Mood Changes Through Words and Pictures

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SWBAT...identify and explain how the author's point of view influences how events are described and the mood is developed in the story "How Many Days to America"

Big Idea

The colors, words and actions that authors use can all effect the mood of a story. We can "feel" a story when we read deeply and "see" the emotions.

Shared Discussion

20 minutes

We come back together and first share out student responses to questions from the previous lesson. (See my reflection for how, why, what and when I conduct student running records). I have them turn to page 9 and we read it together - I stop the group and ask them what was meant by the "secret streets" on page 9? Why would the streets be called secret when there were so many people walking on them? I question right after reading to help students make connections to text they read and to foreshadow what I am going to discuss in our lesson today (secrecy affects the mood change). Also questioning within the text helps them to build the practice of using context clues to identify meaning in their reading.

I then have them take out their response questions from the previous group meeting (their take-away assignments) and we review the questions. Those they struggle with we discuss and I have them write the responses we decided upon in their books so that they are not only hearing it, but also writing it. I also prompt them with "Where was your evidence for that found?" and "How could you write that in a more academic way?" or "Could you explain what your thinking there? - then "Write that down to show your thinking" - to teach them how to write stronger responses and to share what my expectations are for each time that we meet. 

In this lesson, I ask them to share their What I know what I wonder. I ask them which ones were answered as they read further in the text. I then ask which ones are they still wondering about. This changes with each lesson but gives me a means to determine where their connections lie (emotional or personal questions) and their thinking beyond the text (caring for elderly, did everyone in village leave etc.) We write down the ones we are still wondering on our Questioning the Text and then will add information and responses as we discover it in our reading. 

I introduce the authors use of colors to influence the readers and have them turn through the pages and evaluate how the colors change and what effect this has on the story events. I share that authors use both words and colors to affect their reader's mood as the story progresses. This creates suspense, danger, happiness, hope and many other emotions. In this story the boat's colors change throughout the story. I ask them what colors they see on the boat on the front cover? I then ask what those colors remind them of - rainbow, flag colors? I push further and ask what a rainbow symbolizes - hope. How is the feeling of hope involved in this story?

I share that the author uses these colors to set the mood of hopefulness in the story. I show them that on page 12 the colors are muted and primarily the red and blue show up - symbolizing their lowered feelings of hope and their movement towards America (flag colors). I then have them turn to page 25 and all the colors they can see on the boat - showing that the people are becoming more hopeful of making it to America.

I ask students to share another mood change they can identify. We share out responses and then move on to vocabulary before I give them their take away questions. 

Vocabulary Lesson

5 minutes

I have students come back to page 3 and read the sentence that states " I'd heard it whispered between my parents in the restless hours of the night". I ask students to remember what we determined the meaning of restless was? 

I write the word on our chart and ask what the root part of the word is and what the suffix part of the word is. We divide the word and I ask students to define the meaning of the affix parts.

We write this below and I show students how we combine meanings of the parts to determine the meaning of the whole. We decide on a "kid-friendly" meaning of "unable to feel relaxed or unrelaxed" and then I ask them to reread the sentence replacing the word restless with our word "unrelaxed" to see if it still makes sense and has the same meaning. I use this strategy to teach my students comprehension skills, but also a test-taking strategy that they can use. Students then add this to their Guided Reading Vocabulay Journal entry to practice and apply their learning.    

I ask them to think of other words that have the same root or suffix. I ask them to define the affix parts and then share how this relates to the word meaning. Students share examples and debate meanings.

I ask them "How does knowing word parts help in determining the meaning of unfamiliar words?" Take responses and I have them write the word parts and their meanings in their journals.


Take Away Assignment

10 minutes

I share with them again that in the next chapters the author is going to use his words and pictures to create a mood change for the readers - to reactivate their prior knowledge. Their challenge will be to identify the mood changes, to explain what the author's purpose is for using them in his story and their effect on the readers.

I have students turn to page 16 and 17 and to share their feelings about the mood the author wants the readers to feel by the colors, faces and other clues in the picture How Many Days to America - mood. Students share and identify their source of evidence in the picture. I ask them how it affects them as a reader? Students share on this video.


I pass out their take away assignment worksheet How Many Days to America - day 2and we read and review the questions and my expectations for their responses. Students take these back to their seats to work on independently.