco.

    Interviewer: Okay. One keep, two junk, three cloud.

    Interviewer: I see clouds.

    Interviewer: I think we’re gonna cloud it. Okay. B3 is working hand labor. One keep, two junk, three cloud. Alex 02:23, why do you wanna junk it?

    Interviewee: Well, we don’t really need it ‘cause they’re mostly just planting it. They’re not doing hard labor. That just—like they’re planting the tobacco and just watering it.

    Interviewer: Okay. One keep, two junk, three cloud.

    Interviewee: Okay. Junks.

    Interviewer: We’re gonna junk it. B4 is land. One keep, two junk, three cloud. Everybody has to vote. Alex, why do you wanna keep it?

    Interviewee: I wanna keep it because they needed—people needed land to grow tobacco.

    Interviewer: Okay. Garrett, why do you wanna junk it?

    Interviewee: ‘Cause I think we already know if you have tobacco, you need land in order to plant it.

    Interviewer: Okay. One keep, two junk, three cloud.

    Interviewer: Junk [inaudible 03:19] clouds.

    Interviewer: Cloud it. Okay. B5 is supplies. One keep, two junk, three cloud it. Everybody vote, and raise your hand higher so we can see. Thank you. Cynthia 03:39, why do you wanna keep it?

    Interviewee: Because the Dutch ship captain traded 20 Africans for the supplies that he needed.

    Interviewer: Okay. One keep, two junk, three cloud. I think we’re gonna junk it. Okay. B6 is farmers. One keep, two junk, three cloud. Who’s hand—Kai 04:18, why do you wanna junk it?

    Interviewee: Because I think that everybody probably knows that they—most—the farmers—they most did tobacco planting and stuff, so that’s—I don’t think we really need it, ‘cause it kinda just—well, thing.

    Interviewer: Anybody wanna keep it? Okay. One keep, two junk, three cloud. Okay. That’s [cross talk 04:41] we’re gonna junk it. B7 is colonists. One keep, two junk, three cloud. Marquino 04:49, why do you wanna keep it?

    Interviewee: Because they’re the ones that came, and they planted the tobacco for the profit.

    [05:00]

    Interviewer: Okay. Anyone wanna—Athena 05:02, why do you wanna junk it?

    Interviewee: I think we should junk it because the Powhatan first planted it, and then they—and then the colonists found out about the tobacco.

    Interviewer: Okay. One keep, two junk, three cloud. We’re gonna cloud it.

    Interviewer: Okay. We’re gonna—is that your last word on your list?

    Interviewer: Yeah.

    Interviewer: Okay. We’re gonna switch and let these guys do one now. Is that you, Mary 05:37? Okay.

    Interviewer: We’re gonna start with key words with C. One key words was women, so one keep, two junk, three cloud. Okay. Vaughn 05:22, why do you wanna keep it?

    Interviewee: Well, because they were the ones that came over and it—the settlers would die off if there wasn’t any women.

    Interviewer: Okay. Anybody else wanna say something? Sophia 06:08, why do you wanna junk it?

    Interviewee: We don’t have enough information to support the claim.

    Interviewer: Anybody else? Okay, then we’re done. One keep, two junk, three cloud. We’re gonna junk it. Next word is children. One keep, two junk, three cloud. We’re gonna junk it. Next word, 20 African captives. One keep, two junk, three cloud. Aidan 06:38, why do you wanna keep it?

    Interviewee: Well, because that’s—‘cause that kinda started the whole slavery thing in Virginia, and someone—they needed—of course, the colonists needed some help planting tobacco—planting and harvesting tobacco.

    Interviewer: Okay. Nathaniel 06:58, why do you wanna junk it?

    Interviewee: Because doesn’t it—well, doesn’t have enough to support it.

    Interviewer: One keep, two junk, three cloud. We’re gonna junk it. Next word, England. One keep, two junk, three cloud. England. Joaquinio 07:25, why do you wanna keep it?

    Interviewee: I wanna keep it because that’s where they came from.

    Interviewer: Anybody else? Okay, one more time. One keep, two junk, three cloud. Let me ask one more time. Jonathan 07:41, why do you—never mind. Junio 07:44, why do you wanna junk it?

    Interviewee: We already know that they’re from England and we don’t’ really need it.

    Interviewer: Okay. Elena 07:59, why do you wanna junk it?

    Interviewee: Because it’s just like a supporting detail and the whole passage is not just about England. It’s more about the tobacco and other things.

    Interviewer: One more time. One keep, two junk, three cloud, and we’re gonna junk it.

    Interviewer: As you guys are looking at these words, you have to think about the focus question too, right? Our focus question is, “What happens as a result of English settlement?”

    Interviewee: [Inaudible 08:29].

    Interviewer: In where?

    Interviewee: Jamestown, Virginia.

    Interviewer: Jamestown.

    Interviewer: [Inaudible 08:34] that and C5.

    Interviewer: Okay. Next, West Indies. One keep, two junk, three cloud. Kai, why do you wanna keep it?

    Interviewee: I think we should keep it because that’s where they planted some of it, and that’s where—yeah, that’s pretty—yeah, you got it.

    Interviewer: Okay. Jonah 08:57, why do you wanna junk it?

    Interviewee: I wanna junk it because in the passage, they weren’t really talking about the West Indies. Even though that—even though they grow tobacco, they just didn’t really talk about it too much.

    Interviewer: One keep, two junk, three cloud. We’re gonna junk it.

    Interviewer: Okay. Again, Kai, I want you to go back to the focus question. What are we talking about. Where are we talking about.

    Interviewee: What happens at—what happened as a result of the English settlement of Jamestown, Virginia?

    Interviewer: Even though they planted tobacco in the West Indies, what’s our focus—what are we interested in our research?

    Interviewee: What happened as a result of the English settlement in Jamestown, Virginia.

    Interviewer: In Jamestown, right? Are we interested right now in growing tobacco in West Indies?

    Interviewee: No.

    Interviewer: No, okay. Keep going back as you’re answering your—why you keep it or junk it, how does it help you or not help you with that focus question.

    [10:00]

    Interviewer: Okay. Next, Virginia. One keep, two junk, three cloud. We’re gonna junk it.

School Details

Glenview Elementary School
4215 La Cresta Avenue
Oakland CA 94602
Population: 460

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Jennifer Brouhard

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