When I began to build this unit, I started with my end result. Eventually, students will write a paper that synthesizes five different sources and traces a theme throughout them. Part of scaffolding skills to make that paper successful is teaching students academic language. It is important for me to give my students confidence and that confidence is built by helping them with academic vocabulary. Today, I will write the following short narrative on the board:
“I love you,” he said
“I’m sorry. I don’t love you,” she said.
The author showed the tragedy of unrequited love.
I will ask the students to brainstorm power verbs that could replace said and/or showed. The power verbs help the language of their response move from informal to academic. After 2-3 minutes, I will write down our lists. We will discuss using specific language when speaking and writing about literature. They will copy the list in their notebooks.
The last week has been focused on building the skills to infer what a text is saying implicitly and explicitly (RL 9-10.1) and prepare students to analyze a theme over a variety of texts (RL 9-10.2) Today, I will introduce our Theme Folders. The thematic folders are a visual representation of complex thinking. I want students to be able to visually see a theme throughout multiple texts and text types. Many of my students are very hands on learners and the folders gives them the opportunity to write text evidence and organize it. I will begin the mini lesson by giving students the note card anchor chart. I will make a copy for each student so they will always have it accessible in their student binder. I'll explain to the students that we are going to look for four themes throughout Twelve Years a Slave and Long Way Gone. I will model my thinking and will complete a card on the smartboard.
The goal for students work time today is to complete one note card for each text. During student work time, I confer with with students at their tables. I ask a student at each table to read one of their note cards to the group. As students read, I comment on great insights to the text and appropriate evidence. As students listen to examples, it gives them confidence to complete the work individually. As I confer, I'm able to quickly assess the status of the class. Conferring with students is part of Tovani's Workshop Model. I will listen to students read their cards and will ask them to explain their thinking. This formative assessment is an excellent tool for my classroom. I can offer quick catch and release moments, where I ask students to stop working and reteach a part of the skill, based on the conferences I'm having.
With 5 minutes remaining, I ask students to answer this question: Think of another text that you can apply to one of the themes. Share this observation with your partner.
This closure sets up tomorrow's lesson which will ask students to develop two note cards each for Twelve Years a Slave and A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier.