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The Boston Massacre presented in a tiered instruction model.
Background and Content: This unit is designed for a standard 11th Grade Virginia and United States History class that has read a packet of primary sources for homework the previous night. It focuses on government, military and civilian statements and reactions in the build up to, occurrence of, and aftermath of the Boston Massacre. The lessons are meant to build on the class’ preexisting knowledge of how primary and secondary sources help us to understand the causes and consequences of major events in history. It is designed to show students that the authors of primary and secondary resources possess different points of view and motivations in creating them, and provide important insight into an event- in this case, The Boston Massacre. Students should better understand how primary and secondary documents provide important information about events, and they will be able to interpret and explain the different points of view of John Adams, Sam Adams, Paul Revere, Captain Thomas Preston, and Prime Minister Lord North as they relate to the Boston Massacre.
Students will UNDERSTAND:
• That historical source documents bring history to life
By looking at and analyzing primary source documents, students will be able to understand what motives and figures were influencing the events taking place in this time period.
Students will KNOW
• That people who create primary and secondary resources possess different motivations for their works
• That different people have different points of view of the same event
Two different sides experienced the Boston Massacre, and both harbored extremely biased views. It is important that students know how to analyze the documents that they are presented with, and appreciate how each side will present their side of the story; this train of thought is also vital to a student’s analysis of future documents.
Students WILL BE ABLE TO:
• identify the motives and reasoning behind primary documents relating to the Boston Massacre.
• interpret and explain the different points of view of John Adams, Sam Adams, Paul Revere, a British Soldier, Kinge George III, General Thomas Gage, and Lord North as they relate to the Boston Massacre.
The strategies that the students have learned in assessing the sources and motives behind source documents will lead to analysis of the Boston Massacre through both subjective and objective points of view.
Standards of Learning:
SoL: USI.6 a). The student will demonstrate knowledge of the causes and results of the American Revolution by identifying the issues of dissatisfaction that led to the American Revolution
VUS.1a The student will demonstrate the ability to identify, analyze, and interpret primary and secondary source documents, records, and data, including artifacts, diaries, letters, photographs, journals, newspapers, historical accounts, and art, to increase understanding of events and life in the United States
a) As a Do It Now activity, have a discussion with the class about the events that led up to and occurred during the Boston Massacre. Present a digital story about the lead up to and aftermath of the Boston Massacre, using objective facts. Afterwards, discuss what we now know about what actually happened.
I believe that a video will engage the students, as they often welcome a respite from pure lecture. In addition, the digital story will present pictures and video that help tell the story of the Boston Massacre, which will allow Osman to better understand the event. Kelsey, too, will most likely watch as the lights will be turned off.
b) Present powerpoint of documents related to the Boston Massacre, including Paul Revere’s print type of the massacre, a British version of the print type, and letters from the soldiers, John Adams, Sam Adams, parliament, and early patriots. We will discuss these as a class, and determine the motives behind each side’s telling of the events. The images and documents will also be distributed to students in a packet.
Providing the students with pictures will allow me to make sure Osman has something to look and interpret for himself, as well as the powerpoint explaining key concepts, as well as clarifying those concepts through imagery and definitions of vocabulary that may be challenging for him. In addition, this will provide me with opportunities to call on Andrea if I feel she is talking to her neighbors, as well as Kelsey should I feel she is not…?
c) At the end of the powerpoint, I will split the class up into three groups, (of my choosing), according to readiness, and distribute the assignments for each group.
Tier 1 (Low Readiness)
Students in the category will answer the following questions independently using their notes, the textbook, and the primary source documents:
Who were the two sides fighting?
What were they fighting about? Are there specific incidents that led up to the Boston Massacre?
What happened in the aftermath?
Who won? Did anybody?
Was one side right or wrong?
Who are the key historical figures before, during, and after the Boston Massacre?
Based on their views, which side were these figures on?
Formative Assessment: Following their independent work, students will join into pairs to discuss their answers, and describe what side of the struggle the author of each document is on. Through walking around and interacting with the students I will be able to give them feedback, as well as scaffold important concepts to get them going in the right direction.
I believe that Osman would fit well into the tier one group, as it would scaffold the major concepts associated with source documents as they relate to the Boston Massacre, and the early stages of the American Revolution, as he will be able to identify the opposing sides and key players. In addition, deciding which side each figure is on will be easier for him than describing the motives that each man harbored, but will also allow him to relate the figures to the different sides. In addition, Osman will be able to discuss this with a partner in order to clarify what he does not already know and understand, while also placing him at a distance from larger groups that can gang up together and annoy him.
Tier 2 (Medium Readiness)
Students will be assigned a group- Patriots, or Tories and Englishmen. They will understand what each of these groups are from previous instruction, with regards to what side they represent, (Englishmen and tories on the side of the British, Patriots are for independence). By discerning what the figures’ positions are on topics, they will be able to identify which group those figures are in. Each group will be journalists covering the events transpiring in the Colonies. They are to research the various key figures that we have discussed in class, and talk about, in groups, how their respective publications would react to both the Boston Massacre and to speeches by given by the figures.
Formative Assessment: preliminary article on the events in the colonies from their publication’s point of view.
Kelsey’s predisposition to activities that have to do with creativity, language and writing, will allow her to excel, and become enthusiastic in approaching this activity, as well as facilitate discussions with her group. More importantly, however, it provokes her into addressing specific details of the Boston Massacre through analysis of documents, which she is adept at, but has yet to accommodate these facts into her consciousness.
Tier 3 (High Readiness)
Students will be assigned a group- Patriots or Englishmen, and will be assigned an important historical figure to research, including Paul Revere, John Adams, King George III, etc. The students will do their research based on the documents provided, as well as through the digital video and past notes. I will give them feedback on how well their arguments are formed as they give me outlines of said argument.
Formative Assessment: they will develop a 2-3 minute speech detailing their position regarding the Boston Massacre.
The reasoning behind the assignment designed for Andrea, and students like her, is to play up her interests and strong suits, while downplaying her negative character traits. Her academic preferences, of math and debate, are fields of learning that require the ability to formulate logical arguments and proofs. By providing a challenging assignment that is based in argument, as well as stage, Andrea will no longer think that history is boring, or easy; rather it will be a fun and challenging experience. In addition, her problems with turning assignments in on time will be taken care of as the deadline will be in front of the entire class, which she will want to meet so as to avoid letting down her friends, and being embarrassed. This group is presenting at the end of class during which time tier 1 will take notes, and tier 2 will take notes as they relate to their article and position.
Primary source documents from all of the figures involved, (Diary entries of John Adams and the soldiers, Paul Revere’s print type of the Massacre, correspondence with parliament, and article by Sam Adams); general class textbooks and books on the Boston Massacre; all students should have writing utensils and paper.
Method(s) of Assessment:
Assessment: Following the speeches by students of the third tier, the first tier will discuss in what ways the “figures” demonstrated bias, the second tier “journalists” will each write an article on the speeches given that day, and the third tier will assess and attempt to dismiss the opposing side’s views as a summative assessment on what they have learned from the exercise.
The summative assessment will provide for students at each level to challenge themselves, as the first tier will go beyond general facts, and assess the motives behind the “source” documents that are the speeches while still maintaining an appropriate level of difficulty. The second tier, too, addresses the concept of motives, albeit to a greater degree than the first tier, as they assess the new arguments given by the key figures. The third tier in this assessment offers significant metacognitive thought and logic, as they assess both their own arguments- that of their assumed identity- as well as that of their counterparts.
This was assembled for the revised/ tiered lesson plan. the following is the profiles of the three students that are referenced.
Pupil #1- Andrea (High- Readiness)
Andrea is an eleventh grade United States history student who performs well on assessments, demonstrates a deep understanding of the subject matter, and is also very popular amongst her peers. Recently, she started campaigning for the position of Vice President of student council, as she enjoys performing for audiences and being the center of attention. However, Andrea is very talkative with her friends during class to the point that the teacher, Mr. Keneally, asks her several times per period to politely be quiet. He fears that while Andrea can still perform at a high level without paying strict attention to the class, her actions will impose negative results on her friends, who do not grasp the content as easily. Andrea receives above average grades, which placates her parents, without overexerting herself— but that does not demonstrate the desire to learn that Mr. Keneally wishes to instill upon her.
While she demonstrates incredible ability on assignments, she has difficulty completing and handing the assignments in on time. In addition, when doing group work in class, she often manipulates other students into doing the work for her, talks with others around her, and “texts” during the class time allotted. During several talks with Andrea, she has told Mr. Keneally that she is bored by the assignments in history, as they are “too simple.” Andrea excels in math, and prefers the pressures of drama and debate to written essays, and question and answer homework assignments. While her motivation for learning and completing assignments is low, Andrea needs a challenge that stimulates her interests as she demonstrates a high- achieving readiness level, but lacks the motivation necessary to boost her to that level.
Pupil #2- Osman (Low- readiness)
Osman, a native of Senegal, is an English Language Learner in the same United States History class as Andrea. Often times, he does not fully understand the concepts presented to him immediately, and must work with Mr. Keneally, as well as an ELL teacher outside of class in order to clarify the meaning of words, and to review important overarching concepts. Lack of comprehension during in- class lectures and presentations causes confusion, and ultimately boredom. As a result, Osman usually puts his head down on his desk and takes a nap to pass the time. When Mr. Keneally approached Osman’s other teachers, they said that he is also lackadaisical and bored at times, but they do not suggest that his ambivalence has reached the extent that it has in history.
In addition, his peers have started to poke fun at him, by mimicking his accent, labeling him “stupid,” and by laughing at his confusion over what they are saying. Lately, in an effort to fit in more, Osman has started to dress differently, as well as act out in class by saying he won’t complete assignments, copying off of others’ worksheets, and becoming involved in arguments in which he is the aggressor.
Further exacerbating Osman’s reluctance towards history is the fact that his upbringing is significantly different from that of his peers, and as an immigrant, he has difficulty understanding the events and themes of United States history. Indeed, he does not possess much of the knowledge that Mr. Keneally assumes most of his students inherently know, such as the Boston tea party, the Boston Massacre, which is being covered in this lesson, and even the American Revolution. These events are foreign to Osman, and he suffers in the classroom as a result.
Pupil# 3- Kelsey (middle- readiness)
Kelsey is a polite, quiet eleventh grader in Mr. Keneally’ class. An avid reader, she often times sticks her head in a book rather than pay attention to a lecture or presentation that Mr. Keneally gives. When he calls on Kelsey to give answers in class, she often times does not even look up from her book, and when she does, she shrugs her shoulders, stares blankly until Mr. Keneally moves on, and continues reading. Upon discussing Kelsey’s behavior with her other teachers, Mr. Keneally discovers that she does not participate in any of her classes and most of the time just reads books, or does the crossword puzzle-- except for English, in which she hands in assignments on time and is actively involved in discussion.
While she hands in assignments on time, they only reflect general understanding of the big- picture concepts, but neglect key specific facts. Her work in other fields demonstrates a capacity for creativity, as she writes short stories, and fictional screen- plays. However, she shies away from difficult math problems and historical essays as she has difficulty expressing herself in a layered argument. Kelsey, as demonstrated by her introverted nature, also does not like to interact with other people outside of her literary comfort zone. Inability, or rather, reluctance to interact in group activities, as well as her deficiency in applying a sound thesis and argument to an essay, leads to the conclusion that Kelsey demonstrates an ability that is best- suited for a tiered assignment that accommodates middle- readiness.
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