Today is the beginning of a new unit which will end in my students creating anti- bullying public service announcements. In order to begin the discussion of bullying and tolerance, we are going to read the book Mr. Lincoln's Way by Patricia Polacco.
When the students enter class today, they see a sign in on the Smartboard. The sign in asks students to make a decision about how people work together at our school. As they come in the room, the students complete the sign in and then sit down to begin class.
After the sign in is complete, I poll a few students for examples on either side of the continuum. I also poll students in the middle. I want to get an idea of where they see the problems so when it comes time to produce the commercials, I understand where they're coming from and am able to be more helpful.
Once we have the conversation about the sign in, it is time to read the book. I read the book to the students so they can immerse themselves in the full experience and not be bogged down by their own reading, but they each have a copy to follow along with as well.
While we read the book, I stop periodically to discuss important parts of the story or to answer questions the students have. Once we finish the story, I hand out the text dependent questions. By now, my students are used to completing such questions, but they don't like them any better!!
I remind them of the expectations- TTQA, answer from their head, text evidence from the story. After answering remaining questions- Do we have to do them all? (Yes) Can we work together? (No), it is time to get down to business.
As usual, I pull a small group to work with on the first question. I just want to get them started and let them go to see what they can do.
I give the students time to work independently and then I let the students who have at least two questions answered with a partner to help strengthen their answers.
After the students finish evaluating each other, I have them circle the two questions they want me to grade. I ask the students to tell me what they saw in their groups. One group said, "Everyone in our group forgot the text evidence." Someone else said, "Two people in our group forgot the answer from their head." Finally, one person (my favorite response!) said, "The answers in our group were better than before."
I asked the students if they thought answering text dependent questions were getting easier and they all responded, "Yes!" But when I asked them if they liked them now, they all yelled, "No!!"
You can't have it all!!!