I begin the lesson by asking students to write in their ISNs about the popular idiom: "Every cloud has a silver lining," what they think the saying means, and a potential situation that this idiom applies to. . I find that a good number of my students are very unfamiliar with many of the idioms that I learned growing up, this one included. I tell the students who are not sure what the saying means to write make an inference about what they think it could mean.
There is always at least one student in each of my classes that knows what the idiom means. I always begin by reminding the students that an idiom is a phrase that cannot be taken literally, or that does not mean exactly what the words say. I then ask a volunteer or two that feels they really understand the idiom to share what they wrote about.
I pass out an article to the students that was originally published in the Scholastic Scope Magazine magazine called "Surviving Hurricane Sandy" that chronicles the experience of a teenage girl named Ariel from Rockaway, NJ. The students are given about 7 minutes to read the article independently.
Once all students have finished the text, we watch a short video that Scholastic has published that follows Ariel and describes the organization she put together in response to Hurricane Sandy. I find that this process was really engaging for the students and that they were genuinely interested in the content and demonstrated increased concern about the topic afterward.
We discuss the program and how it connects to the idiom "Every cloud has a silver lining."
I then pass out the second article, "After the Disaster Texts," that pairs with the previous article. This article is written in a more formal style that is in stark contrast to the narrative style of the first.
I follow up the activity by asking the students to do a comparative analysis of the key details contained in the resources we've reviewed. The Integrating Key Ideas Worksheet was created by Scholastic and is available on their website as well.
I find it to be really important for the students to build connections between the texts as the contrasting styles make some elements very clear, and others, somewhat less direct. It is an important skill for students to develop and practice. I found the students had a rather easy time with the narrative text, but struggled a bit more with the more formal style. By building the connections in the key areas of the texts, the students are better able to make sense of what they are reading, regardless of the formal approach.