Today we will need to pause in the middle of The House on Mango Street Unit to take a county created Unit I assessment. I have a few reminders prior to the test because I want them to do their best work--no slacking today. This is a county-created assessment, so I am unable to provide the test, but our department amended it to reflect the skills we have studied most this quarter.
The assessment will focus on identifying and explaining a theme of a text and writing about language choices and how they show the effect on the narrator.
I am making it a point to stress that they cannot pass the assessment without getting 3's and 4s on the PARCC rubric for this assignment. I will entertain questions before giving them the READY, SET, GO!
As we read The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros, we will be reading and writing quite a bit. I will be asking my students to do pre-reading activities that I can be found on pg. 7 of http://babcockenglish2.weebly.com/uploads/4/5/1/0/4510208/mangoportfolio.pdf. I will mostly use the pre-readings as "Do Now" activities, but today, I will be asking them to respond to one after the test. Why would I have them do more writing after an assessment? One reason is that the pre-readings are a bit lighter than other academic writing assignments and usually provoke thought and interest. Most days my students are eager to share their responses to these questions and will readily flaunt their skillfulness at posing and responding to questions that relate to broader themes and current discussions (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1c). I can also take their minds off of the fact that they are writing again by telling them that they are avoiding homework by doing the pre-reading in class. I'm sure that'll do the trick.
The pre-reading for today is:
In what areas of your life are you most free to do what you like? In what areas of your life do you have the least freedom? Consider the roles gender, race, religion, education, class, age, and upbringing play in limiting an individual’s personal freedom.
I am choosing to have them write about this today because we will be discussing how several characters in The House on Mango Street view their freedom in the next unit. My philosophy is bell to bell teaching.
For the whole group discussion, I will call on a few students to discuss areas in their lives in which they feel the most free. I will be looking for students to share personal examples, but I will also be expecting them to refer back to the text (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1a) to discuss which characters seem to feel trapped and asking for evidence that supports it. For example, they might discuss when or how is Marin feels free? Esperanza?
I will probe my students with these questions because I want them to begin to think about the deeper theme of identity in this text since our unit is The Search for Identity.
For this section of the lesson, I will ask students to take 10 minutes to read section three pages (26-38) in order to prepare for the whole group discussion. As they read, I will encourage them to think about the characters in the text and whether they feel free or entrapped. They should be able to explain this with evidence if they are lucky enough to be called on during the discussion. Some of them may think this is bad luck, so I guess it will be my job to convince them that being called upon is a good thing...wink, wink. This discussion is an opportunity to refer to ideas from the text (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1a) and respond to diverse perspectives about freedom (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1d).
I'll wrap up the day by checking in with them to see how they think they did on the test. I usually ask students to give a thumbs up or thumbs down if they think they passed or not. I will also check to see which passages/questions the students found difficult or interesting. I ask for this information because it gives me more data to build new lessons, and it will give me a sense of the types of readings/questions with which they struggle.