In this section I want students to regain their focus on the poem "Casey at the Bat" so that we can finally answer the question that we began with - Are the Mudville Nine a real baseball team?
I share a short Baseball a National Holiday Article with them. Then I ask them why editors put articles about baseball in their newspapers? I take answers and I am looking for someone to say that they do this to attract sports/ baseball players to read their newspaper and to interest those who like sports.
I share that our objective today is to review an article on the author of the poem "Casey at the Bat" to determine his background skills, writing style and the success of his poem.
We read the The Story Behind the Poem Casey at the Bat article together to build understanding of the basic outline of events that led up to the publishing of the poem. I have them read the first time along with me, while I model inflection and expression. I don't question on this first read because I want them to share questions they still have after we finish the read.
I ask students what questions they still have. I get some examples such as "Did Gunter ask Hearst to publish his poem?", "What is a recitation?" and "Was his father still alive?" I always get at least one I hadn't considered. I share the responses that are not on the response sheet.
I now give students the The Story Behind Casey at the Bat responses worksheet and share that we are going to practice skimming and scanning skills to identify answers. I read the first question and identify the phrase in the passage. I share that we need to look for context clues to learn the meaning of the phrase. I read "San Francisco Examiner" and share that this is a newspaper. I also read "influential" and share that I know that "influence" means to get someone to believe what you believe - so influential must have a similar meaning. We continue and I share that it sounds like he wanted to use the newspaper to get people to vote for him as senator.
I now have students work in a small group to complete the rest of the first page and we discuss it together when they are all finished. We focus on how to identify evidence in the text and use context clues to identify responses.
I now have students complete the The Story Beyond Casey at the Bat worksheet two together. Question (e) proved to be the most difficult because students had to use clues in the passage such as using a nickname "Phin" and his father's disapproval of his "humorous" writing, along with other clues, to determine that he did not want to be known as the author of the poem. Student sharing and discussions helped to build understanding along with my prompting with questions such as "What do you think his father thought of his writing?" "Why?" "What did he want Ernest to do for a living instead?"
When the early ones finish I have them trade papers and discuss their responses in partnered groups to allow for the time for the others to finish their writing and research.
We gather together and I ask them to share their thoughts and responses. It was really exciting to listen to their evaluations and to hear that they had good understanding of the article and figurative language. Here's two examples of our sharing and the ways I pushed their questioning and responses.
and another clip of some understanding of phrases and reflection of the article:
We closed by sharing with our elbow partners and comparing and debating responses. I asked Why did Ernest write the poem even though his dad disapproved? What was happening at the time that made this poem important? How did this affect how quickly it became famous? What would have happened if it wasn't taken out of the drawer?
I ask these questions because I want them to reflect back on how the authors life and events of the time affected the importance given to the writing.