Reading "Seventh Grade" and Reviewing Vocabulary

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Students will be able to analyze "Seventh Grade" by rereading, responding in writing, and playing a vocabulary game.

Big Idea

Perfect vocabulary practice makes for perfect vocabulary knowledge and actively reading makes for active comprehension with hands-on participation.

Second Reading of"Seventh Grade"

30 minutes

To read the short story "Seventh Grade," I divided the class up in to three groups using a random group generator.  I provided a link to the random group generator in the resources for this section.  One group worked with my co-teacher, one group worked with my student teacher, and I worked with the remaining students. I am all about dividing and conquering.  If you don't have a student teacher or co-teacher, you could use a student as a leader.  If you have a camera, you can record that group and watch what they did later on.

I read the story aloud using a narrator/dialogue model. Each student was assigned a character and was responsible for reading that character's words aloud.  I read the rest of the story aloud. The characters with an asterisk next tot heir names have the most dialogue. I also reminded students that Mr. Bueller and Victor would have to speak French, but we weren't going to be sticklers about pronunciation and I would help them out. I have found that reluctant readers are more willing to read aloud when they know they won't have to read a ton of dialogue. By dividing the students into two or three groups, every student was able to participate in this activity and I was able to hear every student read aloud.  Using the narrator/dialogue model, the students are forced to pay attention because they don't know when their character will need to speak, at least for a cold read. If they have read it once, they are familiar with the text, which makes it less intimidating because the predictability is higher so fluency will be increased.

During the reading, I paused when we encountered a vocabulary word we had learned to discuss, model, or quiz the students on the meaning of the word. For example, when Michael tells Victor about scowling, I asked students to show me their best scowl.  When Teresa lingers after class, I asked students to explain her behavior and motivation and even act out lingering.   When Victor looks at Mr. Bueller sheepishly, I asked students to look at me sheepishly and explain he is sheepishly looking at his teacher.

Responding in Writing

10 minutes

After reading "Seventh Grade," I asked students to respond to two specific questions.  The first question was about basic understanding and vocabulary and the second question was about questions they had about the characters, plot, setting, conflict, and so forth.  I used this paragraph as formative assessment to help me plan for the next day's literary analysis work.

Competitive Flashcard Game

15 minutes

This activity comes from my co-teacher and ties in to the Marzano six-step vocabulary.  The sixth step is applying meanings through vocabulary games.  This particular game is a competitive flashcard game.

We created six sets of flashcards.  Each set has all of the words and all of the definitions on separate cards.  Students worked in groups of three or four to match the definitions and words. You could also make more copies of the cards so students worked in groups of two, which would increase student activity.

The Rules

  • The student whose turn it is is the only one who can touch the cards. All other students may help by pointing, telling, and encouraging.
  • When one student is finished, the group raises their hands and waits for a teacher to come and check their work. [With three teachers in the room, this goes quite smoothly, however it can also be done with only one teacher].
  • If the words and definitions are matched correctly, the students mix up the words and pass them on to the next student.  If some of the definitions are incorrectly matched, they fix their mistakes and call the teacher over again.
  • Repeat until all students have matched all the cards.
  • The group that finishes first earns a prize! I give my students the option of a Jolly Rancher or a punch on their punch card. When they get ten punches on their punch card, they get a reward!

 Please see this video to see one group working on this activity. Please read the reflection to see how this game encouraged a student to participate, even thought he REALLY DIDN'T WANT TO.