Hate That Cat, But I Love That Poetry Day 1; Close Read and Socratic Seminar

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SWBAT read and record thoughts about poetic novel.

Big Idea

You are about to embark on a new journey through Jack's poetic life. Be prepare to express your opinions and defend your thoughts!


When Sharon Creech came out with "Hate That Cat", I had to read it. I wasn't expecting that I would like the second book better than the first, but I did. Jack is still the main character, but instead of learning to love poetry and how to understand poetry, Jack continues his  journey by looking more at the figurative language used in poetry and grapples with what poetry is and is not. Of course, we find out more about Jack's life and this time his family plays a bigger role. Jack, once again, let's us know he can't write about something, and throughout the book we find out why. 

I went back and forth on how to add this book to my unit. I finally decided to let the students just read and enjoy the book with a few guidelines from me. I also need to stay close to my pacing, so I don't have much time to work this is. I'm shooting for 5 days including some time for extension projects and the summative. 

Basically, I want the students to complete a close read each day to prepare for a "mini" Socratic Seminar. The students will make little red journals to record their thoughts, ideas, and annotations. I have a class set of "Hate That Cat", so this will make things easy in my room. Scholastic had them in the book orders, so I used some points and a few bucks to purchase some. If this is a lesson you really want to do, but don't have the books, I have also written letters to our PTO and business partners to ask for funds. Also, Donorschoose.org, is a great way to get materials if you can get funded quickly. I wrote a donorschoose request at the beginning of the year for math supplies and was funded in 2 weeks and had the materials a week later.  I've even written a letter to the parents and many students have purchased their own copies of books I've used in the past. 

I'm also going to let my students explore the figurative language concepts. Sharon Creech does a great job of letting Jack work with these concepts and the students are fully immersed in the language throughout the book. I like this approach because I think they'll really understand the types of language this way. I've been adding in figurative language stations throughout my unit, so the students are already familiar with this. Personification is not mentioned in the book, but students are required to know this for our district assessments, so I will have to work in this concept separately.  

So many thoughts went into planning this part of the unit. I loved working with the students step-by-step through "Love That Dog", but I don't have the time to do this same style of teaching for the next book. Also, I think my students are ready to "just read." They can't wait to dive in to this next book. My boys are the most excited and I have Sharon Creech to thank for that. I will stray from m normal lesson layout in that I won't have the mini-lesson, small groups and workstations. I want all of my students to have the opportunity to read and record ideas on their own. They will all be held accountable by being prepared for Socratic Seminar. 

Your Mission

5 minutes

To start off, I want to make sure students know the guidelines for this section of the unit. 

Over the next few days you will learn many new things about Jack. Your mission is to read the poetic novel “Hate That Cat” and journal all of your thoughts as you read. You can do this “Jack” style. There doesn’t have to be any structure, paragraphs, etc. You just need to record your thoughts as you interact with the text. Good readers are always thinking while reading, so this will be your poetic journey of thoughts through Jack’s next year in school. You may be as creative as you want or simply just jot down thoughts just as Jack does. We will have three stopping points to have mini-socratic seminars as we read, so be prepared with your thoughts. You are responsible for reading the poems that Jack refers to in the novel. They are located at the back of the book in the order that they appear in the novel. I will provide you with the journal in which to write your thoughts and we will eventually glue these into your notebook. This will be done in school, so you will be graded on your journal. I will be looking for consistent questions, inferences, predictions, and ideas that come to you while reading the book. I am not grading your writing ability, but I have to be able to read your handwriting. The more creative and thoughtful the journal, the higher the grade. Remember that I have read this book and already have an idea of what you might write down.

Along your journey you will also keep a poetic devices organizer. This will be filled with things like alliteration, simile, imagery and other poetic elements that can ENHANCE poetry. You will keep this in your journal and this will also be graded. I will be looking for students to add to our class graphic organizer each day. 

Close Reading

30 minutes

Today you will read to page 25 and record all of your thoughts. You will need to read the following poems that ate located in the back of the book: "The Red Wheelbarrow" (Gee, I wonder why this is back?) and "The Bells." I will be around to look at your annotations in your journal. You should be able to read 140-180 words per minute in the 5th grade and there are approximately 1300 words to read today. That should take you about 10 minutes, but I know you have to annotate while reading, so I will give you 20 minutes to complete this task

I like to give the kids the expectations for reading so that they stay focused. My students LOVE Socratic Seminar, so this is an incentive to focus today.  If they are not staying on task, they will miss this experience to continue reading and working. I will be sure to assist students who struggle with reading during their silent reading, but this text should not be too difficult. My students who generally struggle really enjoyed "Love That Dog" and felt successful. I think they'll get the same rewards from "Hate That Cat." Here a few examples of my studentsstarting off on this task. 

After 20 minutes we will get into Socratic seminar to discuss the following big ideas: Why is "The Red Wheelbarrow" making a comeback? What do you think about uncle Bill? What forms of figurative language have popped up? Why do you think Jack doesn't like cats? On page 25, Jack mentions something about not being able to hear. Why?

If you are not ready for seminar, you may continue to read and annotate until your work is finished. Please stay on task. I think you will find this easy because Jack tells his story in the same poetic fashion and the reading is enjoyable. I'm excited for you to find out what Jack has going on now. 

Socratic Seminar

20 minutes