On the first day of the week, I pass back graded reading logs from the week prior. During this time, I check in with students on reading progress. This is a good time to check that they are still reading the same book as the week prior. Over the weekend, things tend to get lost in the shuffle. I will check their page number from the week before (written on their reading log). If I notice that a student was on page 100 in their novel the previous week, and the novel is 300 pages, and today they are reading a new book, I will ask if they finished. If they say yes, I briefly say that doesn't add up, due to the speed of their previous reading.
Getting to know your readers is crucial. With all of the independent reading taking place, it is easy to lose track of who is reading what. If you generally know the speed of your readers, it is easier to determine whether or not they are ditching books over the weekend, simply struggling to remain organized by leaving their books at home. In my experience, the weekend can sometimes seem like a black hole.
As a class, we have to practice our five-minute focus read strategy, which prepares students for their weekly reading schedule. Students tally up their total pages. Students are given a weekly log to complete.
They must tally the total number of pages they read in five minutes. Then they take that number and multiply it by six to get their nightly goal. Then they take their nightly goal and multiply it by the number of nights they are held accountable for during that particular week. The first week, I give a two night log, so they have to multiply this by two. Finally, they must note the page they are starting on, and add the total number of pages they are being held accountable for to the page they are currently on. Then they get their reading goal for the week. I have them flag the page they need to read until in their book with a Post-It Note.
This formula, followed every week, ensures students stick with a given text. It also
Today, students will take notes on the four types of conflict taking place in literature.
Person vs. Person
Person vs. Self
Person vs. Nature
Person vs. Society
I've attached the notes taken from one of my classes. The definitions do change slightly from class to class, based on examples and phrasing given to me by students. I'm a staunch believer that this is okay. Students must make meaning from their personal experiences. It brings each of these types of conflicts to life if students are constructing definitions using their own language.
We talk about examples of each, either examples students have read about or examples from their own lives. I often refer to "Person vs. Society" as the beast or most difficult to understand. Sixth graders struggle to conceptualize this type of conflict. What is very nice is the resurgence in popularity of the Dystopian genre. Students are very familiar with The Hunger Games and some are equally familiar with the Divergent series. In both of these texts, there is a clear use of the Person vs. Society conflct, and it helps us to unpack this complex definition.
In the Hunger Games, the norms that the given society honor put many of its members in a bad position. This is a clear way for sixth graders to understand this complex conflict.
Students agree that all great stories have conflict. With this basic understanding, they are able to apply it to their own writing. As readers, we're drawn conflict. When we are writing, we must apply the same rule and remember to base our narratives around some sort of conflict that has taken place in our own lives.
At the end of the block, I introduce an additional homework assignment. Throughout the course of their week, students should record one conflict they encountered per day on their Conflict Recording Sheet, note the type, as well as a brief explanation as to why.
Students often ask the question, what if I don't have any problems?! This always makes me laugh. I use the example that conflicts can be very small; they don't have to be massive. For example, I lost my pencil in first period and I am headed to math next. Labeling these conflicts can be difficult, because the idea of blame often appears. Whose fault is it that I lost my pencil? My own? The schools? My best friend? I love this assignment because it pushes higher level thinking and forces the kids to reason, or get to the root of their personal conflicts. This in turn gives them practice for when they are reading novels and are forced to ask similar questions: who is at fault here?