Base Groups. Creating high-functioning base groups depends on a combination of camaraderie and focus. David and Roger Johnson (link) refer to these terms as Positive Interdependence and Individual Accountability. The opening segment of today's lesson would focus on creating a common vision for high-functioning groups.
T-Charting Cooperative Social Skills. I will as the students to describe groups that are high functioning and those that are not, and I will place their ideas on a "T" chart on the front board. This teacher-led-discussion will serve as a reminder of the norms of engagement in lessons in groups and so help to define the kinds of positive interdependence and responsibility that are so important for groups to work well. Often, I record these ideas (or have students do this) on poster paper and leave them up throughout the first quarter. This year, I have a pretty highly functioning class, so I do not plan to post these norms but will just mention them together and come to a common understanding through discussion. I will expect all or nearly all of the students to help build this list (SL.9-10.1 and SL.9-10.1b).
I will say:
1.) What does positive interaction look like?
2.) What does it sounds like?
3.) How should you be sitting? How can you use positive body language?
4.) What types of things can you say to encourage, paraphrase, question your group members in a positive way?
I will record their ideas on a butcher paper on the board in a two-column (T-format) chart that I can then post again throughout the first quarter as a reminder of the norms.
Looks like: Sounds like:
Base groups read. After prepping them for positive work in the base groups (SL.9-10.1b), I will ask them to meet in these groups of three, to take turns reading, about 1/2 a page a turn and writing questions in the margins (RL.9-10.3) about the character's motivations, particularly as they relate to feedback, praise, and persistence.
Expectations and support. The focus of this element of the lesson will be to have students practice question writing in their base groups while reading a short story, "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan (e.g. link). I have selected this story in consultation with my colleagues from READi, and I feel it's a great choice here because it will bring in some of the fictive elements of the Vonnegut story, some of the memoir elements of the Mike Rose essay, and will showcase the thematic insights (RL.9-10.2) that we have been developing across all of the texts in this unit on praise/performance/persistence.
It's a challenging story and very long for one night's worth of homework, but I want to see if the students will complete the story on their own after the support of the base groups and if they can apply the question-writing strategy looking for character inferences (RL.9-10.3) and reading the story in a careful way (RL.9-10.1). When they go home, I am hoping that they will independently finish the text, and I know that this level of expectation requires a high commitment from the students (RL.9-10.10). when they go home. In this way, I aim to leverage the base groups toward extending rigor into the classroom experience and to connect in-class work with at-home work.
**LINK: This story is widely available online, and this link is just one example. You should consider getting a class set of The Joy Luck Club in which it appears so that students who enjoy the text can read additional, related stories.
I want to coach the students in a warm but firm way toward getting the reading completed for homework (RL.9-10.10).
I will say:
1.) Where will you read this text and when? How will you set up yourself for success in this reading?
2.) How should your story copy look when you return to class tomorrow?
3.) What can you do and what online resources do you have at your fingertips if you have trouble reading? Are there any that you should not use?