Reading "Malala the Powerful"

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SWBAT read informational text and generate questions.

Big Idea

Read to gain understanding.

Attention Grabber

5 minutes

Since I regretted not using this particular question in the Circle of Knowledge lesson, I decided to start with it today.   

Why do people risk their lives for a cause? Would you risk your life for a cause?  

I gave students about 3 minutes to think about it, and then I asked them to share their answers with a shoulder partner.  

Next, I asked partners to share out what they talked about with the whole class.  We spent about 10 minutes discussing the responses.  My students also wanted to talk about people who routinely risked their lives like firemen, policemen, and soldiers.

First Reading

30 minutes

Since the lexile of this piece is only 880, I wanted my students to complete the first reading by themselves. We have been reading so many difficult literature pieces, and I really wanted to give them the opportunity to read the entire article independently.  With this lexile level, almost all of my students would be able to read and decipher the text with few problems.  This isn't always the case with the increased rigor of common core.  I really liked this article because it is informative but also has many graphics and pictures.  The author's voice really speaks to adolescent students, and I think they will become passionate about Malala's cause because of it.  

While reading, I asked students to circle words that were unknown or unfamiliar, put a star by important parts, and put a question mark by things they questioned.  They are used to this process now, so it comes very naturally.  

As the students read, I was available to answer questions.  Most students had questions about the Taliban, and Malala's injury not the actual text.  I did answer some vocabulary questions too.  

I am fortunate enough to have a subscription to Scholastic Scope this year.  This is an amazing middle level language arts magazine that has awesome articles and teacher resources!  It is truly a gold mine!  You can access the pdf of each article online as well as full lesson plans and teacher resources.  There are a few problems with this.  One, you cannot print the pdf.  Two, they only keep the resources in their archives for a year.  Your best bet is to order a subscription.  I ordered after the school year started, so I did receive the magazines at a prorated cost.  Even if you are not able to use this article as your anchor, there is tons of information on Malala available online.  

Here is a great example from the NY Times.


10 minutes

After the students complete their first reading, I will them all to think of at least 3 questions that they had about the text or Malala.  First they will spend some time writing their questions independently.  Next, I'll ask them to share with the class.  I will recorded all of their questions on the smart board for everyone to see.  

We will move down the list and together answer as many as we can.

 The reason I chose to do this way that I knew that some students were not completely clear on the way life in Pakistan and needed some clarification and more information.  Many of the other students were able to answer some of these questions.  

I even ended up researching some of the answers with the students.  I am the first to admit that I don't know everything, so I will often do a google search with the students.  I think that is great to model good researching skills, because many of my students still aren't proficient with this.  They struggle to sift through the information to find an answer.  

Together we increased our understanding of the Malala situation and life in Pakistan.  Generating (and/or answering) questions can help increase comprehension by causing students to really examine the text.  In order to generate a question, students must think deeply about the issues presented in the reading.  It also prompts them to want to read more so that their questions can be answered.