In my lesson openers I always have a "connect" in which I connect students' thinking about yesterday's lesson to today's lesson. I then have a "teach" in which I model for students the lesson of the day and also have them try it out. When I think about my modeling I use three categories; skill, strategy, and process. I model by stating the skill to the students, then giving them a strategy in which to use the skill, followed by the process to try out the strategy.
Connect: I will say, “Yesterday we practiced being detailed in our writing, today we are going to study how authors use details of small moments in their lives to create meaningful memoirs or stories from their lives that convey a lesson (theme).”
Teach: I will say, “ There is a really great book called Fist, Stick, Knife Gun by author Geoffrey Canada (can show book cover if you have book, or a web picture). In this book he recounts true stories from his childhood in New York City. This book is a memoir. I am going to practice the skill of using a piece from a published author to inform my own knowledge of how to write, in other words using the text as a mentor. I am going to use the strategy of reading and annotating the text based on questions I am going to keep in my head.The process I will use is as follows:
1)Read the text.
2)Ask myself: What is the author’s point of view in this story? What is the author trying to teach me through his/her life experience (the theme)?
3)Annotate or takes notes on what I notice.”
I will then read them the first chapter and model my thinking.
Active Engagement: I will say, “I am now going to read the next two paragraphs and you will turn and talk to your partner. I want you to hold these two questions in your head; What is the author’s point of view in this story? What is the author trying to teach me through his/her life experience? I will check for understanding by asking every level of learner (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard). I will ensure that students are connecting their thinking to the text and are correctly inferring the point of view and theme.
Closing of Active Engagement: I will say, “Remember, successful writers practice the skill of using a piece from a published author to inform their knowledge of how to write, in other words using they use the text as a mentor. They practice the strategy of reading and annotating the text based on questions they keep in their heads. Writers you are now going to finish the rest of this chapter and you will annotate at least twice per page (6 total) answers to “What is the author’s point of view in this story? What is the author trying to teach me through his/her life experience (the theme)?”
Independent Practice: Students will independently read through the rest of the chapter and annotate the text. I will walk around and confer with students around their connections. I will confer with students using possible conferences for finding theme and author's point of view chart.
Partner Work: Students will be directed to turn and talk to their partner about the notes they wrote down. I will say, “Decide who will be partner A and who will be partner B. Partner A you will share two notes that show your best thinking. Partner B, you will respond with, “I inferred that too.. or tell me why you thought that?” Then you will switch.
Group Share: Students will then share out as a group the point of views and themes they found. When students share out I will make a “Point of Views in Memoirs” chart and a “Themes in Memoirs” chart. This will then become a reference chart for students to use as they are crafting their memoirs.
I believe that the end of the lesson should be an assessment of the days’ learning; therefore it should be independent work. I always end class with an “exit ticket” in which students write down the response to a question. Here is my my exit ticket chart.
Closing: What did you learn about memoir writing today? How can you use the author’s points of view and themes to inform your own writing?