I got a call from Patrick McCloskey, a reporter for Teacher Magazine who is writing an article about Will. He was asking me questions about the Georgia-NJ Collaboration. It’s really funny how things work out sometimes because last evening I had been going through some boxes from my recent move. I came across files I had saved from that collaboration. The conversations between those students were exceptional. Even though this is from the 2002-2003 school year I thought it would be great to post as a best practice. Kristine was a high school students from Will’s journalism class who was mentoring Lucy (my fifth grader). She took a “Free Speech” article from Time for Kids and used the article to show the different elements and parts of the story. Not only did she explain what each part does but also what it should include. It was color coded and Kristine’s thoughts were put in “bold”. It was outstanding. It is worthy of being reposted:
March 19, 2003
Free Speech From Time For Kids
Using this article we have broken down the different elements and parts of the story and explained what each does, and what it should include.
*My comments are in bold
Stephen Downs, 61, and his 31-year-old son, Roger, went shopping at a mall in Guilderland, New York, last Monday. They got a lot more than they bargained for.
The two had T-shirts printed. Roger’s said, “No War with Iraq.” His dad’s said, “Peace on Earth.” They put on the shirts over their other clothes. The antiwar messages caught the attention of a security guard, who asked the men to take off the shirts. They refused. The guard came back with a police officer, who asked them to remove the shirts or leave. Roger took his off, but his dad still said no.
“I said, ‘All right then, arrest me if you have to,'” Stephen Downs recalls. “So they did. They put the handcuffs on and took me away.” Two days later, about 100 protesters marched in the mall to support Downs. A trespassing charge was dropped, but both men were upset.
“I think he’d like an apology,” Roger said of his father.
-The lead of the article ends here and this lead does a good job of setting up the article so the reader knows what its going to be about. At the same time it tries to grab the reader’s attention by describing the situation and including an arrest and police involvement. It does its job because everyone wants to know what happened to these people after they got arrested and what exactly they got in trouble for.
Americans treasure free speech and expression. Our right to share our ideas–by writing them in books, shouting them at a rally or ironing them onto T-shirts–is protected by the First Amendment. The amendment is one of 10 in the Bill of Rights, added to the Constitution in 1791. Lawmakers of the day passed the Bill of Rights because they believed that some key freedoms, including speech protection, should be part of the Constitution.
-This is what is called a nutgraph. It’s purpose is to clarify what the story is about, and explain it in further detail then the lead did. It clears up any unanswered questions that the lead might have created.
But First Amendment experts say that the right to speak freely comes with an unwritten requirement to act responsibly. “Many Americans have an overdeveloped sense of rights and an underdeveloped sense of responsibility,” says Sam Chaltain, coordinator of the First Amendment Schools project. “Our rights are spelled out in the First Amendment. But the amendment will work only if we guard the rights of those with whom we disagree.”
-The first sentence in this paragraph is the set-up of the quote that follows it. It prepares the reader for what point the quote will be proving. This particular quote works well because it further explains what the writer is trying to convey to the reader. Immediately following the quote you name the source who said the quote.
With a possible war in Iraq looming, emotions across the country are running high. Last Wednesday, tens of thousands of high school and college students all over America left their classrooms and staged large antiwar demonstrations. Other Americans feel just as strongly about expressing support for our leaders’ decisions. Those groups also held rallies and spoke out. When the two points of view clash, trouble can follow.
Take Toni Smith, a basketball player for Manhattanville College in New York. Because she objects to certain U.S. policies, she does not salute the flag as the national anthem is played before her games. (this paragraph gives examples. lets the reader know that there are other things that relate to this story that have happened in the past)
Some opposing teams’ fans began to boo Smith. They wore American flag pins and waved the flag to taunt her. On February 23, a Vietnam War veteran came onto the court and held a flag in front of her. He was thrown out of the arena–not for expressing his view but for disrupting the game.
“Toni Smith was being patriotic by doing what she felt she must,” Chaltain told TFK. “Every person who chose to stand and put a hand over his heart during the anthem was exercising the same freedom.” (A good quote backs up the statement)
The First Amendment is often amended itself. Court decisions have limited its freedoms to protect individuals’ privacy or national security, among other goals. But speaking out, whether in favor of the government’s policies or against them, is among the fundamental rights–and responsibilities–of every American. It is, in fact, at the very heart of our democracy.
-The final paragraph of the article should sum up all of the points made within it. No new information should be added Free Speech From Time For Kids
Lucy shared it with all my kids and we had the opportunity to really share ideas, thoughts, and new learnings. What was really terrific was discovering later that Will did not even know that Kristine had done this until after I told him about Lucy’s blog. Kristine had the initiative to do this on her own, and on her own time. Will’s day was made (good teacher that he is) and boy, mine was too. I still get charged each time I read it!
There are other examples like this throughout the project. The learning and colloboration was personalized. Here’s the original link