Day 2 of the performance task will focus on character development & sequencing the narrative in a logical way. We begin with concrete practice of the skill of character development so that scholars can gain a bit of practice before applying the skill to their narratives.
Scholars look at a Photo of Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. You can use any person or character in which your students are most interested. My scholars happen to be really excited about Katniss right now so I am using their interest to get them hooked in the lesson.
Scholars have 3 minutes to look at the picture and write as many sentences as possible to describe Katniss Everdeen. I remind them to consider physical & personality traits as well as how the character responds to challenges. Here is one student's list describing Katniss. Then, scholars have 1 minute to rally robin with their friends. Finally, I pull 2 friends from my cup and get 3 volunteers to share their description.
During this section, I model how to use 2 graphic organizers to help me develop my characters and my event sequence. One graphic organizer is a Character Sketch and the other is an Event Sequence Graphic organizer. I want the scholars to see how strong writers develop characters & event sequences by utilizing graphic organizers. The idea here is that scholars see a good habit and then they know better how to exhibit that habit on their own.
As I complete the graphic organizer, I think out loud. I might say things like, "Hmm, what are the physical characteristics of this character? Personality traits?" I might say something like, "First.....happens, then......happens. How can I make this more exciting?" I use my research from yesterday to help me develop the event sequence.
Thinking out loud helps scholars to hear a model of what strong writers ask themselves. Also, it will help them to know what they need to ask themselves as they write.
Scholars have an opportunity to begin character development at their tables and with their partners. The reason I am giving them this practice is so that scholars can get some ideas from friends. It may help push individuals thinking by using a friend as a sounding board. As adults, when we have a project, we frequently ask for the input of others and by allowing scholars the opportunity to pick one anothers' brains, it enables them to practice key skills involving collaboration. This will help them tremendously in school and in life! Here are scholars sharing during the brainstorm.
Scholars have 20 minutes to work in partnerships to begin their character & sequence development.
During this time, scholars finish brainstorming and complete the draft of their narrative. This is the part of the performance task that is INDEPENDENT. It is important for scholars to work independently now since I am using this as a way to gauge learning for the entire unit. Click here to see Scholars in action!
As scholars are working independently, I provide accommodations for my ELL scholars. Also, I give my below-level readers their IRI (reading assessment -- here is an IRI overview) for the middle of the year.
I circulate at the beginning of the independent time and in between IRI's to give positive PAWS and additions on paychecks for scholars who are working hard & remaining independent. This provides an incentive for scholars to remain focused even though I am working 1-1 with other scholars.