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        5-7, 13+

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        Forming an Opinion with Organizational Elements - Cats, Yesterday and Today

        Students use a graphic organizer to list facts about the role of cats throughout history. They then write a paragraph stating an informed opinion about cats' most important role.

        Lesson Summary


        Students will use a graphic organizer to list facts about the role of cats throughout history. Then they will write a paragraph, stating an informed opinion about cats' most important role.

        Why is this an important concept?

        In this information age, students are exposed to so many facts and opinions. How do they decide what their opinions are and where they stand on issues? It is vital in today's world to be able to make sound judgments that are based on proven facts and yet demonstrate a personal point of view.

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        Media Resources


        The Lesson

        Part I: Learning Activity

        1. Photocopy the Cats Graphic Organizer handout for each student and make a transparency of the Cats Vocabulary Review handout

        2. Introduce the idea that dogs and cats are the pets most people prefer. Poll the class, asking students to express their opinions about which animal makes the best pet, a cat or dog. Tally the results on the board.

        3. Introduce the idea that dogs have been the number one choice of pet owners for years, but that cats may soon become the pet of choice. Discuss why students think dogs have been the #1 pet and why cats may take their place.

        4. Introduce the video segment about dogs and cats and why they make good pets. The video may confirm their opinion or may cause them to form (or at least consider) a different opinion.

        5. Before viewing the video, use the Cats or Dogs Vocabulary Review to discuss the vocabulary, the definitions, and how the words are used in the video.

        Words: predator, domesticated, solitary, inscrutable, elusive, and adaptive.

        6. Explain to the class that they are going to watch a video that describes characteristics of cats and dogs. Introduce the T-Chart, highlighting where to record information about dogs and about cats.

        7. View the segment. After viewing, give students an opportunity to work with a partner to review their notes and add additional information to their T-Charts.

        8. Ask a few students to share ideas they recorded on their T-Charts.

        For Students Who Need Additional Teacher Guidance

        1. Review what an opinion is and that people often form their opinions based on some facts but also on personal experiences and/or beliefs.

        2. Show the students how to complete the Cats or Dogs T-Chart by asking them to brainstorm a few characteristics that might make cats (or dogs) good pets.

        3. While viewing the video, stop every few minutes to discuss characteristics of dogs and cats and add them to the Cats or Dogs T-Charts.

        4. Review the characteristics of each animal and discuss how some of the ideas might make a cat a better pet than a dog and vice versa.

        Part II: Assessment

        1. Ask each student to decide, based on the information from the video "Cats" and their experiences and beliefs, which animal they think would make the best pet.

        2. Explain that they each will write a paragraph to justify their opinions and possibly persuade others that their choices make the best pet. First, ask them to state their opinions. Then ask them to write at least three reasons, including information from the video, to support their opinions. In their explanations, they should use vocabulary effectively to justify their opinions.

        3. After students finish writing, form small groups based on whether they prefer dogs or cats. Ask each group to choose the best reasons to justify the group's opinion and write a paragraph that represents the group's best ideas.

        4. Each group shares their opinion and justification with the class.

        5. Use the Cats rubric provided to evaluate the paragraph.


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