Here is a brief description of the activator for this lesson.
To provide a good foundation for future independent work, I read the chapter 2 aloud to the class stopping along the way to clarify important and/or unfamiliar vocabulary words and concepts. For example, describing what it means to be semi-nomadic will help students understand the characters’ lifestyle. Another tricky concept for sixth graders to grasp is the hunter-gatherers need to follow the food source. This strategy is great to employ with other texts too. Students benefit greatly from hearing what good readers do to gain understanding and stay engaged with a text, especially as complexity increases as the school year goes on.
Then work we work together to annotate the chapter in the same way as for chapter one: identify important plot events, make connections, and note questions. They can use Pause and Reflect worksheets that are available online (Evernote ELA) or on paper; OR they can use a paper Bookmark created for this purpose.
For further review, I assign a set of comprehension questions that cover both chapter 1 and 2 that can be completed with a partner. During this time I check in with each table group and touch base with the struggling readers to be sure they are on track. It is particularly important for these students to go back into the text to prove that they are accurately identifying events and yet they are the most reluctant to do so! That’s why grouping them with stronger role models is such a fine strategy because seeing their peers readily employ this skill is a thousand times better than me telling them to. Everyone benefits from the whole class and small group discussions, so there is little to address individually today. However, that may change tomorrow for tonight’s homework is to read and annotate chapter 3.
Connecting events from the story to their own lives deepens students’ understanding of the plot and leads to some really interesting conversations. So before the end of class give students 15 minutes to respond to this prompt in their journals: Maroo is excited to go on her summer journey. Have you ever been excited about going somewhere? Relate your feelings to those Maroo is having as she gets ready for her trip.Here's a sample response.
Generally, the students love writing about their own experience and often need reminders to remember the second part of the prompt. One way to manage this is to allow five minutes of silent writing time for the first part and then say, “I am going to read a few paragraphs from the end of the chapter so you remember what Maroo was thinking and doing as she prepared for the journey. Then you will spend the next five minutes comparing your feelings to hers.” When the time is up, allow students to share their responses with their table group.