Critical Reading & Thinking
2011 Unit Plans

About a four week unit. Critical Reading & Thinking Calendar

Food: The Emerging Health & Culture Revolution

The objectives of this unit are
  1. Students will read a variety of genres (film, print, Web, visual) for information.
    1. Discern between fact and opinion
    2. Find main points and the evidence for those points
      1. Facts and statistics
      2. ___
  2. (shift tab takes you back!!) Students will create an informational graphic to be used as evidence in a persuasive report on a self chosen topic This seems simple and easy!!!
  3. Students will publish their work on the Web (blog) and engage in transformational dialogue with peers
  4. I'm just amking this up. It should come from the CC and we should limit to five!

Introduction to the Unit

You are what you eat is an old saying. Do you think you eat healthy food? Does it matter where your food comes from? Whose responsibility is it to make sure all food is safe.
  • Take this survey about your eating habits. Create a survey that will serve to connect students to the topic and to generate data for later use. (done)
  • Watch the movie Food, Inc. As you watch, take notes on what you think are some of the key ideas presented in the film. Use a T chart notes form. Learn what it means to take notes from a film.
  • Watch Jamie Oliver's TED Talk. Take notes on this video also.
  • Engage in Class discussion about the two films. What did you already know? What surprised or shocked you? What changes might you make in your life as a result of this film if any? What do you want to tell your parents about your family's food habits after watching this film? What do you think about our school's food service program as a result of watching this film? What changes would you make to school lunch if you were in charge tomorrow?
  • Students will develop at least three questions, three things they want to know more about. Eventually, they will choose one of the three as their personal research/inquiry question. That question will guide their independent reading on this topic.
  • As a class, we will generate possible topics/questions and put them on the board. Some students will have the same or similar question as another student, but each student will explore the topic in his/her own way.
  • The final product is a blog page that includes:
    • An introductory paragraph that includes the inquiry question, the reason the student chose the topic/question, and a bit about what he/she learned overall.
    • A five to six paragraph report, including links to sites/blogs/etc. that students visited and explored.
    • A self-generated graph, chart using some data collected.
      • Choices:
      • 1) Use any data from the class survey to create a chart or graph. Use what fits your topic.
      • 2) Collect data on your own. It needs to be unique. Do not replicate the class survey.
        • Use a smart phone/iPod app to scan bar codes of food sold in school and calculate the relative nutritional values of the most popular foods.
        • Use a smart phone/iPod app to calculate your own family's nutritional profile to assess whether or not you're eating well.
        • Calculate your own family's "distance to table" footprint. In other words, what percent of your family's food is produced outside the 100 mile circle?
        • Come up with your own idea and be sure to get the method and the idea cleared by your teacher first
    • A concluding paragraph that reflects on the experience and what was learned.

If we study food, I have an idea for getting some data from the class of 2014. We could use a survey tool and ask questions like "how many meals per week do you eat at a fast food restaurant?" How many hours a week do you spend in front of a screen, watching TV for programs or games, using a computer for study, communicating with friends, or games (including school)? Etc. Questions that would mirror some of the stats in some of the articles they read. We can compile the raw numbers and they could create some infographs or?? to go with their posts/docs.

Some general ideas from our brainstorming session:
  • Objectives: be able to analyze a variety of article types to find
    • fact vs opinion
    • evidence and how professionals attribute information to a source
    • audience, purpose (SOAPSTone)
  • Direct students to noteworthy blogs that they can read, comment on? link to.
    • Take off from there to create their own post (link to that one)

Assignments/Documents Students will Produce

  1. Notes from film (graded)
  2. Analysis of three teacher provided articles using a SOAPSTone chart (articles are provided)
  • First one done together as a class
  • Second one with a partner
  • Third done individually and handed in (graded)

One assignment:
  • Read/study a topic by reading
    • one article
    • one blog
    • one excerpt from a book?
  • WRite own opinion using evidence from those sources.
Read visual data:
Read student blogs:
  • Fremd High School (Gary Anderson)
  • Write one defend, challenge, quailfy response blog, Link to original.
Learn to read visual information/documents (graphs, charts, etc.)
Create a graph/chart using data from the survey to support a point you are making in a blog post. Use the data as part of your evidence.


Learning Wikipedia (cool, not sure if it fits, though)
Fact vs Opinion organizer
Cool Fact/Opinion Interactive Site BBC
Fact Versus Opinion Lesson (Media stuff, too).
Blogging Rules: Bud Hunt

Media Writing Tips
Sources and Attribution from Georgetown University
Sources and Attribution from Wayzata Schools Document

Very Cool site: Food and Culture

Some guidelines/objectives: from North Carolina
Strong informational communication

  • Maintains a clear sense of purpose and focus on the topic
  • Creates or uses an organizing structure appropriate to purpose, audience, and context
  • Uses language and style appropriate to the audience and context
  • Includes appropriate detail and information for audience and context
  • Uses a range of appropriate strategies, such as
    • Providing facts and details
    • Describing or analyzing the subject
    • Narrating relevant anecdote(s)
    • Comparing and contrasting
    • Explaining benefits and/or limitations
    • Demonstrating claims or assertions
    • Offering scenario(s) to illustrate
    • Incorporating effective visual or media aids
  • Develops details rather than relying on general references
  • Avoids extraneous and/or inappropriate information
  • Uses transition words to increase coherence between ideas
  • Contains a beginning, middle, and end
    (adapted from New Standards Performance Standards, High School, National Center on Education and the Economy, 1997)
Articles for discussion?

Texts for information? Note-taking?
Kind of a cool research tool for students: Food Timeline