I remind students that the two periods they spent thoroughly annotating the first couple of pages of Silko’s poem was practice for today’s task. They received a lot of support and immediate feedback during those class periods. They know they are expected to do the same today, but on their own. I remind them that they will be annotating the last two pages of the poem on their own, and that it will count as a quiz. I am pushing them to apply the annotating guidelines we have been working on. I ask students to take out the Whole Group Analysis of chart-Juxtapose Mainstream Lit And Indigenous Lit and their copy of Silko's poem. I also refer them to the ANNOTATE chart, specifically to the items marked with yellow post its. I remind them that these are the resources they are to use today. To be clear, I hold up the “Juxtapose…” chart and tell students that they need to find specific examples of items on the Indigenous literature column as well as the bullet points at the bottom. Similarly, I point to the post-its on the “Annotate” chart and tell them to use these to mark specific details they highlight in the text. The resources available have definitions and key words marked. I make these accessible to them because I am interested in the application and not the memorization of these.
I give students about 30 minutes to annotate the last two pages of the poem on their own. I don’t look at their work during this time. However, I still answer specific questions about items on the available resources. For instance, I may remind a student that the metaphysical refers to religious and spiritual things or that imagery requires details and adjectives. Again, I am more interested in the application of these. Few students ask questions. They mostly work in silence. They all turn in their work when 30 minutes are up.
Now that students have thoroughly annotated the text and discussed it, they can formulate a written response. I assign a short analytical paragraph. This assignment is meant to give them another opportunity to practice analyzing the language of an author. They have done this type of work several times in the year, but I still see too many students struggling with analytical writing. To make them more aware of what the expectation is, I give them a check list of what must be included in their paragraph. The check list is in this document titled "Another Argumentative Paragraph," which I distribute to students. I tell students that they will be using this document to write their paragraph. I explain that they will be checking off each item under the “Self Editing” column. Then they will ask a peer to double check and they will mark these on the “Peer Editing” column. I ask them to scan the list and confirm what must be clear to them, that there is nothing new here. The focus of this written assignment is on selecting good evidence and properly analyzing it, which is the most difficult part of analytical writing for my students at this point. Because of this, I want all students to collaborate on formulating one argument for all to use as a topic sentence. This will allow them to just focus on the skills listed on the editing list. I communicate this to students and tell them that our paragraph will state one central point the author made in the poem. I ask them to suggest one central point they believe Silko made in this piece of literature. There will be a couple of attempts that will be off in some way, but soon a student will suggest something accurate and we can all work together to word it clearly. Today, a student suggested that one point Silko is making is that it is important that we all get along. I turned it on the class to evaluate, by asking, “Do you agree? Can we say that this entire poem is mostly making the point that we all need to get along?” The class decides that this is not accurate. A second student suggested something about the fate of Native Americans. Together, we worked on this idea and ended up with the sentence:
Leslie Marmon Silko explained to the reader that the future holds an unfortunate fate for Native Americans.
I ask students to write this sentence on their paper as their topic sentence. I tell them that tomorrow they will be selecting evidence from the poem that supports the idea stated in this topic sentence and that they will be analyzing it.