Students did not do well on the text-based questions about the story Mulan by Song Nan Zhang. Their answers were primarily based on what they would do in a given scenario versus what Mulan did. In essence, they were not able to distinguish their point of view from Mulan’s. I decided to use the test for today’s lesson on finding text-based answers.
I passed the test back to students and directed them to look at the first question. It asked, “What does Mulan do when she returns home?” I placed the story on the document camera. I turned to the part in the story where Mulan returns. I read the part that discusses her return. I laid a transparency over the page and used a dry-erase marker to underline the answer. I also explained that it answers the question because it is explicitly stated in the text.
Another question asked how Mulan felt when she returned home. I wanted to students to see that answers can also be found in the illustrations in the text. I connected it back to the lesson we did on text illustrations by reminding them how we use pictures in the story. I underlined the text where it stated she was happy to be home. I also circled Mulan’s smiling face and drew an arrow to her smile. I had students do the same in their book using transparencies and dry-erase makers. This method helps tactile and visual learners really “see” the answers. It also increases student engagement because they absolutely love using the markers and are eager to find as much text support to underline and/or circle as possible.
Students worked in pairs to complete the remainder of the questions by underlining and/or circling evidence in the text. Working together encouraged students to explain their reasoning and bounce ideas off each other. This helped my English language learners further develop oral their communication skills. They were able to learn from each other by having incorrect answers challenged and explained.
I walked around as they worked and observed them rereading the text to find the answers and discussing the illustrations. I overheard Lucas explaining to Leslie that you could tell the soldiers were surprised because it said it in the text and their words ended with an exclamation point. Their new understanding was evident.
Students were assessed by the number of correct answers, which were dependent on evidence found in the text. This let me know that students were using the text and illustrations to justify their answers. On a scale of 100, 80% was considered mastery.
I asked students to share with their partner what they learned today. I had students label themselves A or B. (They did this without incident.) I told A’s they had one minute to share what they had learned. I set the timer and ordered them stop at the end of time. I told B’s they had one minute to share and had them stop at the end of time. This allowed students to reflect on their learning and share their thinking.