Reflection: Writing Across the Disciplines Analyzing the Author Day 1 of 2 - Section 4: Journal Response: Independent Writing Time

 

What is emerging in my students' writing? Training students to explain their thinking and to support that thinking with evidence from the text has been challenging for my students. On on hand, my class is making the transition to the Common Core this year, so the students do not come with the background knowledge of knowing about evidence. We have had to learn quite a bit in a short time. Their earlier entries demonstrated more general/superficial details.

On the other hand, I am beginning to see specific details about the setting, characters, and the plot. I am also beginning to see students supporting their ideas with evidence from the text. The example titled, Very Good Evidence, speaks to this. First, there are a couple of specific details about the characters. Yes, it is true that they have an old car and are farmworkers in Iowa. Further, it shows some analysis. The author never explicitly states that Tomas is brave. But the student here supports this claims with evidence stated in the book - Tomas does go by himself to the library, and that's a brave thing to do for a boy in a city that is not his home. I also like his usage of the word "finally."

Then, there's the students who used page numbers to cite the evidence. The student is applying this technique from an earlier lesson. The sentences need work but is understanding the idea of going back to the text. In second grade, and for this student, this works for now.

The last piece of writing, Small Group Collaboration, is the work I did with my small group of students. I guided their group effort. I asked them to tell me one thing about Tomas and his family. I asked them to show me the evidence before I wrote it on the easel. When the group stated that Tomas and his family were poor, I asked, "How does the author show us that they are poor?" They went back into the text to find the evidence and we wrote it together. One student finds that they sleep on a cot. This is what they need. I did not water down the cognitive task, just provided support to help them achieve the objective.

  Writing Across the Disciplines: Reflection on Journal Writing
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Analyzing the Author Day 1 of 2

Unit 13: Tomas and the Library Lady
Lesson 3 of 4

Objective: SWBAT use evidence from the text to analyze the author’s purpose in writing a narrative.

Big Idea: Tomas and his family are migrant farm workers. Telling his story gives us important messages about migrant life. What evidence from the text supports this?

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