How Does the Character Respond to Events? Day 1 of 2

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SWBAT ask and answer questions to determine how the main character responds to challenging events.

Big Idea

A CAT, a BIRD, and a CUPCAKE ... What do all these things have to do with YOON?


7 minutes

Summary and Context

Today, I do another reading with the text, My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits. I am asking the students text dependent questions to understand how the main character, Yoon, responds to living in America. I will reread the first half of the story with them.

I am helping my students understand character development because it is a crucial part of reading comprehension. Also, I will use a graphic organizer, to guide my students to become aware of Yoon's feelings, thoughts and actions that demonstrate how she is responding to moving to America. the questions and the graphic organizer help them see the perspective of this particular character and empathize with the character. My guidance serves as a scaffold. Graphic organizers are powerful visuals tools to help students grapple with core ideas/content and relationships of events.

Lesson Opening:

I start with my students on the rug and share the objective. I bring out the fable of the Lion and the Mouse. Why? It is a short story that we can use to practice the complex process of identifying how a character grows so that we can apply this to a more complex story. I’ve read it to them, and, in fact, we have been retelling it throughout the week during some transitions. I explain that we are going to look at this fable in a different way.

To help prompt a discussion about how one of the main characters transforms over time, I ask the following questions:

  1. How is the Lion in the beginning?
  2. How is the Lion in the middle of the story?
  3. How is the Lion at the end?

I am using these questions to help students pay attention to the Lion’s behavior, his transformation along the way, and finally what he learns, because what he learns determines his new behavior.

I review with them we need to look at the evidence in the selection to determine how the main character changes.

Rereading the Text

20 minutes

Today, we go back into the text, My Name is Yoon, to dig deeper into the text. The text dependent questions I am asking hone in on how Yoon responds to moving to America. I will again break up the reading, with half of the story today and half of the story tomorrow.

Before starting, I ask them to turn to pair share with their table partner. I ask them to choose who is Partner A and who is Partner B. Then, one partner asks, "What is the story of My Name Yoon about?" I review much with my students because as English Language Learners they benefit much from this technique.

I am looking for them to refer back to the text as they answer the questions. I am looking for them to answer with complete sentences.

Since this is early in the year and I this process is new to them, I model how to answer some of the questions, so that they follow the process.

To help them use the academic language, I give them two linguistic patterns:

  • I see that...
  • I notice...

As English Language Learners, they benefit from this scaffold.

Brain Break

2 minutes

I get my students to stand up. For the next two minutes, I engage them in taking deep breaths, moving their arms and legs to wake up and reenergize the brain after some heavy lifting in the area of reading. This brain break serves as a good transition.

Guided Activity

12 minutes

My students sit at their desks with a copy of the  graphic organizer we will be using to record Yoon's feelings, thoughts, and actions to demonstrate her response to the challenge of living in a new country.

They have their anthology too, and I will guide them through the process of finding the evidence of what the main character is thinking, saying, and doing in the beginning, middle, and ending. I have drawn the graphic organizer on a large piece of chart paper.

(Please note: today, I am only doing the beginning and middle part - I didn't take pictures of the chart for this lesson, and the image I share above is from the second part of this lesson.)

To help students locate what the character is thinking, saying, and doing, I direct them to a particular page and pose questions to them. I ask:

  • Where in the page does it show what the main character is thinking?
  • What is she saying? What is she doing?

In order to answer these questions, they will need to read independently some of the parts of the pages.

I do one example at a time and use pictures, words, or phrases to transcribe on the chart. Then, the students transcribe on their own graphic organizer.

(To prepare for this lesson, it is important to have in mind the images/words one will be drawing and using if one is not good at drawing.)

Whole Group Share on Rug

5 minutes

“What is reviewed is remembered.” I read this is in the book, Teaching with the Brain in Mind. That is why I like to review as much as possible. It helps to keep present the new knowledge that is being acquired and I like to tell my students that as we learn new ideas we get smarter. For me, intelligence is an organic and evolving process.

I bring them back to the rug as a whole group. I pose the question to the group:

  1. What are we learning today?
  2. What have learned about the main character?
  3. How does this information help us as readers?

I end by explaining that we will continue with the second part of this lesson tomorrow.