Common Core Standards: ELA
Comprehension and Collaboration
SL.9-10.1. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
- Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
- Work with peers to set rules for collegial discussions and decision-making (e.g., informal consensus, taking votes on key issues, presentation of alternate views), clear goals and deadlines, and individual roles as needed.
- Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions.
- Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.
This standard lets students skip the work of proving they know a particular subject in favor of letting them focus on how they communicate in small groups. In grades 9-10, the big issues for group communication include:
- Be prepared: look into the topic under discussion, do any assigned reading or other work, and refer to those materials when expressing opinions or bringing up questions or issues.
- Set up rules for in-group communication (who gets to speak when, etc.), and plan to figure out who is responsible for which parts of the project and how the group will communicate when working together.
- Keep a conversation going: ask and answer questions, draw others into the discussion if they’re hesitating, and summarize and clarify the main ideas talked about.
- Think about and respond to other people’s ideas and opinions, summarize where group members agree and when they disagree.
- When appropriate, qualify or justify one’s own stance on an issue and connect one’s position to the other ideas in the group.
Stated plainly, these goals sound bafflingly hollow; and without a topic for the group to talk about or work on, they are. The following activities and questions should help students clear up some of the confusion.
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Using this Standard
- 1984 Teacher Pass
- A Raisin in the Sun Teacher Pass
- A Rose For Emily Teacher Pass
- A View from the Bridge Teacher Pass
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Teacher Pass
- Animal Farm Teacher Pass
- Antigone Teacher Pass
- Beowulf Teacher Pass
- Brave New World Teacher Pass
- Death of a Salesman Teacher Pass
- Fahrenheit 451 Teacher Pass
- Fences Teacher Pass
- Frankenstein Teacher Pass
- Grapes Of Wrath Teacher Pass
- Great Expectations Teacher Pass
- Hamlet Teacher Pass
- Heart of Darkness Teacher Pass
- Julius Caesar Teacher Pass
- King Lear Teacher Pass
- Lord of the Flies Teacher Pass
- Macbeth Teacher Pass
- Moby Dick Teacher Pass
- Narrative of Frederick Douglass Teacher Pass
- Oedipus the King Teacher Pass
- Of Mice and Men Teacher Pass
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Teacher Pass
- Othello Teacher Pass
- Romeo and Juliet Teacher Pass
- Sula Teacher Pass
- The Aeneid Teacher Pass
- The As I Lay Dying Teacher Pass
- The Bluest Eye Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales General Prologue Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Teacher Pass
- The Cask of Amontillado Teacher Pass
- The Catch-22 Teacher Pass
- The Catcher in the Rye Teacher Pass
- The Crucible Teacher Pass
- The Great Gatsby Teacher Pass
- The House on Mango Street Teacher Pass
- The Iliad Teacher Pass
- The Lottery Teacher Pass
- The Metamorphosis Teacher Pass
- The Odyssey Teacher Pass
- The Old Man and the Sea Teacher Pass
- The Scarlet Letter Teacher Pass
- The Tell-Tale Heart Teacher Pass
- Their Eyes Were Watching God Teacher Pass
- Things Fall Apart Teacher Pass
- To Kill a Mockingbird Teacher Pass
- Twilight Teacher Pass
- Wide Sargasso Sea Teacher Pass
- Wuthering Heights Teacher Pass
Sample Activities for Use in Class
1. Debate Team(s)
Make a set of five to eight (more if your group is particularly large) slips or index cards, each of which contains a topic that ninth and tenth graders might be interested in. State each as a declarative opinion; for instance, “All motorcyclists should be required to wear helmets” or, “The book version of any story is always better than the movie version.” Choose or have students choose a topic, and then split the class in half. One half will be “for” the proposition, the other “against.”
Give the “for” and “against” groups 15-20 minutes to discuss their respective positions, keeping in mind some basic ground rules of groups: everyone must have a chance to speak, raise your hand when you want to speak, etc. You may prepare these rules ahead of time or have the class set them up and agree on them, if time permits. When the 15-20 minutes have passed, have students reconvene, then split them into groups of four, with two “for” students and two “against” students in each group. Then, give these groups 15-20 minutes to talk, again having them follow certain ground rules. Group members may also take notes on who’s speaking, how, and so on.
At the end of the allotted time, have the class come together as a whole to discuss what happened in each group. Who hogged the floor? Who was shy? Did members wait their turn to speak, and how did they indicate they wanted to speak when the current speaker was finished - or did they just interrupt themselves? Did they stick to the “ground rules,” and if not, why not?
2. Ground Rules for Groups of All Sizes
This activity can be done separately from the above activity, before it, or alongside it. You will need a chalkboard or some other medium of display that you can write on for the entire class to see.
Have students offer “ground rules” for group communications in general, and write them on the board. Some common examples include: “raise your hand to speak,” “don’t interrupt,” “don’t use personal insults or attacks,” “do the reading before coming to class.” In a blank space near this “master list,” make a list of the different types of groups students are most likely to find themselves working in: one on one interaction, small groups without a leader, and larger groups with a teacher or manager in charge.
Then, ask students when they might change the “ground rules” for each type of group. For instance, a one-on-one collaboration might not require students to raise their hands. Discuss what types of rules might be used to replace any discarded “ground rules” and why. How does knowing what the “ground rules” are help people communicate? When is it appropriate to ask for creation or clarification of these “ground rules”? What sort of behavior is simply not appropriate in any kind of group?
Quiz 1 QuestionsHere's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.
Quiz 2 QuestionsHere's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.
Questions 1-10 are based on the following scenario:
You are in a small group in your English class, along with your classmates Carrie, Harry, and Terry, discussing Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird.