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ELA G4:M4:U1:L8

Comparing Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts of Susan B. Anthony’s Trial

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The Foundational Reading and Language Standards Resources Package for Grades 3–5

Use this guide to build additional literacy blocks alongside the module lessons.

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic. (RI.4.6)

Supporting Targets

Learning TargetsOngoing Assessments
  • I can explain what firsthand and secondhand accounts are and how they are different.
  • I can compare a firsthand and secondhand account of the Susan B. Anthony trial.
  • Comparing Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts of Susan B. Anthony’s Trial recording form

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Engaging the Reader and Review Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts: What Are They, and How Are They Different? (15 minutes)

B. Comparing the Information in a Firsthand and Secondhand Account of Susan B. Anthony’s Trial (15 minutes)

C. Comparing the Focus of a Firsthand and Secondhand Account of Susan B. Anthony’s Trial (15 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Individual Writing: Comparing and Contrasting Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts of Susan B. Anthony’s Trial (10 minutes)

4. Homework

  • During this lesson, students revisit the different informational texts they’ve read in this unit.
  • See materials box for a list of all the texts students need during Work Time Part B.  
  • Note that in Work Time Part B, students categorize all the texts they read into either firsthand or secondhand accounts.  But the speech by Susan B. Anthony does not fit tidily into either of these categories, because she is not “retelling” what happened. Rather, the speech is simply a primary source document: an authentic resource from the time and place in history.  See note in Work Time Part B to be prepared to clarify this with students during the lesson.
  • In advance: Record the definitions of firsthand and secondhand accounts on chart paper to use in Work Time Part A.
  • Review: Think-Pair-Share protocol (see Appendix 1).

Vocabulary

VocabularyMaterials

firsthand account, secondhand account, compare;

focus, central point, emphasis

  • “Voting in America: A Timeline” (The Hope Chest by Karen Schwabach pages 269–272) (one per student, from Lesson 1)
  • Susan B. Anthony’s “On Women’s Right to the Suffrage” speech (one per student, from Lesson 2)
  • “The Vote” by Rebecca Hershey (one per student, from Lesson 3)
  • “Order in the Court” by Ira Peck and Kathy Wilmore (one per student, from Lessons 4 and 5)
  • The New York Times article “Miss Susan B. Anthony Fined $100 and Costs for Illegal Voting” (one per student, from Lesson 7)
  • Document camera
  • Comparing Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts of Susan B. Anthony’s Trial recording form (one per student and one for display)
  • Comparing Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts of Susan B. Anthony’s Trial recording form (possible answers, for teacher reference)
  • Equity sticks
  • Set of blue, green, and red pencils (one per student)
  • Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts anchor chart (new, teacher-created, see Work Time A)

Opening

Opening

A. Engaging the Reader and Review Learning Targets (5 minutes)

  • Invite students to silently read the two learning targets: “I can explain what firsthand and secondhand accounts are and how they are different” and “I can compare a firsthand and secondhand account of the Susan B. Anthony trial.”
  • Draw students’ attention to the word account. Explain that account means “retelling.” Tell students that the concept of firsthand and secondhand will become clear during today’s lesson.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts: What Are They, and How Are They Different? (15 minutes)

  • Explain that there are different versions, or accounts, of events that happen. Post the Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts anchor chart: 

–   Firsthand account: This is a description or explanation of an event, told by a person who witnessed or was a part of the event.

–   Secondhand account: This is a description or explanation of an event, told by someone who knows of the event but was not actually there.

  • Invite the students to have out the different informational texts they’ve read:

–   “Voting in America: A Timeline” (The Hope Chest by Karen Schwabach pgs. 269–272) (from Lesson 1)

–   Susan B. Anthony’s “On Women’s Right to the Suffrage” speech (from Lesson 2)

–   “The Vote” by Rebecca Hershey (from Lesson 3)

–   “Order in the Court” by Ira Peck and Kathy Wilmore (from Lessons 4 and 5)

–   The New York Times article “Miss Susan B. Anthony Fined $100 and Costs for Illegal Voting” (from Lesson 7)

  • Ask students to take 5 minutes with their partner to sort the texts into two piles:

–   Firsthand accounts

–   Secondhand accounts

  • Circulate and ask probing questions like:

*   “What evidence in the texts makes you think it’s that type of account?”

  • Refocus students whole group. As a class, look at each text and ask the students to share:

*   “What type of account is this? How do you know?”

  • You should hear these responses:

–   Firsthand account:

  • The New York Times article “Miss Susan B. Anthony Fined $100 and Costs for Illegal Voting”

–   Secondhand accounts:

  • “Voting in America: A Timeline”
  • “The Vote”
  • “Order in the Court”

–   Neither:

  • Susan B. Anthony’s “On Women’s Right to the Suffrage” speech

Note: Students may be understandably confused about how to categorize Susan B. Anthony’s speech. It is a primary source and is spoken in first person. But it is not really a firsthand “account.” Clarify that the word account means “retelling.” Susan B. Anthony was in fact there, but she is not retelling what happened. So this text is a primary source.

  • Providing “hint cards” that help students get “unstuck” so they can sort the texts—these might be placed on the chalkboard tray, for example, and students would take them only if they are super-stuck
  • Students could be grouped intentionally or randomly, depending on your students’ needs.  It is important to group ELL students with at least one other student who speaks their language in order to support them in participating in group conversations.

B. Comparing the Information in a Firsthand and Secondhand Account of Susan B. Anthony’s Trial (15 minutes)

  • Ask the students to sit with their partner from Lesson 7. Make sure they have the following materials:

*   “Order in the Court” (from Lessons 4 and 5)

*   The New York Times article “Miss Susan B. Anthony Fined $100 and Costs for Illegal Voting” (from Lesson 7)

*   The recording forms for each text

  • Distribute the Comparing Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts of Susan B. Anthony’s Trial recording form and display one using a document camera.
  • Ask the pairs to read the directions together. Ask partnerships to turn and talk with another partnership about what they are being asked to do in the Steps 1–3. Tell them to make sure that everyone in their foursome agrees with the group’s understanding.
  • Using equity sticks, cold call on two or three groups to share what they discussed. Listen for comments like: “First, we need to reread both texts and our recording forms so we remember what they’re about. Then we need to find information that’s the same in both texts and enter it in the Venn diagram in Parts A and B. And we need to find information that’s different and enter it in Part C of the Venn diagram.”
  • Encourage the students to identify at least one piece of information about Susan B. Anthony’s trial that is the same in both and different in both to record in the Venn diagram. Acknowledge that there may be more than one, but they need to include at least one.
  • Give the partnerships 5–10 minutes to work independently.  Circulate and offer support as needed.
  • Gather students together. Display the Comparing Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts of Susan B. Anthony’s Trial recording form. Ask each partnership to share one piece of information they found from the texts, and where to enter that information on the displayed recording form.
  • Encourage students to use a blue pencil to revise their Venn diagrams based on the class discussion.
  • By writing and breaking down multi-step directions into numbered elements, ELLs can return to these guidelines to make sure they are on track.
  • Using a different colored pencil for revisions is a very visual assessment for learning strategy that helps both teachers and students see the original thinking and how it has changed, or not, based on collaboration with a peer.

C. Comparing the Focus of a Firsthand and Secondhand Account of Susan B. Anthony’s Trial (15 minutes)

  • Recap that firsthand and secondhand accounts are often different in terms of the actual information that is given. Point out that there is another way the two types of accounts differ—the focus. Explain that the focus is the central point or emphasis for a text.
  • Give an example based on the text “The Vote.” The focus, or central point, being emphasized in that secondhand account is that in the mid- to late 1800s, voting practices in America were unfair toward women, so they went to extreme lengths to earn that right.
  • Using the Think-Pair-Share protocol, invite the students to do the following:
  1. Think: Review the text and think about what the focus is for the firsthand account in the New York Times article “Miss Susan B. Anthony Fined $100 and Costs for Illegal Voting.” They should write their individual thoughts in Part 2 of their recording form.
  2. Pair: Share their thinking with their partner. After students share with their partners, encourage them to revise their responses based on their conversation if needed using a green pencil.
  3. Share: Call on two or three partnerships to share their responses. Listen for comments like: “The focus of the newspaper article is to describe the facts of the trial—who, what, when, where, why.” Record responses on the class recording form.  Encourage students to revise their response based on what the class has discussed if they feel this would improve their work. If they make additional revisions, ask them to use a red pencil.
  • Ask the students to repeat the process for identifying the focus of the secondhand account:
  1. Think: Review the text and think about what the focus is for the secondhand account “Order in the Court.” They should write their individual thoughts in Part 2 of their recording form.
  2. Pair: Share their thinking with their partner. After they share with their partners, encourage them to revise their responses based on their conversation if needed using a green pencil.
  3. Share: Call on two or three partnerships to share their responses. Listen for comments like: “The focus of the informational article is to describe what it was like to be in the courtroom during the entire trial. The author described how people were feeling and thinking.” Record responses on the class recording form. Encourage students to revise their response based on what the class has discussed if they feel this would improve their work. If they make additional revisions, ask them to use a red pencil.
  • Ask the students to bring their two texts and their recording form to the debrief.
  • Using the Think-Pair-Share protocol is a Total Participation Technique that ensures all students’ engagement.
  • By writing and breaking down multi-step directions into numbered elements, ELLs can return to these guidelines to make sure they are on track.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Individual Writing: Comparing and Contrasting Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts of Susan B. Anthony’s Trial (10 minutes)

  • Focus them on Part 3 of the Comparing Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts of Susan B. Anthony’s Trial recording form.
  • Ask the students: “How are the firsthand and secondhand accounts of Susan B. Anthony’s trial alike and different?” Ask them to write a short statement that summarizes what they have learned.
  • Encourage them to review their notes and texts as they write their statements.
  • Collect students’ recording forms.
  • For students needing additional supports producing language, consider offering a sentence frame, sentence starter, or a cloze sentence to assist with language production and provide the structure required.

Assessment

None

Homework

Homework
  • Find examples of firsthand and/or secondhand accounts outside of the class. Be prepared to share what kind of accounts they are and why in the opening of Lesson 9. 

Note: Review students’ Comparing Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts of Susan B. Anthony’s Trial recording forms so that you can assess what students are able to do independently, with support from their partner, and with support from the class in order to be successful with comparing firsthand and secondhand accounts of the same event before the end of unit assessment. 

Depending on the progress of your students in meeting this learning target, you may need to revisit this skill before the end of unit assessment.