It is Monday and the beginning of a new unit! To build a classroom culture of respect and community, we will continue our Monday tradition of Celebrating a New Week!
For five minutes, students will write any celebrations from the weekend or upcoming week and will create a to-do list. The to-do list is to help students plan. I encourage them to list anything they want to here from chores at home to homework. Few of my students use a planner and I hope this helps keep them organized. Throughout the week, I take a few seconds to ask them to look at their to-do list and cross off items they have accomplished.
At the end of writing, I put the timer on 2:00 minutes and students are allowed to share. We offer three claps to help celebrate.
Today is a long mini lesson day! Most of the time, I try to keep my mini lessons between 10-15 minutes. Today, I anticipate it will be 20-25 minutes. Once students begin student work time, I anticipate stopping them frequently, reteaching something and then returning them to work. Thesis statement writing is very important to the development of the paper. I am spending a lot of time on it because I want students to understand it is going to drive and direct the rest of their essay. I am going to tackle the task of teaching thesis statements in a two-day lesson.
First, I will enthusiastically recite a quick version of Three Little Pigs. I chose this story because most students know the basics and I recite it from memory. After, I will ask students what the author is whispering. Here is a link to an explanation of the Surface Story vs. Whispered Story anchor chart that we often refer to. After they tell me three possible themes, we will pick one and write a theme statement.
After we have written a theme statement as a class, the students are going to work on writing their own theme statements for their chosen theme ([loss of] innocence, courage, bearing witness, silence). I am going to require that students have a stamp of approval before moving on to step two of thesis writing tomorrow. I will be reviewing theme statements to make sure they are not cliche and they are specific and focused. I ask students to write a theme statement first, because it helps assure they are writing about a text abstractly.
We will finish class today by grouping by common theme. After students are grouped, they will take a few minutes to read the theme statements of their peers. We end this way because I want students to practice collaborative revision (SL.9-10.1).