Yesterday students created an evidence chart and wrote a prediction based on several passages from the story "Ghost Cat." Today they will read the story and begin to gather evidence that supports or refutes their predictions. To begin, I will ask the students to review their predictions and share them with their tables.
The idea is that as they read, they will record parts that give supporting evidence. It is more difficult to find refuting evidence, but I will encourage them to give it a try. I like to start out reading this story with the students and modeling how to hunt for evidence. Students may struggle with finding refuting evidence because it is a new idea to them. They are used to finding supporting evidence, but it is more difficult to find evidence against their idea. They naturally want to prove that they are correct, so as they read, that is generally the focus. This is a mind shift that requires some training and a careful look at the text.
I will scan the student predictions and come up with a sample one that is similar to theirs. For example, "The father in this story will leave the family." or "Something spooky is going to happen in the story."
As we read, I will ask students to circle words that they are uncommon or unfamiliar, start important ideas, and put a question mark by things they don't understand.
I will stop often and ask students if they have found any evidence and if so, what is it? Does it support their prediction or refute it?
I will guide them through the process and model with my prediction as long as I feel they need it. Once I think that students are becoming comfortable with the process, I will have them finish the reading with a partner. As the students read, I will sit will various groups to listen to their fluency and monitor their evidence gathering.
Once students have finished reading, I will have them analyze their results by asking this question:
Did you make a valid prediction? What is the best piece of evidence that either supports or refutes your prediction?
I will have them answer this question on the same paper as their evidence chart. To share, I am going to have the students mingle with people from other table groups. One way I do this is to play a song and just let them start walking toward each other. When the music stops, they partner up with someone close by who did not sit at their original table. Once the pairs are made, I want the students to share their prediction and explain if it was proven true or not. I also want them to share the best piece of evidence that either proved or disproved the prediction.
During this activity, I expect to see student gravitate toward friends at first but eventually mix with other students and seek other opinions. It will be a loud sort of fun chaos!
Finally, I will have students think about questions that they had while reading the text. These questions should be interpretive in that they require an explanation and aren't directly stated in the text.
I am asking each student to try to generate three questions, but it can be tough to do. Often students don't have any questions because they aren't thinking in an interpretive way about the text. They are stuck at the surface level. In order to figure out the motivation of the characters, and the mood, and the theme, we must dig below the surface. This is an important skill for students to attain, but it does take a lot of practice. A key to CCS is looking at the text closely and interpretive questions help students do this.
One way to encourage them is by prompting them to think about Jodi and Fillmore and what they do or say when generating questions.
Once everyone has had a chance to think, I ask them to share their questions. I record the interpretive ones up on the board. I ask the kids to each choose one question and write it down on an index card. On the back of the card they will answer the question referring to the text when necessary. I will collect these at the end of the period and have them ready to use as a warm up activity at the beginning of the next class.
I feel that generating and answering questions is a powerful skill that many students don't do naturally as they read. It is important that they have plenty of practice doing this so that it becomes second nature to them.
I love both of these questions! I think that both students really gave the characters' actions some careful thought when devising their question.
Although these students both stayed at the surface level of the story, I was satisfied with their questions and responses because they wrote text based questions and referred to the story while answering.