Dog Lovers Unite! A Lesson in Viewpoint

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SWBAT make inferences about the poet's or narrator's viewpoints and feelings.

Big Idea

A poet writes from the heart. Through his or her words, we can figure out the thought and views within the poem.


15 minutes

The next big question we'll ponder over the next few days is, "How does the speaker of a poem reveal his or her viewpoint?" This fits perfectly in Love That Dog and really hits that CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.6. I love using poetry for this standard because of the emotion that is used in the writing. Sometimes it's so easy to describe the point of view and other times we really have to think. 

To start off today, hand out Love That Dog or put pages 10-11 up on the document projector. Ask students to read silently and think about - How does Jack feel about his work? Give students a minute or two and then let them share out with their teams. This sharing gives them a chance to confirm their thoughts before sharing in front of the class. To hold students accountable, I then pick sticks or use the random generator feature on SMART notebook to ask students to share their thoughts. You can use whatever your kids are used to. Hopefully students understand that Jack is starting to feel proud of his writing, but still feels insecure or unsure of his abilities. 

Then ask students what anonymous means. Ask students to work in groups to discuss what clues on page 11 will help them figure out the meaning. Some students may know the meaning already, but remind them that this is about finding clues in the text and they should focus there even if they know the meaning. Pick students to share what a group member said and then discuss that anonymous means a person that is unidentified. We don't know his or her name. Does Jack wish to remain anonymous? 

Students will then work with this word more in depth since it is so meaningful to the story. Show students the example of the Vocabulary Cartoon. Review that the cartoon includes the word, the definition a cartoon to help you remember the definition, and a sentence to describe the cartoon using the vocabulary word. They will do this on the vocabulary cartoon organizer. I've set up a page in my interactive notebook that looks like this Vocabulary Activating.


15 minutes

 Say to students: In today's reading, Jack writes another journal entry that Miss Stretchberry types up to share with the class.  While reading today, we are going to practice making inferences about the speaker’s viewpoints and his feelings. We’re also going to stop to read the poem “Dog” by Valerie Worth and discuss how she reveals her viewpoint on dogs. Readers make inferences as they read by combining clues from the text with their own knowledge.

Read aloud Pages 12-14. Think aloud about questions that pop into your head while reading. I planned to say something like, why is the word poem in capital letters? Why doesn't Jack want to write about the pet? I know when I don't want to talk about something, I'm usually sad or mad. I wonder if this is a sore subject? Why would he rather make up a pet instead of writing about the pet he used to have? Allow students some time to discuss in groups or just share their thoughts with you. 

Discuss that although Jack isn't the poet, he is writing in poetry form. Ask students: How do some of the clues we're given today help me see how Jack is revealing his viewpoint? Discuss that Jack does not want to write about a pet. We have lots of clues that show jack saying repeatedly that he does not want to write a poem about a pet. Remind students that not all poems will be this easy to find the viewpoint, but it really comes down to hunting for the text clues.


Guided Practice

10 minutes

Provide students with "Dog" by Valerie Worth. Say to students While answering our last essential question about interpreting the meaning of a poem, we learned a few strategies to help us. I will still need your help with those today, but I'd like you to add on to that for me. While we read to understand, I want you to also be looking for clues about how the author feels about the topic. Let's read this through once in a choral reading to get a feel for the poem and then we'll go back and annotate to clarify meaning. 

I like choral readings to help build fluency and so they can still hear how I read poems. I'm probably not perfect, but I think they'll get the idea! Because fluency in 5th grade can be hard to find the time to improve, I try to work in time every spare chance I get. Choral readings are great for this.

Conduct the choral reading and then go back through a few lines at a time and have the students lead in the annotations. Of course, you can guide them in the right direction. I would pick out things like the slow, relaxed feel of the poem- words like yawns, rests his long chin, sighs, sleeps all afternoon. I would write a note or two about what I think Valerie is describing. This sounds like a warm summer day in the country. For some reason I'm imagining the dog relaxing under the tree and Valerie is just sitting on a porch swing admiring her dog.  Give students some time to come up with this if possible.

After a discussion, have the students answer the following questions. My students will do this on the processing side of their interactive notebooks. 

How does Valerie Worth feel about the dog?  Students should be writing positive feelings-she likes the dog, loves him, etc. Students who think she finds the dog lazy may be missing the point. She took the time to write down all she sees the dog do, so she must care for the dog.

What specific text clues helped you answer? Students should be able to refer to the words we discussed while annotating, but be sure to drive home that the speaker uses words and phrases that have a certain feeling. We call this connotation. Valerie's words seem relaxed and caring, so we can tell that she cares for the dog. We can determine the speaker's viewpoint by looking for clues about feelings and emotions. 

Once students have finished, they can share their ideas or you can review to check for understanding before letting them work on their own. 

Independent Reading

10 minutes

Students will read Love That Dog pages 15-19 and answer a few text dependent questions. While students are working, I will pull a small group of students who struggle in my classroom. The rest of my class will pair read because I only have enough books for students to share.

I would like to be with my small group as a guide with this activity. I don't think they will have difficulty with this task, but they tend to rush through tasks and don't fully explain their thinking. Two of my struggling students have a really difficult time expressing themselves in writing, so I've also been working on writing skills with them when we write short response. 


5 minutes

Allow students to share thoughts from the text dependent questions, Students should be able to say that Jack tells us that he had a dog and give information to support that. Students should also be able to say that Jack starts to get particular about how his poems are being typed and starts to have preferences about them. Before he didn't care about poetry at all. He also starts to think his writing actually looks like poetry. 

To conclude, I like to have my students go to their learning maps at the front of the interactive notebook and answer the essential questions. My students will do this for me today on an index card so I can see their thoughts. Students will answer, "How does the speaker of a poem reveal his or her viewpoint?" Students should be able to answer that the speaker of a poem will use words and phrases that give the reader an idea of the tone of the poem. If the speaker is feeling sad about something, we'll hear those kinds of words. If a speaker is angry, the lines may be short and seem tense or exclamation points may be used. 

While students are writing these out, I'll move around the room just to monitor thinking, but I'll let them try this on their own. 

Here's a decent set of a student's Text Dependent Questions. These aren't perfect, but a good example of what I'd like to see.