Today is the first time that I teach citing evidence from the text to support your response to literature. Since this is a new skill, and a key shift in the Common Core Standards, I want to make sure scholars understand the WHY behind using quotes. Therefore, we do a bit of an exploration and concrete illustration so that they can internalize how important it is to support your response with direct quotes.
I begin the lesson by showing scholars a picture of a building that is together, but is off-kilter due to a weak foundation. I ask scholars to look at the picture and determine if the structure is strong. I give scholars 1 minute to reflect and 30 seconds to share with table partners.
I explain that the actual building is strong, but it cannot stand because it has a weak foundation. I tell scholars that we are going to work hard today to create some structures and responses to reading that have a firm foundation and will remain sturdy regardless of who disagrees.
Before the lesson, I pre-place 5-10 toothpicks and 10 mini-marshmallows in ziplock baggies (1 per scholar). I have the "Materials Manager" pass the toothpick/marshmallow baggies out. I tell scholars that they have 3 minutes to create a strong structure.
Before materials are passed out, I model how I expect scholars to build structures - marshmallows stay on tables, toothpicks stay on tables, scholars remain in seats, etc. I explain that if scholars do a great job with the materials, they will be allowed to eat the marshmallows at the end. If they are having a tough time, they receive 1 reminder. If the misbehavior continues, then they receive tape instead of marshmallows.
After 3 minutes, I like to "challenge" scholars to let me see just how strong their structure may be. I put the marshmallow/toothpick structure between my two hands and squish. If the structure stands, it is strong, if it collapses it is weak. Very quickly, scholars realize that the triangular structure is stronger than the rectangle or square.
I explain that in the same way that structures are stronger when you use triangles, response to reading is stronger when one uses quotes from the text to support the response.
I choose to begin teaching with Maniac Macgee because it is a complex text with a coming of age theme. It is perfect for the beginning of the year because it deals with a boy who does not quite fit-in. This is a great way to give scholars a strong role model of an individual and how to respond to people who may be different from us. The lexile level for this text falls right into the 5th grade band:
I choose RL1 as the standard because it is a great way to begin to build a foundation of using quotes to support your answers. This is a skill that we use ALL year long, regardless of the skill. Therefore, it is essential that scholars now learn what a quote is and how to use it effectively to support answers.
Now, I do some explicit instruction while scholars take notes. Since this is the first time this year that we are taking academic notes, I tell them to write the date in the upper right hand corner, and in the upper left hand corner write Maniac Macgee- day 2. Then, I explain the following:
1. A quote is:"To repeat the exact phrase or words from a book or person to use as evidence in a response."
2. Quotes are important because: "they strengthen your response."
3. We create strong responses by:
1. Reading the question
2. Underlining key words
3. Looking back at the text to find key words.
4. Writing down exactly what the text says in "quotation marks"
5. Linking what the text says to our answer
I link the response without the quote to the rectangular structures, and the responses with the quotes to the triangular structures. I give each scholar a bookmark (Strong response bookmark)with the steps above on it so that they can use it to mark their place in the text and also so that they can remember the steps to making a strong response.
We read chapter 1 of Maniac Macgee. I do a cloze reading to enhance engagement and to ensure that all scholars have access to the text. Cloze reading is when the teacher reads aloud and pauses for random words. Scholars must read the skipped word chorally, and the teacher continues to read. It can be challenging to ensure that all scholars are reading along with you. I like to take the book and circulate every other paragraph to use proximity to make sure scholars are following along. I also use my visualizer to help scholars see where we are if they become lost.
In table groups, scholars read two responses to two questions. Then, they determine which response is stronger & why.
During this time scholars rotate through 2 stations.
I start the time by reviewing our checklist items for the week and explicitly state what should be completed by the end of the day. This holds scholars accountable to their work thereby making them more productive. Today, scholars will complete a foldable (Foldable How to) answering explicit questions from Maniac Macgee (chapters 2-4 ).
Then, the ELL teacher and I share the materials that our groups will need to be successful (i.e. a pencil and your book baggies). Then, I give scholars 20 seconds to get to the place in the room where they will be for the first rotation. The first scholars who are there with all materials they need receive additions on their paychecks or positive PAWS.
During the rotations for this lesson, my small group objective today is to support answers to explicit questions in the text with quotes from books that is on each group's highest instructional level. Scholars read a portion of the same book (different for each group depending on reading level, but the same text is read in each group). Then we discuss answers and find quotes that are related to those inferences. F
After the first rotation, I do a rhythmic clap to get everyone's attention. Scholars place hands on head and eyes on me so I know they are listening. Then they point to where they go next. I give them 20 seconds to get there. Again, scholars who are at the next station in under 20 seconds with everything they need receive a positive PAW or a paycheck addition. We practice rotations at the beginning of the year so scholars know if they are back at my table, they walk on the right side of the room, if they are with the ELL teacher, they walk on the left side of the room and if they are at their desks, they walk in the middle of the room. This way we avoid any collisions.
In closure, I ask, "How does using quotes to support your answer strengthen your response?" Scholars independently reflect for 1 minute, discuss for 1 minute, and then I call 1 friend from my cup and take 1 volunteer. I'm looking for them to say things like, "Quotes help prove to your reader that what you think is right." If scholars have a tough time answering this question, reference the cue set- show them the strong structure and the weak structure. If scholars have a tough time answering the question, I know that I need to continue to build the importance and the WHY behind this skill tomorrow.