As we begin this lesson we need to review our concept wall and what we have read so far. I want to pay special attention to the themes that have become prevalent and focus on why they are important to telling the story of Columbus.
Some points I want to review: monarchs, first voyage, second voyage, colony, and purpose. Students can choose from these themes or form one of their own that they would like to find support from our reading about. I briefly touch on each of these so that all of my students have a good start to begin brainstorming what main idea they would like to explore further. Setting them up in this way allows for students to choose an interest faster. I write these themes up on the white board so the class can reference it to choose their topic.
I am now going to ask that my students to choose a main sail. This will be the main idea that they would like to explore from our readings. Students can choose one of these main themes to find details on.
Each student will choose one area they are interested in and that they can find easily in the book. The idea is to get them used to looking back within the text to find supporting evidence toward their main idea or theme. I remind them to use the concept wall or the list we created on the board. If a student has an idea that we did not talk about, they can ask me if they can choose it as their main sail.
Before they choose I ask them to look back within the story and choose a main sail that they feel confident they can find supporting evidence within the text. So before they declare a main sail I want to know they have a good idea of where they are going to get their supporting details from. This requires me to walk around and check where students are looking and if the pages correlate to their main sail.
This portion of the lesson is them filling in their ship's sails with details from the biography. They are going to create sails around their main sail and each of these will contain a specific detail that supports the main sail. They can use any part of the book they want, but it must include the page numbers so I can check the source of their detail.
I model how I would do this with my own sail, and what my supporting sail would say. I am also going to model adding the page number. I model this one more time on another sail, and then ask them to help me with two more sails. They are now ready to try to use the biography to fill in their supporting sails from the text. Now they just need time.
This part of the lesson might have to happen on another day. For some of my students, they needed more time to fill in their sails. They were really into the graphic organizer and making it look as complete as possible.
I ask students to get into groups based on those that chose the same theme. I want them to have a discussion on the theme and the supporting details that they found. They can then add or fix what they wrote to make their idea as complete as possible. I ask the groups to discuss the differences and similarities of their sails. I might ask, " Why did you have differences?" I remind the groups to check each other's page numbers to see if the details are correctly located on that page.