We open class today with recognition of International Polar Bear Day, (more information here) and despite it being a Thursday, hold a "Friday Favorite" vote. Today's vote is students driven, as another class asked if we could, and then brainstormed a list of bears for "Favorite Bear." The options are: Care, Chicago, Grizzley, Koala, Panda, Polar, Pooh, and Bear Grylls. Students will be polled
This does provide the opportunity to make loose connections to the topics we have studied, as I identify the Chicago Bears as a part of our local color, being a suburb and Bear Grylls, of "Man Vs. Wild" fame. Although "fun," I model "text-to-world" connections between the literature and life at any opportunity, to show students how to draw these connections as they read and write about literature.
As with the Daily Holidays, Friday Favorite votes serve to build a sense of community and trust within the classroom, encouraging students to share their thoughts and participate in a wide range of discussions, build on others' ideas, express their own ideas clearly (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1). In addition, the practice developing and supply evidence for their claims--even in an informal situation--should translate to students' writing as we develop more critical and evaluative pieces this semester (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1b).
In order to address some words that students struggled with on their small-group assignments from "The Story of An Hour" (see "The Small Group of an Hour: Review and Discussion"). The three words that stood out to me are: abandonment, aquiver, and crying. This video explains how I set up our vocab review in class, leading the students through determining the meaning of the word the are most familiar with, the meaning of the words as they are used in the text, and analyzing the impact of specific each of these word choices on meaning and tone (RL 9-10.4). We spend about five minutes on each word, locating it in the text, examining its context and usage, and discussing alternatives.
In order to begin preparing them for the exam on Realism, Regionalism, and Naturalism next week, students are given a review guide listing the stories and skills with which they are expected to be familiar, as well as a prompt to get them thinking about the type of questions they will see on the unit test.
I instruct the students to use the list of stories and skills to begin studying, and to craft three questions that address the development of the theme over the course of the story, including how the plot details shape the theme (RL 9-10.2), and the development of the characters over the course of the story, and how their development shapes the theme (RL 9-10.3).
By writing their own test questions, students can evaluate both what they already know and what they may still have questions about. By framing their ideas as questions, students practice identifying the basic details of "what," the explanation of "how," and the evaluative level of "why"--demonstrating both knowledge and understanding of the stories in order to craft effective questions.
In our next class, we will be addressing writing questions, particularly Costas' Level Three questions, in more detail. Today is just to provide students with practice, and ensure they look over the review before we meet again.
With two minutes remaining, I ask if there are any further questions, especially about the upcoming unit test, and ask students to study for homework.