October 2, 2017
|
By Mia Perez

Lesson plan

He Said/She Said, I Said/You Said

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Students will be able to compare and contrast firsthand and secondhand accounts and identify the differences in focus and information in accounts of the same event.

(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that today we will talking about different types of Accounts, which are descriptions of an event or an experience.
  • Ask students to brainstorm a list of examples of written accounts (e.g., diaries, autobiographies, encyclopedias, and textbooks). Write students’ ideas on chart paper.
  • Ask students to think about the authors of these different accounts. Ask: “How is the author of a diary different from the author of a textbook?”
  • Support students to understand that there are two different types of accounts: firsthand accounts and secondhand accounts.
(5 minutes)
  • On a new piece of chart paper, write the headings “firsthand account” and “secondhand account” at the top.
  • Explain that a Firsthand accountIs a description of an event or an experience from someone who was there at the time of the event and a Secondhand accountIs a description of an event or experience by someone who learned of the event through research or by someone who was there.
  • Show students their brainstormed list of different written accounts and have them sort this list based on firsthand accounts and secondhand accounts. Encourage students to add more to the list.
  • Write students’ ideas on the chart paper under each heading.
(15 minutes)
  • Tell students that you will be looking at two different accounts of the same historical event — the sinking of the Titanic.
  • Project the firsthand account of the sinking of the Titanic by Elizabeth Shutes (see suggested media).
  • Read the excerpt aloud and and ask students to read along silently.
  • Project the secondhand account of the sinking of the Titanic as reported by the New York Times(see suggested media).
  • Read the excerpt aloud and and ask students to read along silently.
  • On chart paper, draw a Venn diagram. Label one circle as “firsthand account” and the second circle as “secondhand account.”
  • Discuss what information in the two accounts is similar (e.g., same event). Write this information in the overlapping section of the two circles.
  • Discuss what information in the two accounts is different (first person vs. third person point of view, and emotions and opinions vs pure facts). Write this information in each corresponding circle.
(25 minutes)
  • Tell students that it is their turn to compare and contrast two accounts of the same event independently.
  • Project the firsthand account of Migrant MotherBy the photographer Dorothea Lange (see suggested media).
  • Project the secondhand account of Migrant MotherBy Alan Herbert (see suggested media).
  • Read the firsthand and secondhand accounts aloud and and ask students to read along silently.
  • Distribute the Venn Diagram: Compare and Contrast Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts worksheet
  • Instruct students to fill in the Venn Diagram: Compare and Contrast Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts worksheet using the information from these two accounts.
  • After completing the Venn diagram, ask students to use their ideas from our discussion and from their analysis of these different accounts to write a response.
  • Write the response question on the board: “Why is important to read more than one account of an event?”

Support:

  • For students who need extra support, reread the accounts with the student and talk through their ideas with them before they get started on Venn Diagram: Compare and Contrast Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts worksheet.
  • Use the Response Writing: Comparing Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts worksheet with sentence strips and a word bank to aid students as they write their responses.

Enrichment:

  • For students who need an extra challenge, ask them to create their own firsthand and secondhand account of an event from their personal life.
  • For advanced students, introduce the idea of bias (a prejudice in favor or against one gender, race, disability, or social class) and ask them to write about the role of bias in firsthand accounts and secondhand accounts.
(5 minutes)
  • Call students to the rug.
  • Place students into groups of 4-6 and distribute Firsthand or Secondhand? sorting cards to each group.
  • Ask students to read each card and separate them into firsthand accounts and secondhand accounts.
  • During this assessment, circulate the room to determine whether students are able to properly sort the cards.
  • After each group has completed the activity, review the answers as a class.
(5 minutes)
  • Review with students the ways in which a firsthand account of an event is different from a secondhand account of an event. For example: Firsthand accounts often include more details than a secondhand account such as the author’s thoughts and feelings. Also, knowing how someone feels will better help us, as the reader, understand the reasons for their actions.
  • Ask students to share some ideas from their responses about why it is important to read more than one account of an event.

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