Be Greedy for Monday


  • ELAGSE9-10SL1 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.

Learning Target: I will understand circle 4 of Dante’s Inferno and how the punishment fits the law of symbolic retribution; I will participate in a collaborative discussion with my classmates about capital punishment.

Opening Session: Daily video! Some overview of the debate that we’re going to have today, which is about capital punishment (AKA the death penalty).

Work Session: Welcome to Monday!

Today we’re studying greed – the avaricious and prodigal, or in other words, those who hoard (keep everything) and those who squander (waste everything). We’re going to start out with our Cliff Notes summary of this circle, since we aren’t reading it out of the book. Next, we are going to have a little debate!!

You may have noticed that the desks are in rows that face each other with an aisle between you. Today we’re going to have a stone throwing debate! Because the punishment in circle 4 is to push giant rocks into one another, you’re going to be doing something similar with your papers. I’ve got a sheet with 5 questions on it for each of you. You’re going to have 5 minutes to write on any one of the questions. Then, you’re going to crumble up your paper and throw it at the person across from you, just like the sinners in circle 4 did. When you get the paper your partner throws at you, unfold it, and you’ll have 5 minutes to either write about a new question OR respond to your partner’s writing.

We will swap papers 6 times, so you’ll end with your original paper and you get the last word 🙂then flatten them out and turn them in!!

Here are the questions, for those of you playing along from home:

  1. In Dante’s Hell, the punishment must fit the crime. This is based on ancient laws like Hammurabi’s code (“An eye for an eye”). Do you agree with this? Why or why not?
  2. In our modern legal system, almost all punishments are going to jail or probation. Do you think these punishments “fit the crime”? Give an example of a time when jail is NOT “fitting.”
  3. Worldwide, only 37 countries in the entire world still have the death penalty. In North and South America, only 2 countries still have the death penalty (USA and St. Kitts & Nevis). Why do you think so few countries have the death penalty in 2016?
  4. In the United States, only 56% of people support the death penalty. Since such a large group of Americans do not support the death penalty, why do you think we still have it?
  5. Last year (2015), the United States executed 28 people. The only countries that executed more people than the USA were Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. What do you know about those 3 countries? What does that say about the USA?

Closing Session: Ticket out the door – 3-2-1: Write 3 things you learned today, 2 questions you still have, and 1 thing that surprised you.

Assessment: Debate sheets may be summatively assessed; Formative assessment of TOTDs.

Differentiation: Process (students may avoid throwing if needed); Content (alternate debate topic if needed).

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