Notable Notes 1: Collaboratively Asking and Answering Questions Explicitly from the Text

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SWBAT collaborate with others to formulate questions and answers referring explicitly to the text to demonstrate understanding after reading closely.

Big Idea

In this lesson, students will review what they’ve read already about the notable person Booker T. Washington and work collaboratively to create questions and answers based on their close reading.

Enroll Students Into Learning

5 minutes

Today, we begin our lesson by reviewing the term biography.  My students share with me that a biography is a text about a real person, but it’s not written by themselves; instead, it’s written by someone else.  Next, I ask the class about the biographical text we read yesterday, More Than Anything Else, by Marie Bradby.  Ask the kids to turn to their tablemates and review what this text was all about, and what we may have learned from our close reading.  I give the students a few minutes and then let each group share some details from yesterday’s reading.

Experience Learning

5 minutes

Now, I remind the students that yesterday, we started brainstorming some questions we wanted to ask and have answered as we were reading yesterday.  Today, were going to take the skill of asking and answering questions one step further as we take some notes on our questions and answers so we can show what we’ve found explicitly in the text!  I have our two paper passers help out by passing out the note-taking page (see the Resources section here). 

I model for the students how I would take some notes using the first question stem: Who?  I tell the students that when I think of the question stem Who?, I think of people.  When I think of people in this text, I think of the different people Booker T. Washington had around him, or met in his life.  For example, I think of the newspaperman that Booker T. Washington works with to begin to learn to read.  I think this person is an important piece of information to make a note about, so I’ll make a note that says: “Newspaper man helped Booker to read” in the Who? box.  Now that I have this note, I could create the question such as, “Who helps Booker T. Washington with his dream of learning to read?”, and I very clearly have the answer, right from the text, which we know is the newspaper man.

Label New Learning

5 minutes

I tell the students that looking specifically in the text to find answers to questions we’re wondering about or creating helps us show that we understand the text!  Together, in our table groups, we’ll work to take some notes on each questions stem that we can share with the class today! 

Demonstrate Skills

10 minutes

Now that there are five question stems left, I assign each table group within my classroom one question stem.  Their task is to:

-review yesterday’s reading and reread as necessary

-take at least two notes that would lend themselves to a question with their assigned question stem

-have discussion and listen actively to decided as a group which notes are the more relevant pieces of information

-share their findings with the class when finished

As students begin working, I circulate around the room to check on student progress.  This is great time to provide corrective feedback, help guide any students or groups that need assistance, and work with students on the collaborative component of working together in group discussion.

After all groups are finished up, our class comes back together to share what we’ve found.  On the SmartBoard, I record what each group has made note of in their section as we move through each question stem.  The rest of the students also make note of these notes on their individual notes page as well.  I take a moment after finishing all notes to tell the students what a great job they’ve done reading closely and finding the most relevant information!

Once all groups have shared, I show the class that we will create flipbooks today that showcase our notes through a question and answer format!  Students will decide on a question that can be asked based on their notes that they will write on the front of the flipbook tab.  Then, underneath the tab, they’ll write their answer using the notes we’ve recorded today!  (See the Resources section here for the template and some sample pictures!)


5 minutes

At the end of our time together, I pull back up our Biography Essential Question Map and ask the students, “Who’s one notable person we now know about from the turn of the century?”  The students of course respond with Booker T. Washington, so I add his name under the “Notable” section of our map.  Then I ask, “What makes Booker T. Washington notable?”  I get many answers, but then one student says, “Well, he was determined to make a difference in his own life and the lives of others.”  I say, “That sounds wonderful!  ‘Determined to make a difference in the lives of others’ is a great way to summarize why Booker T. Washington is notable!”, and I record that on our map as well!


15 minutes

As you’ll find in most of my lessons, I do not usually include a “Homework” section.  Usually, homework in my classroom consists of a routine list of tasks, including practicing spelling words, math facts, reading a book that is just right for the readers, and sometimes other small tasks.  However, with this week being focused on “notable” people, my teaming partner Nici and I couldn’t resist coming up with an extra special homework assignment for each day of this week.  So, throughout all of these “notable people” lessons, you’ll find our special homework assignment for each day!

For homework, we’ve taken a Kids Discover Magazine all about The Wright Brothers and created a mini workbook where students can practice a variety of CCSS related to informational text!  Each day, students read a portion of the biographical magazine at home and then complete a portion of their mini workbook, which we’ve entitled the “Fantastic Flying Facts and Figures Book”!  We’ve also created an introductory video to go with each day’s assignment that the students watch before their reading and completing their work for the evening!   Check out Day 2’s video and the “Fantastic Flying Facts and Figures Book” in the resources section here!