I gather students on the carpet and ask, "How do we train a puppy to sit and stay?" Students respond. I then ask "What happens if he doesn't obey? - What happens if he does well?" Students respond.
I then share that we teach him by reward and consequence until he acts the way that we want him to. He learns the expected behavior by watching our reactions and trying to make us happy.
This is similar to the lessons we learn, too. From what we see, hear and read we learn how to act the way society, or the community around us want us to act.
I state the objective that today we are going to read more about Bud Not Buddy and identify the lessons he is learning through the problems and solutions and events he is facing. These lessons are called the authors messages or the themes of the writing - its what the author wants us to learn from reading about the actions of the characters and events of the story.
I ask students to take out their Common authors messages in books. You could also post one on the board for reference. I say, "What is an authors message from the chart have you heard your parents say before?" Students share. I ask them to give a short story because I want them to connect safety or changes for the better to their parents words to help with the "why" behind the words.
I then ask them "How do we locate and identify the lesson learned while we are reading?" Students share. If they don't come to the realization, I state that we think about the characters, the plot events and the outcome while we are reading. I relate this to a lesson they learned - first I did this, then this happened, and my parents said this, so I learned this.
I then tell them that we are going to practice together on short passages from other books and then apply what we learned to the book Bud Not Buddy.
We review and practice the first side together and I do a think aloud modeling my expectations for the worksheet.
Then students work in pairs to complete the back side and share with their table groups before we identify the correct response in each part of the worksheet. I want them to build identification skills but also practice debating their answers using Academic Discourse - 3 parts so we practice signaling - Turn and Debate - Partners/ tables take turns responding and practicing their debate language as they go around the group. Each table/partner group needs to decide on the best response and signal when they have it - then we do a whole class share and debate.
I pass out their Bud Not Buddy books, or next passage sections, and have them open to chapter 5. I tell them that their purpose is to identify the authors message or theme of their reading. I give each student small Post it notes to use to write or mark in their book where they identify the lesson learned by Bud or other characters and where there are supporting details or evidence that would help their debates.
Students read quietly for 15 min. and then I signal for them to stop. Students are randomly brought together (call sticks) in groups of 4-6 and asked to debate stronger-weaker lesson learned using their academic discourse sentence prompts. I want these groups to be diverse in levels and abilities so that lower students can learn from higher readers, and higher readers will be asked to explain more of their thinking and support in text.
I circulate the room and listen in taking notes but I try not to interrupt. I do this because 1. I want them to run their own groups, 2. I want them to adjust to my being near and ;listening but not in control when they meet independently, and 3. I don't want them to lose the talking to a group not a teacher focus.
We gather together on the carpet and I ask students to share the lesson learned in this section of the text. If they struggle in their responses I support them by projecting the Responding to literature - Author's message frame on the board and have them use these.
I then ask them how the lesson was learned - what hardships or consequences were faced first? How will learning this lesson help Bud later in life?
I then ask what was easy about identifying lessons learned? and what was difficult about identifying it?
I close with asking what was the best part of sharing in your group and what was difficult about it?
Students primary areas of difficulty were not so much in the responses to the text but in getting everyone in the group setting to agree upon the lesson learned. I did need to go to some groups and share that often there is more than one lesson in a story. Now you can see why I keep the academic discourse as a focus of each discussion group - they can tend to argue if not focused on it being a shared learning experience with no firm right or wrong response.
I collect the books and take notes for what issues to address and what groups/ people to listen to next time. I gauge this according to what they responded both in their small groups and in our closing discussions and look for ways to teach effective sharing and participation strategies.