When students enter the classroom today, they find an entrance ticket on their desk. We are working on our third day with this text and I want the thinking to move more toward evaluation and opinion plus my district requires our 4th graders to use this text to compose an opinion piece for their district writing portfolios so, their question is this- "When Axel, Uncle Paul and Aunt Charlotte beached at White Sand Campground, Uncle Paul said the fire wouldn't reach them. Did you believe him? Why or why not? What language from the text led you to your opinion?"
I give the students some time to answer and then we share. I use the random name chooser on my Smartboard to choose who shares. Again, the other students and I evaluate answers and we discuss their opinions regarding the question.
Honestly, it took a bit of time for them to understand that we probably shouldn't believe Uncle Paul because he didn't start unpacking the camping gear, but they were convinced that he knew what he was talking about because he had worked as a forrester.
It seems that my students need a bit more practice with analyzing character motives which is fine because we haven't really covered that. It gives me a good place to start when we get to that.
After coming to a complete answer to the entrance ticket question, I give the students one last text dependent question to use with this story. This is the prompt from my district and this question will have two purposes. The first purpose will students another chance to read and comprehend the text and provide more practice with text dependent questions. The second purpose will be to serve as the graphic organizer for the opinion paragraph the district requires.
I allow the students to partner back up and reread the text. I encourage them to continue to annotate with their post it notes and the code we've established and when they're done reading, they can begin working together on the question.
After the students finish their graphic organizer, we have time for some to share so I let them do that and then I collect the graphics and prep them for tomorrow. We've worked on LOTS of opinion writing so what I'm asking them to do shouldn't take too long. I tell the students about the district writing portfolio and how important it is to do their best writing. The thing that gets their attention most of all is that I won't be able to help them edit their papers, so this is also an excellent chance for them to practice their peer editing skills.