Today, I am asking my students to complete a "Do Now" that will serve as my assessment of prior knowledge. They will answer the following question: What is the point of annotating a text? I am asking this because I want to know whether they understand that annotations serve a purpose and are not just an assignment or task to be completed for a grade. This is also when I'll also clarify that annotations are a way of marking up a text to help uncover the deeper meanings. Part of this annotation strategy will include annotating vocabulary words to clarify meaning by using different strategies (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.4). Today, we will be doing extensive annotations on an article, so I need to know that they understand why we are annotating. It will aid in their comprehension of the text and will allow them to develop questions to bring to the group for discussion during the Socratic Seminar that will happen later this week.
During the building knowledge section of this lesson, I will walk students through some of the annotations on the Reading with a Pen annotation strategies sheet that I found on http://www.uen.org/Lessonplan/preview.cgi?LPid=33159. I chose this annotation document because it will allow the students to work on several different types of annotations at once. Annotations allow students to read closely for understanding. I am expecting my students to complete this activity with one of their partners during the application component of the lesson. Please note that today, we will not do annotations 13 and 20 because we do not have time AND because they are not essential to task for which they are annotating. We all know the kids love it when we skip things, but never fear--I will ask them to do these types of annotations in the future. They don't get off the hook that easily. Not only are they reading for information (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.10), but also, they are discussing the meaning of the text with their groups/partners as they take notes (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1a).
I will ask students to work with a partner to annotate one of the three articles. Students can choose whether they want to read about The Magi, The Queen of Sheba, or King Solomon. I am giving them some choice because I think choice is important in creating the motivation to read. Students may have prior knowledge of these people/ideas, so I want to key in on any interest they may already have. Also, they will eventually read all three articles in order to be prepared for the next lesson, so while they have some choice today---it won't matter so much in the end. Yes, I know, I've tricked them again. I'm hoping that after they read one article, they will be interested in reading the others.
Before doing any of the annotations, I will ask them to read over the article in its entirety and have a brief discussion about the important parts with their partner. I am asking them to do this because they cannot begin to analyze an article without first reading it for understanding. They will be working with a partner to do the annotations because I am also interested in the discussion that will happen as they are reading and annotating together. I want to see if explaining their annotations to their partner will be helpful in gaining a deeper understanding.
The annotations will be the next step in making meaning of the text. As my students work on the annotations, I will be asking them to read the text closely, discuss it with their partners, and try to understand the importance of the Magi, the Queen of Sheba, and King Solomon. I will be asking my students to determine the meaning of words and phrases CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4 as well as analyze how an author's claims are developed across texts and the connections that are drawn between them CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.5 since all three articles address information that is mentioned in the other two articles. At this point, they will not have read "The Gift of the Magi," so I want the students to begin thinking about what the short story is about and how it will connect to the articles.
The reason I am having my students read these articles is because the story we will read alludes to all three topics. The allusions are really brief, and I think my students will miss them if they do not have some background knowledge. I think they will truly understand the importance of the characters' sacrifices if they understand that Della's hair will be compared to the Queen of Sheba's treasures, and Jim's watch will be compared to King Solomon's. Also, the Magi are the three Wise Men, and I want them to understand why O. Henry gave the story the title. I think the partnered discussions will be useful in generating a theory about the use of the allusions.
For homework, I will ask students to read one additional non-fiction article and complete 8 of the annotations on the annotation palette for that article (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.10). I am asking them to do this because I am chunking the information so that they have some time to digest the ideas in each article in order to clearly see the connections between the three articles. I will be asking them to read the third article during the next class as they develop Cornell notes.