This is our daily warm up, wherein students work with two or three Latin roots per day. The resource that I use to get my roots is Perfection Learning's Everyday Words from Classic Origins.
Every day, when the students arrive, I have two Latin roots on the SmartBoard. Their job is to generate as many words as they can that contain the roots, and they try to guess what the root means. After I give them about five minutes, we share words and I tell them what the root means.
The students compile these daily activities in their class journals. After every twelve roots, they take a test on the roots themselves and a set of words that contains them.
After the warm up, I explained to the students that they will be able to choose the level of questioning that they want to pursue. To prepare for this, I developed three questions that vary in complexity. [This is part of my constant effort to differentiate instruction; I struggle with it, because I don't want differentiated to ever mean "watered down."]
So, the students read over the questions, thought about which one seemed the most in line with their particular way of thinking or which one "spoke" to them, and we proceeded with the next part of the lesson.
This is the second reading response that students do in response to Paul Bloor's Tangerine. At this point, all students have read a minimum of 175 pages, and some have finished the book.
While the prompt that I provide could easily lend itself to an essay, I ask the students to put it into a different form. We take our response to the opening question and boil it down to a central assertion. This assertion goes to the center of a piece of paper: EX: "Though Paul Fisher is visually impaired, he sees what others miss." I ask them to locate four examples in the book to support this statement. They should draw the scenes (or represent them symbolically in some way) and find a quote that supports their selections.
Students who chose the higher level questions are getting closer to the 8.6 standard involving point of view. The most basic question is still one step away. However, since our standards are "end of year" goals, this is a way to scaffold the experience for students who aren't catching on to the author's craft piece.
This assignment helps me to figure out who is still interpreting on a very literal level and who can think in a more advanced, abstract way. It also helps enrich their understanding of Paul's character and the irony that is present throughout the book. Because I know that some students will struggle, I weight the process heavily in the grade. If the student finds four quotations, cites page numbers and represents the scenes, he or she will receive a passing grade. However, I do try to seek out the kids who went in a very literal connection by asking them "How does this reflect Paul seeing what others miss?"
As the students continue with their reading of the novel, they will continue to note Paul Fisher's keen observations.
One way is to have them keep a list in their notebook. This will give them more fodder for later discussions and writing assignments. For students who need more help keeping notes together or who need everything about a single topic to be in one place (and, let's be honest, this would probably help everyone,) I adapted the Cornell Notes format for tracing a theme or idea in a novel.