Each day, I begin my ELA class with Reading Time. This is a time for students to access a range of texts. I use this time to conference with students, collect data on class patterns and trends with independent reading and to provide individualized support.
As part of our work in anticipation of author James Preller visiting, students have finished reading either Bystander or Before You Go. To further develop their understanding of the major theme of the book they read, students will be using a news article to focus their thinking as they analyze a major theme and look for evidence.
To begin the lesson, I have students get into their groups. These groups are based on the novels they have read. In their groups. I pass out the directions: Preller Nonfiction Work Directions. Each book has different directions.
The first step is to read an article that corresponds with their book. Since Bystander deals with bullying, those students will be reading 6 Reasons Why Bystanders Choose Not To Intervene (and here is a picture of the begining of the article: Bystander Article Picture). Those that read Before You Go will read The 5 Stages Of Loss and Grief (and here is a picture of the article: Grief Article Picture). This book deals with a main character grieving so this articles works for it. They will read the article in their groups. I think it's important to try and tie in fiction and non-fiction together. It gives students an opportunity to practice their analytical reading skills, but also gives them an opportunity to practice the type of analysis across texts that will be on the PARCC assessment. Pairing non-fiction texts with literature can be difficult, but you want to look for similar themes and topics. Another way to look at pairing texts is by focusing on certain skills that can be applied to the reading of both.
After they read the article they need to go back into their books, either Bystander or Before You Go, to find textual evidence that supports the main ideas in the article. The bystander article lists different reasons for bystanders, so those students need to find examples from the book that support each reason. The grief article discusses the five stages of grief. Those that read Before You Go will find evidence to support if the main character went through each stage of grief. The articles are used a jumping off to focus students thinking. They are making critical decisions about not only theme but also writing style. Students will each create the list of quotes that supports the ideas in the article. Even though they will be working on this in groups, they each need to have their own list. This is important as students will eventually work on turning this into an essay.
This video discusses the process for today's lesson: Article Directions
Here is an example of a group's work for finding the quotes relating to the bystander article: Bystander Quotes and here are examples of the quotes from Before You Go in response to the grief article: Before You Go Article Quotes.
Below are two examples of student work as they used information from Before You Go and a non-fiction to make a claim on the five stages of grief in the book: