Yesterday my students read an excerpt from Chapter 1 which gave additional insight in the type of parenting Richard Wright's mother believed was the most "loving" for the challenges he was going to be faced with growing up in an urban culture. After reading the excerpt, one of my students commented, "Talk about tough love..."
I added an additional ten minutes to today's Activator because I don't want them to rush their thinking during this activity. First I hand out a poem written by Langston Hughes, Mother to Son, and read it aloud as students read it silently. Using annotation we then interpret some of the metaphors Hughes uses to describe this mother's perspective on growing up RI.9-10.4.
Students are then going to take on the role and perspective of the mother in Hughes's poem and will write an imaginary email to Mrs. Wright discussing how to raise children W.9-10.10.
After giving them time to write their emails I ask them to share them with a partner while I move around the room listening and asking questions.
Given the emphasis in the Common Core on text analysis, RI.9-10.1, to cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis, the challenge is not so much writing a text dependent question but questions that guide students to think and analyze.
Some of my questions can be answered by locating a quote and fall into the basic understanding category but others necessitate text dependent analysis. I include both types of questions because for struggling readers the jump to analysis can be far and I want to give them the tools to begin their close reading of the text so they can develop the abilities to ask and answer questions about what they are reading.
I pass out the TDQ organizer and explain the two parts necessary to answer each question:
I facilitate a short discussion to check for understanding SL.9-10.1. Collecting and citing evidence is a skill we will be using throughout the year and as I stated is one of the key shifts in the common core.
To begin this part of the lesson I read a few selected passages aloud while students “read in their heads.” I ask them to annotate for conflict Richard is experiencing with himself, someone else, or society.
I ask my students to next read the next selection independently while annotating for examples of conflict and be aware of how Richard Wright presents these events and the connection between them, RI.9-10.3.
Using the TDQ template, I then ask my students to re-read the text while pausing to respond to the (TDQ's) questions, continually returning to the text for their evidence based answers. After they write their evidence based response they can share and discuss their answer with a partner as required in standard SL.9-10.1
I circulate among the students using guided practice while checking for understanding and keeping them focused on the task.
As a debriefing activity I want a few students to share what they found in their text to support their answers. This activity acts as a summarizer as well as a formative assessment for their understanding. Students share out and analyze evidence based answers while I facilitate reporting out.