To begin today's lesson, I have my students start with a quick write as a way for them to reference their prior knowledge about community. This particular prompt also has them thinking about the theme of "Thank You, M'am" as they begin to read.
I display the PowerPoint slide with the writing prompt and give students about 5-7 minutes to write.
When they have finished their paragraphs, it's fun to take a few minutes to share. Being that it's so early in the year when I do this lesson, this is a good way to learn a little more about my students and their backgrounds.
Sometimes I ask for volunteers to read their paragraphs, and other times I have the students read with an elbow partner. It's fun to then ask the class, "Did your partner write a really good paragraph?" and have a student paraphrase their partner's work. This type of sharing adds to my classroom community!
Now it's time to read the story.
Since this is a first read, there are a few ways it can be done.
There are days that I read aloud to the class because I want them to hear all of the inflection in my voice (and, who am I kidding? I'm a real ham and love to act in front of my kids). However, there are days that I will ask for volunteers to read a paragraph or two aloud. I have even had students sit in groups of 2-3 and read aloud to each other. This can get out of hand quickly, though, so use caution!
After we are done reading, I have my students answer comprehension questions on the same paper as the quick write. Before we can move into a more meaningful study of this text, it's important to assess whether or not students understood the basic plot of the piece.
This is also a great time to talk about complete answers. There is a big push for this at our school, and I love it. We get students to think and respond in complete ideas (even more fleshed out than a complete sentence). The difference between, "The strap broke, and he fell" and "When Roger tried to steal Mrs. Jones's purse, the strap broke and he fell down" is so important for students to understand and appreciate.
If there is time at the end of class, we will share our answers. I collect this assignment for a formative grade.