This lesson, focusing on asking and answering evaluative questions is in the middle of a unit about questioning. My students are able to ask and answer literal and inferential questions, but need more practice with evaluative questions.
Using questioning to improve comprehension is not a reading strategy that they often employ. In this lesson, the students ask and answer to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text (RL.2.1), which supports the shift in Common Core Standards toward using text evidence to improve comprehension. I also encourage them to share their opinions with text evidence (SL.2.3) to improve their speaking and listening skills. As students take turns sharing their thoughts and evidence, the expectation is that they will speak clearly, using complete sentences and thoughts supported with text, illustrations or background knowledge. (SL.2.6)
I chose this text, The First Independence Day Celebration, because it is at their lexile level and the illustrations are clear. My class has been studying American history and this is the final review before our test. The students are learning vocabulary in concepts in Social Studies class, but it is SO helpful to read informational text about this topic to follow up on what they know and build content knowledge.
If you have not taught lessons about question writing, I encourage you to look at some of the earlier lessons so your students get some practice with writing and answering questions. These lessons include The Whys and Whens of Questioning about Literature, Big Questions About Informational Text, and So What Do You Think, Using Evaluative Questions with Literature.
Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics. The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary. My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words.
Get students engaged
Common starting point
Give the purpose of the lesson
Introduce strategy - modeling
Review strategy - guided practice
Read pages as a group
Share what you know
The ability of students to write their own questions and use ideas from the text to answer them (RI.2.1) allows them to 'lead' their own learning experience. My role as teacher is to model how to ask and answer evaluative questions, but I want to guide and facilitate their learning. This is a new approach as I try to meet the level of rigor that is demanded by the Common Core standards. I want to move away from the "teacher as sole information source" and toward the "student as an active learner" model because, even though it's hard to relinquish that control, I think it leads to better mastery of the material. When students use what they have learned from the text to verbalize answers to questions, they have the opportunity to explain their ideas (SL.2.3) and further facilitate the learning process. Explaining what they know and how they know it is an example of metacognitive learning.
Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be easily scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.
Students with limited language and vocabulary can work in a group and participate without having to write. They will still have good ideas and contribute well.
Students with more ability should be encouraged to be the writer or monitor the formation of the questions.