Island of the Blue Dolphins: Character's Response to Challenge & Prose Extended Response

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SWBAT analyze and write about how a character responds to challenges.

Big Idea

How do I organize my complex thinking in a way that makes it easy for others to understand?

Cue Set

5 minutes

Scholars quickly do a whip around (where each scholar at each table shares) to respond to the following question: What are the challenges that Karana faced in chapters 8-10?  How does she respond to these challenges?  Here is a picture of scholars doing whip around.  

The idea is that the Cue Set today is very short since we are going to be doing some PCR (prose extended response) writing today.  I just want to make sure that scholars quickly and efficiently review what we learned yesterday so that they are ready for the lesson today.  

Teaching Strategy

15 minutes

During the teaching strategy, I take some time to explain how I might go about organizing a PCR to the following question: 

*In chapters 8-10, how does Karana respond to challenges?  What does that reveal about her character? 

I explain that in order to successfully answer this question, one must consider three things - (1.) What are the challenges that Karana faces?  (2.)How does Karana respond to those challenges and (3.) What does her response reveal about who she is as a person? 

Then, I explain that as a writer one might organize their thinking in one of two ways.  First, one might create a separate paragraph for each challenge, explain how she responds to each of those challenges and what that reveals about her character.  Secondly, one might create a paragraph that describes all of her challenges, a paragraph that describes all of her responses and a paragraph that describes what those responses reveal about her character.  

I explain that the first way makes a bit more sense because the reader will be able to better follow the writer's thinking if all facts in each paragraph are aligned to one single challenge.  

The reason I spend this time explaining my thinking is so that scholars can really see how a strong writer thinks about the way in which they will organize their writing BEFORE they begin.  This modeling is incredibly helpful for developing writers.  

Finally, I provide scholars with the sentence starters below that they can use (if needed) to help them organize their own PCR's.  Click here for a printable version: Sentence Starters Character's response to challenge.  

Opening: Karana faces many challenges in chapters 8-10.  She responds to each challenge and that reveals something about her character.  

 Paragraph 1: The first challenge Karana faces is.....   She responds to this challenge by.....  This reveals that Karana is the type of person who...... 

 Paragraph 2: The second challenge Karana faces is.....   She responds to this challenge by.....  This reveals that Karana is the type of person who...... 

Closing: As you can see, Karana faced many challenges.  She responded to each and that taught us something about who she is as a person.  

Here is the First page of teaching strategy smart board and the Second page of teaching strategy smart board.  Here is one Scholar taking notes.  

 In a scholars own words, here is why they think sentence starters are helpful: 

Guided Practice

30 minutes

During the guided practice today, scholars work in post-it note groups to create strong PCR responses.  I use post-it note groups to get scholars to interact with new and different friends.  Also, it gives them a chance to get up and move around a bit.  Scholars work together to create 1 PCR response to the following question: 

In chapters 8-10, how does Karana respond to the challenges she faces? What do these responses reveal about her character?  

Scholars are responsible for handing in their individual PCR too so even if they are not writing on the chart paper, they still are responsible for their own work.  Here is one Scholar using sentence starters

As scholars work in small groups, I pull a cohort of ELL scholars and other scholars who need more support with their individual responses (this group is determined from the closure yesterday).  Here is one Group completing the PCR.  Here's a video of a sample of me working with that group: 

I remind scholars to use the sentence starters if they get stuck.  

Scholars have 25 minutes to create their PCRs in their groups.  Then, at the end of that time, scholars have a gallery walk.  They walk around the room and leave roses (positives) and thorns (areas to improve) for each group.  I remind them that as they walk around the room they READ, THINK, then WRITE.  I model how to leave a strong feedback.  I remind them that saying things like, "nice work!" is not particularly strong feedback.  It must be specific and related to what makes a PCR strong.  

Independent Practice

40 minutes

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 explain how characters respond to challenges 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 determine character's response to challenges.  We practice recording our thinking on dry erase boards to use a different mode of recording and to keep things a little fresh.   

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.