Supporting a Claim in the Story "Gaston"

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SWBAT support a claim in the story "Gaston"using textual evidence.

Big Idea

Which claim is the best?


10 minutes

Yesterday students made a prediction based on a preview of some words from the story Gaston."  They will use that prior knowledge to help them choose a claim today.  We will first review each of the predictions from yesterday, and I will ask the students to explain to use how they came up with that particular prediction.  I will show the predictions up on my document camera for everyone to see.  

Support your claim

40 minutes

For this next part of the activity students will start in a group of 4.  I have designed the groups strategically for this lesson with a high student, a struggling student, and two typical students.  My reasoning is that this is a difficult activity and a difficult story.  I want each group to have someone to help support them when I can't be there.  Each group member will choose a different claim:  We are checking validity not worrying about our opinions here, so it doesn't matter which claim anyone ends up with.  Here are the potential claims from the story:

1. The mother manipulates her daughter.
2. The dad does not love his daughter.
3. The dad cares about his daughter.
4. The mother is looking out for her daughter's best interest.
I will need to define manipulate for the students and provide several examples before they understand the meaning.  
Once everyone has chosen a claim, we will create a support/refute organizer for collecting evidence.  They will write their individual claim in the center column of the organizer.  
I like to give my students choice when it comes to reading, so I let them decide if they are taking turns reading in their group of 4, breaking into partners, or reading alone.  
Students will decide on their method of reading, and then  read through the text looking for evidence to support or refute their particular claim.  They will highlight any potential evidence that may support or refute their claim as they read.  
After the group is finished, the students will go back individually and transfer the evidence to the graphic organizer.  At this point, they may begin to realize that the claims about mom share common evidence, but it will be reversed on the organizer.   The same goes for evidence about dad.  For example, mom telling the girl to squash Gaston supports the claim that mom manipulates the daughter, but refutes the claim that mom is looking out for her best interest.  Once students realize this, they will start sharing evidence.  Some students may be troubled by the fact that one side of their organizer has more evidence than the other, but I assure them that this is what is supposed to happen because we are looking for the claim with the most supporting evidence.

Writing Connection

15 minutes
Once the students have compiled their evidence, they will meet again as a group of 3 or 4. Each person will share his or her claim and evidence and attempt to come to consensus on which claim is the best supported through the text.  It is important to emphasize that we are not talking about opinions here.  We are looking at a textual claim and how well it is supported in the story.  
The students will attempt to come to consensus on this claim by sharing and discussing evidence.
he claim that is chosen will become the topic sentence of a paragraph that the group will write together on a large piece of paper or white board.  Each person will individually come up with and write statement in support of the claim using the best evidence they can find in the story. 
When everyone is finished, the students will circulate around the room to read each other's responses. As they read the responses, students will write their feedback on the other groups' white boards by stating what they agree of disagree with.  

Extending the Story

15 minutes

Now students will use the white boards to come to consensus about a question based on the evidence they have gathered.  Each group will make a consensus map on their white board.

 The question I'll pose will be:  Which parent should the girl live with and why?  

Each student will take a few minutes to write in his or her work space.  Then, each group will discuss their views, noting anything that they can come to consensus on in the middle circle of the map.  While they discuss, I will run around the room with a pencil and clip board, jotting down snippets that I hear and who says them.   Instead of having groups recap at the end, I will share what I heard as they discussed.  I will place my notes under the document camera and read them aloud to the group.  The purpose of this is to keep the talk and ideas focused on the topic.  Instead of calling on people and not knowing what they will say, I can control the comments that are presented.  

This activity will prepare them for a guided reading lesson tomorrow where the students will investigate exactly when the girl is cared for and when she is not.