During the Cue Set today, I want my students to think about challenges that characters face. I show scholars a video clip from Iron Man II. As they watch the clip, they think about the following questions:
1. What is the challenge that Iron Man faces in this clip?
2. How does he respond to that challenge?
3. What does this response reveal about his character?
Here are some scholars watching the movie.
The reason i begin with a video clip is two fold. First, scholars must practice watching multi-media sources and citing evidence from those sources to be prepared for our new PARCC assessments. Secondly, practicing the skill of analyzing a character's response to a challenge with a video is much easier than within complex text. Therefore, scholars can build confidence and can practice the skill without having to worry too much about challenging text.
We watch the clip the first time for enjoyment and just to get the general gist of what the clip is about. The second time we watch, I actually pause to discuss the focus questions. Finally, we watch a third time to confirm our thinking.
During the teaching strategy, I explain that we will do the EXACT same thing that we just did when we watched Iron Man II, but this time we are going to read Island of the Blue Dolphins. We do a cloze reading of chapter 8. As I pause, scholars fill-in-the-blank as they read along. This helps to ensure that they are reading along with me. Then, I pause to record how the character responds to challenges and what that reveals about her character on my graphic organizer.
I think aloud as I record so that scholars have a model of strong thinking. Finally, scholars copy my notes on the graphic organizer so that they have an example of strong thinking that they can reference as needed. Here is an example of student work during teaching strategy.
Scholars have 15 minutes to work with their partner to read chapters 9 &10. Then, they must complete the graphic organizer that describes the challenge that Karana faces, how she responds and what that reveals about her character. Scholars will not be able to complete this assignment in the 15 minutes. They will have the opportunity to finish this assignment during our independent rotations. Here is a video of scholars hard at work during the Guided Practice.
Guided partnerships are heterogeneous groupings. I pair lower scholars with medium low scholars and high scholars with medium high scholars. The reason for this is to ensure that no one becomes frustrated with their partner, and also so that my ELL co-teacher and I can strategically support certain groups.
Scholars love partner reading time because it helps them to hear a model of fluent reading other than the teacher. Also, they get to move around the room and find a comfy place to read. This increases oxygen to their brains and it gives them a change of scenery. Scholars work together to continue to record thinking on their triple venn diagrams. This gives them another set of ideas before they move forward and are independent with this task.
During this time scholars rotate through 2 stations. I start the time by reviewing our checklist items for the week and explicitly state what should be completed by the end of the day. This holds scholars accountable to their work thereby making them more productive. Then, the ELL teacher and I share the materials that our groups will need to be successful (i.e. a pencil and your book baggies). Then, I give scholars 20 seconds to get to the place in the room where they will be for the first rotation. The first scholars who are there with all materials they need receive additions on their paychecks or positive PAWS.
During the rotations for this lesson, my small group objective today is to summarize the text using books that are on each group's highest instructional level. Scholars read a portion of the same book (different for each group depending on reading level, but the same text is read in each group). Then, we discuss how to summarize fiction. We practice recording our thinking on dry erase boards to use a different mode of recording and to keep things a little fresh. We are taking a quiz on this skill this week, so I want to make sure that they have an extra day to practice summarizing in small groups.
The pink group will continue student-led text talk groups. Their focus question will depend upon the text they selected and the part that they read. My goal is to keep the focus questions as aligned with what we are doing whole-group as possible, but sometimes this doesn't work out, depending on the text.
After the first rotation, I do a rhythmic clap to get everyone's attention. Scholars place hands on head and eyes on me so I know they are listening. Then they point to where they go next. I give them 20 seconds to get there. Again, scholars who are at the next station in under 20 seconds with everything they need receive a positive PAW or a paycheck addition. We practice rotations at the beginning of the year so scholars know if they are back at my table, they walk on the right side of the room, if they are with the ELL teacher, they walk on the left side of the room and if they are at their desks, they walk in the middle of the room. This way we avoid any collisions.
At the end of our rotation time I give scholars 20 seconds to get back to their desks and take out materials needed for the closing part of our lesson. Timing transitions helps to make us more productive and communicates the importance of our learning time.