This lesson will put cooperative learning to the test. Students will need to be able to self-regulate their analysis of the book by performing a 3-2-1 summary and reporting that work out to the class.
The goal here is to get away from teacher-led discussion and to see how well the students can develop their own character insights and thematic identifications as the students select key details from the text and work together to summarize those key points as well as question them by applying a questioning framework (RL 9-10.1). I am hoping that the support that the students will have in their groups will help them to not only understand what the text says explicitly but to have strong character insights as well, as they read at an inferential level.
image credit from Creative Commons
Having students develop inferential reading and questioning skills within the context of a socially supportive base group (SL.9-10.1) can be a very powerful experience, and here's why: according to the work of David and Roger Johnson, Cooperative Base Groups can function most effectively if they develop a routine with one another. Here is the agenda that the teams will be given, and this will sustain them throughout their base group work. Afterward, they will report out what they have learned to the class using the document camera, so I expect that they will fully take the lead with the book analysis.
Students will be able to self-regulate their functioning in a base group!
In this agenda, I ask students to apply themselves to the task of writing inferring questions of the text, and that type of questioning requires that they are reading at an inferential level as well as a literal level (RL 9-10.1). As a result, many of the inferring questions ask "Why..." a character feels the way he or she does or what caused his or her actions. By asking these questions, the students are delving into the motives of the characters. And by doing this type of reasoning in base groups with an agenda like the above, they have the structure to help each other be successful.
Note: I am drawing the question types from the work on Question-Answer-Relationship (QAR) done by Taffy Raphael.
Each group will ascend to the front of the class and share out their 3-2-1 summary (SL.9-10.4). My goal will be to focus the rest of the class on the notes being shared and to guide the class to take these notes down in their books. The groups will use the document camera in order to share their quotations and insights (SL.9-10.5).
The purpose of this activity is to draw evidence directly from the text and to write questions directly to the text (RL 9-10.1), but more importantly, I am hoping to use the social structure of the base groups to set the ground work for students leading class, something that they will do for the entire period in two days, as we conduct our second student-led hotseat of the year (more on that in later lessons!). An even bigger gamble here: I have asked a student to moderate this discussion, so we'll need to set the groundwork now for a successful hotseat later.
I hope to have students respond to the overall enduring understanding of the unit of study. The problem is that we haven't directly talked about this aspect of the reading task, but I want to use this lesson segment to begin to think about fact/fiction and why read literature. Again, I am developing the routine of having students complete this type of writing on their chromebooks.
Exit slip: Thus far, why is Junior’s story an important one? Why do you think Alexie (the author) took the time to write it down? Why read it?