Each Detail Matters: A Long Way Gone

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SWBAT determine the central idea of a film clip and a memoir by selecting important details.

Big Idea

Can we pay homage to an author by examining each word he or she chooses to put onto paper?

Warm Up

5 minutes

As students enter, they will complete their Monday Warm Up.  As always on Monday, they will 

1. Write their Monday Celebrations

2. Complete a to-do list.  


I will set a 5 minute timer.  Students will write for 2 and we will share out for 3.  


Monday's warm ups are really important to the culture of our classroom.  Once a week, students hear their peers' successes and we share in those.  It builds a great sense of community.  Students might report about seeing a great movie, a football game or simply their favorite dinner.  

Mini Lesson

15 minutes

Today students will be analyzing explicit ideas from the text and drawing inferences about those ideas.  Since we just finished a very small visual literacy unit, I will incorporate a visual element in today's lesson.  I will begin the mini lesson by asking students what they know about Sierra Leone and child soldiers.  After reviewing our Deep reading anchor chart, I'll remind students that those same strategies apply to visual literacy.  I will play the video clip, an interview with author Ishmael Beah, until the 13:00 mark.  While playing the clip, I will frequently pause the video for students to record significant details.  After the video is over, I will talk about the film with students.  I will categorize details from the film and will draw inferences using the academic language on the INFERENCES anchor chart.  We will categorize details into 1. details about war, 2. details about his feelings, and 3. details about Sierra Leonne.  I do this because I want students to understand that once they take notes on a given subject, they need to think about those notes and categorize them to help make sense of the information.  

Student Work Time

25 minutes

Students will read chapter 4 of A Long Way Gone.  We just finished identifying important details in a visual text, and now I want students to identify the central idea of this text (RL.9-10.1) and cite specific details to support that central idea (RL.9-10.2).  I choose to cite Literature Standards because even though A Long Way Gone is a nonfiction text; it is a memoir and the chapter we are reading is certainly a narrative.   While reading, they will list significant details on the left hand side of a piece of paper.  After reading and writing details, they will talk at their table about the details they chose.  I will stop and remind students that our schema often determines which details we think are important.  I will ask them to categorize their details and see if any of the details have anything in common.  This is an important step because it gives students an opportunity to talk about language, and specifically about the figurative and literal meanings.  

After students list details, they will draw inferences using the inferences answer stems on the INFERENCES anchor chart (W.9-10.10).  


5 minutes

With 3 minutes left in class, I will give each student a post it note.  On the post it, they will answer 2 closure questions (W.9-10.10).

1.  Rate your ability to read a text for deep meaning on a 1 (excellent) 2 (good, but would like 

additional practice), or 3 (I need a one-on-one tutoring conference).


2.  Explain how inferences can help you determine a deeper meaning of a text.  


Post it Note Exit Ticket is one of my favorite ways to end class.  I love assessing classroom data and the post-its are a great piece of that data.  By taking 2 minutes to read the class notes, I can identify questions students have and where they feel most comfortable.