Word Usage: An author plays with language

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SWBAT analyze the structure of words and how words impact our view of the main character.

Big Idea

Why does the author make some print bold and large? Why are some sentences written separately and in a spiral? What is the author trying to tell us?


7 minutes

Summary and Context

Today, I will spend time rereading particular pages in the story, Odd Velvet, by Mary E. Witcomb. The reason I am rereading certain pages is to look closer at the craft and structure of the text. The author plays with how the words are written. Now that the students have gotten a good understanding of the key ideas and details in the text, I want students to notice elements of the author's craft. I want them to answer why would the author choose to write the words and sentences in this way. I want them to know that authors are very intentional about the way they organize their stories and that the way authors organize their stories, help us to get to see, feel, and think about places, people, and events in a certain way. Today, the text dependent questions that I developed take my students deeper. They still need to refer back to the text to answer the questions. My questions will be about particular sentences and their structure. To help them with this task, I have created a powerpoint. As I ask them questions about the text, I will call on students to come up to white board and identify the sentences on that page that answer the question by either circling them or underlining the sentences. In this way, I am making the lesson interactive/engaging.

I make sure in this lesson to set the purpose of this rereading. I let my students know that rereading helps our comprehension to grow and deepen. Rereading helps students to notice details that they did not notice the first time. Also, in slowing down the reading, we are able to look at closely at what the author is trying to tell us. The practice of a close reading helps students engage with a major shift with the Common Core State Standards towards focusing on the text and text evidence as a basis for deep analysis.

Before we proceed to the rereading of certain pages, I will take a moment to have students pair share what they remembered from the story. Also, I am having them do a five minute quick write to help them remember key details from the story. *The reason I am asking them to do this is because I was absent yesterday and I want to check in with them, and make sure the lesson I provided yesterday was carried out so that I can proceed with the lesson for today, or if I need to modify today's lesson.

After we are done discussing the word choices of the author, the students will get some time to reflect and write about how certain words stand out and how those words help us to see Velvet in a certain way.

Lesson Opening:

I introduce the objective. Also, I ask the students to pair share about what they remember about the story. I have a few share with the whole group. Then, students go to their tables and write for five minutes about the key details in the story.

Quick Write

5 minutes

Students will do a quick write about the key details in the story of Odd Velvet. As they write, I walk around and read their entries and gage whether they are ready to proceed with today's lesson. This is one way to check in and determine, based on what they write, how well students understood the key ideas and details in the story from yesterday's lesson.

I lend different types of support to students. Some students need me to help them think out loud with them so that they feel confident about proceeding. Others will need help with spelling and others with starting.

Here is an example entry: GoodDetailsToRemember.

Pair-Share/WholeGroup Share

3 minutes

I bring the students to the rug for a quick pair share. My students need much practice with academic language and the more opportunities they get to share orally, the better for them. After they share with each other, a few share out to the whole group. In addition to the opportunity to develop their oral language skills, this also gives everyone the opportunity to hear what their peers are remembering and further solidify their understanding of the text's key ideas and details.

PowerPointPresentation: Looking at the Author's Craft

22 minutes

I have selected certain pages from the story and compiled them in a power point presentation to have a discussion of why the text is written differently in some sentences.

On the page selected, I spend time analyzing this question with the students: "Why would the author choose to write the sentence in a particular way?"

This is very important. My students will glaze over text that is written differently if not brought to their attention. Thus, with this lesson, I help them notice long and short sentences. I help them to notice words in sentences that are bold and bigger than the rest of the other words in that sentence. I help them notice sentences written in a spiral and in a curve. These features are used intentionally and I want my students to know that. In writing words in a certain way, the author is influencing our opinion of the characters.

As students analyze the printing of the sentence and their content, I am looking for them to refer back to the text in their answers. This is an interactive process to help my students notice the print that stands out. The discussion is worth having because it makes the craft of the author visible.

Socratic Seminar

10 minutes

I gather the students briefly on the rug to discuss the question: Why did the author choose to write the story in a particular way?

I am doing this because I want my students to continue with the practice expressing and discing ideas during Socratic Seminar. In sharing their ideas/viewpoints I want them to get used to supporting their viewpoints with evidence from the text. I also want them to start questioning each other's ideas, and, for this to happen, they need practice in the procedure of Socratic Seminar.

I start by reviewing the rules and how we Hand-Off to one another when we want to pass on the speaking role to the next person. There are discussion starters listed on a chart to help those who need them to enter the conversation.

I am also attaching a document that goes into depth of how I implement Socratic Seminar in my classroom in case you'd like to read more.

Independent Writing Time

15 minutes

Students will now take the time and respond in their journal. They are answering the question: How do the words that stand out help us to see Velvet in a certain way?

I am looking for them to use evidence from the text to support their responses. When we give students time to write about what they talked about and read about, it gives them the opportunity to learn at a deeper level and create lasting connections.

Here are some of their responses: