Common Core Connection
The standard RI1.8 asks students to analyze a text and determine the author's point. After understanding the author's point they need to be able to find the reasons in the text that support the point. Its kind of like they are little detectives. Students must slow down, look closely at the words, and make choices about what supports the point. Its just my opinion, but I think this is really hard, and this standard should be approached with careful thought. The text selection is essential to the support of this lesson. The selected text has to be non-fiction and be making some kind of point. I look for text on current cultural issues to help me teach this lesson. By selecting the right text, the standard should teach itself. Believe me, you know real fast if you have picked the wrong text when you start teaching!
One of the most challenging and complex tasks in this lesson is to teach the students to rely only of the text for evidence. Students seem to want to reflect on personal experience and knowledge, so asking if the information is in the text helps keep them on track throughout the lesson. The students really have to remove themselves from the text and focus only on the information provided.
When planning this lesson I am trying to think about a real world application in addition to to the author's point. Preventing Childhood Obesity and Healthy Eating for Kids from the American Hearth Associations website work great. One way I motivate my class is by making the content relevant.
Throughout the lesson the students work in small groups and they transition about every twenty minutes. I have a video in the resources on my partners and transitions strategies.
The students talk to their partner about how they can find the author's point. I listen to asses their understanding. Then I adjust my instruction to provide more or less explanation.
Then I share the lesson plan and we chant the lesson goal to reiterate the focus of the lesson: I can determine the author's point and reasons the author gives to support the point.