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Common Core Standards: ELA

Grades 9-10

Reading RI.9-10.7

Standard 7: Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.

Breakin’ it Down:

Late night comedians are the masters of this standard. In the words of Emily Dickinson, “Tell all the truth, but tell it slant.” This standard is all about getting students to analyze how facts can be interpreted in different lights.

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Teaching Guides Using this Standard

Example 1

Teacher Feature: Ideas for the classroom

HATCHLING: The Late Night Lens

Read an important press release, speech, or news event. Then find the coverage and analysis of that text that will no doubt spring up on the news and YouTube. See how different groups have managed to ‘spin it’. Analyze what elements of the original have been either taken out or taken out of context. Not only are you teaching the standard, but you’re also getting students engaged in current events!

Example 2

TAKE FLIGHT: He said, She said

Have all students in your class read the same text or watch the same video clip of a rhetorical event. Beforehand, have everyone develop a persona or “secret identity”. Make sure they’ve decided on specifics: age, occupation, education, historical time period, location of residence, family structure, race, religion, hobbies, etc.

Then, ask students to analyze the video or text from the point of view of their persona and take notes. What is going to be important/ shocking/ irrelevant to their character? How will he/she interpret different parts of what is being said?

Follow up by asking them to write an interpretive summary or critique of the text or video from the point of view of their persona. They’ll be surprised by what gets emphasized in each person’s account!

Quiz Questions

Here's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.

  1. Read these two excerpts, and then answer the question that follows:

    TEXT A: “Arizona Enacts Stringent Laws on Immigration” by Randal C. Archibold, published in the New York Times.

    PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed the nation’s toughest bill on illegal immigration into law on Friday. Its aim is to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants.

    The move unleashed immediate protests and reignited the divisive battle over immigration reform nationally.

    Even before she signed the bill at an afternoon news conference here, President Obama strongly criticized it.

    Speaking at a naturalization ceremony for 24 active-duty service members in the Rose Garden, he called for a federal overhaul of immigration laws, which Congressional leaders signaled they were preparing to take up soon, to avoid “irresponsibility by others.”

    The Arizona law, he added, threatened “to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.”

    The law, which proponents and critics alike said was the broadest and strictest immigration measure in generations, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Opponents have called it an open invitation for harassment and discrimination against Hispanics regardless of their citizenship status.

    TEXT B: “State AGs, Democrats File Briefs Against Arizona Immigration Law” by Elise Foley, published in the Huffington Post.

    WASHINGTON -- While the Supreme Court justices took up health care, opponents of Arizona's extreme immigration law looked ahead.

    Eleven attorneys general filed an amicus brief on Monday in support of the federal government's suit against the law, SB 1070, which the Supreme Court will hear in April. Nearly 70 House Democrats, led by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), filed a separate, but similar, brief.

    The fight over Arizona's immigration law, though slightly lower profile than the constitutionality question on health care, is likely to provoke a firestorm as the Obama administration pits itself against Republican state lawmakers who attempted to take up enforcement of immigration law on their own.

    The Justice Department sued Arizona in July 2010, two months after the law was passed, to block measures that government lawyers argued were unconstitutional. A few of those provisions were blocked before the end of the month, including measures requiring police to check immigration status of those they suspected to be in the country illegally or violators of offenses that could lead to deportation.

    Opponents say the law is unconstitutional because it preempts the federal role to police immigration. But they also said the law is harmful for other reasons, such as diverting police efforts from other issues.

    In what way do the two news articles covering the Arizona immigration law differ?

    Correct Answer:

    Text A highlights how the law will affect the victims, while Text B focuses on how the law will impact the police officers.

    Answer Explanation:

    • (a) - Good! The last paragraph of A focuses on the harassment that Hispanic populations might face, but the final paragraph of A shows how the law might eat up the time and resources of the police officers.
    • (b) - The President’s quote states that law hurts ‘basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans’. So Text A definitely doesn’t show the law as fair.
    • (c) - Both articles address the legal problems with the law. Also, neither text is focused solely on emotions. They both discuss the facts and politics behind the law.
    • (d) - Even though the President is quoted in Text A, the article is not just through his eyes. Also, Text B doesn’t use any direct quotes or stories from immigrants, so this also makes the answer incorrect.

  2. Activity 2: Watch the two video clips below that analyze the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Then, answer the questions below.

    VIDEO 1: Dateline Documentary

    VIDEO 2: British Pathe

    Although both videos address President Roosevelt’s announcement, the main difference between the two is that:

    Correct Answer:

    Video 1 depicts the announcement as a major national event, but Video 2 depicts the announcement as a confidential speech directed only at Congress.

    Answer Explanation:

    • (a) - The correct answer is B. In Video 2, the commentator says clearly that the president announced that there was a war between the countries and Congress gave him permission to ‘prosecute the conflict all out’.
    • (b) - Well done! In the first documentary, we see clips of large crowds of Americans stopping to listen to the speech on the streets. But the second video only briefly mentions that President Roosevelt informed Congress of the attack, making the event seem small.
    • (c) - The correct answer is B. In both videos, the speech is surrounded with images of serious faces and destruction. There is not a hint of joy in either account of the speech.
    • (d) - The correct answer is B. Neither video has anything pointing to any disagreement with the president’s speech. In fact, in the first video, his words are met with applause from the crowd.

  3. Which of the videos offers a positive depiction of the Japanese?

    Correct Answer:

    Video 1

    Answer Explanation:

    • (a) - Yes! If you listen to the words and phrases in this video, you’ll notice descriptions of the Japanese like: “struck an all-important blow”, “highly-skilled Japanese pilots, “Japanese retire into the morning sun”, and “bold and daring strike has earned them a glorious victory”.
    • (b) - Nope! The correct answer is A. In the second video, descriptions of the Japanese and their actions are given a more neutral or negative spin. They mention that the video of the destruction is ‘filmed for propaganda purposes’ and the clip that claims that they have ‘murdered American citizens… and committed unbelievable treachery’ is also included.
    • (c) - The correct answer is A. Even though the first video gives the Japanese a positive spin, the second video is more neutral or negative.
    • (d) - The correct answer is A. If you picked this answer, you missed the positive descriptions of the Japanese in Video 1

  4. Activity 2: Watch the video about Benjamin Franklin’s life, and read the extract from his autobiography. Then, answer the questions below.

    VIDEO: “Benjamin Franklin”

    EXTRACT: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

    “My elder brothers were all put apprentices to different trades. I was put to the grammar-school at eight years of age, my father intending to devote me to the service of the Church. My early readiness in learning to read (which must have been very early, as I do not remember when I could not read), and the opinion of all his friends, that I should certainly make a good scholar, encouraged him in this purpose of his.

    I continued, however, at the grammar-school not quite one year, though in that time I had risen gradually from the middle of the class of that year to be the head of it, and farther was removed into the next class above it, in order to go with that into the third at the end of the year. But my father, in the meantime, from a view of the expense of a college education, which having so large a family he could not well afford, he took me from the grammar-school, and sent me to a school for writing and arithmetic, kept by a then famous man, Mr. George Brownell, very successful in his profession generally. Under him I acquired fair writing pretty soon, but I failed in the arithmetic, and made no progress in it. At ten years old I was taken home to assist my father in his business, which was that of a tallow-chandler and soap-boiler; a business he was not bred to, but had assumed on his arrival in New England. Accordingly, I was employed in cutting wick for the candles, filling the dipping mold and the molds for cast candles, attending the shop, going of errands, etc. […]

    From a child I was fond of reading, and all the little money that came into my hands was ever laid out in books. Pleased with the Pilgrim's Progress, my first collection was of John Bunyan's works in separate little volumes. I afterward sold them to enable me to buy R. Burton's Historical Collections; they were small books, and cheap, 40 or 50 in all. My father's little library consisted chiefly of books in [religion], most of which I read, and have since often regretted that, at a time when I had such a thirst for knowledge, more proper books had not fallen in my way since it was now resolved I should not be a clergyman.

    This bookish inclination at length determined my father to make me a printer, though he had already one son (James) of that profession. In 1717 my brother James returned from England with a press and letters to set up his business in Boston. I liked it much better than that of my father, but still had a hankering for the sea. […] I now had access to better books. An acquaintance with the apprentices of booksellers enabled me sometimes to borrow a small one, which I was careful to return soon and clean. Often I sat up in my room reading the greatest part of the night, when the book was borrowed in the evening and to be returned early in the morning, lest it should be missed or wanted.”

    Which element of his story is included in his written autobiography but skipped over in the video version?

    Correct Answer:

    Benjamin’s personal flaws

    Answer Explanation:

    • (a) - Nice work! His autobiography includes details like the fact that he failed arithmetic. But the video only highlights his talents and achievements. The video is creating his identity as a hero and American icon, so they don’t want to show his bad side!
    • (b) - Nope. Both his autobiography and the video talk about how his father influenced his life and his career. In the video, his father is described as an ingenious and talented man, and that Benjamin crafted himself in his father’s image. His writing includes a lot of details about how his father shaped the direction of his career.
    • (c) - Even though we know that he worked with his brother, we don’t see evidence of a close friendship between brothers in either version.
    • (d) - This is actually highlighted in both the video and his own writing. In the movie we get details about what he wrote and how he worked in printing. In his writing he directly says he’s fond of reading and he quickly became a ‘fair writer’.

  5. Which detail of his life has been omitted by the video version?

    Correct Answer:

    The complicated reasons behind Benjamin leaving grammar school.

    Answer Explanation:

    • (a) - The correct answer is D. The video does say that his father feared he would leave to work on the seas, so he set him up to work with his older brother.
    • (b) - The correct answer is D. If anything, the video highlights his skills and abilities. It refers to him more than once as an excellent student and skilled writer.
    • (c) - Nope. Both the video and his autobiography note that he spent time in Boston as a child.
    • (d) - Yes! In his autobiography, he mentions that his father removed him from school because he could not afford college tuition. But the video merely says that he left school to help his father in the candle shop.

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