Carlos and the Cornfield is an entertaining story that teaches the lesson "you reap what you sow". This story is about a Latin family living in a rural area in New Mexico. The story revolves around the moral that hard work pays off. The common core elements of recounting stories from a diverse culture and determining the moral or underlying message is present throughout this lesson.
The procedures for the first and second readings of this selection is presented via the Shared Inquiry Flipchart. The focus of this lesson is converting reactions from the readings into interpretive questions. Therefore, the definition of interpretive questions as having more than one correct answer that is supported directly from text is explained.
My focus for Day 1 of this two part lesson is defining interpretive questions. Basically, interpretive questions are a questions that generate multiple answers. There is not only one correct answer because any answer that is defended logically by citing examples in text can be considered correct. The focus is on the explanation students give for their answers.
After we go through the flip chart, I distribute students copies of this book and two different colors of post its for students to write notes. We discuss examples and non-examples of interpretive questions to clarify and address students' misconceptions prior to writing notes. Students often have difficulty asking questions that are higher order. So, I introduce Bloom's Question Stems that students may use as starting points. The question stems are to promote higher order synthesis and evaluation questions from Bloom's Taxonomy. I will distribute these question stems later in this lesson when students develop their own interpretive questions. Asking higher order questions using the Bloom's question stems leads to complex questions that probe students to delve deeper into the text and lead to more profound levels of comprehension.
I chose to read aloud for the first reading. Second graders need expressive reading modeled to them. Reading aloud to students also levels the playing field in that reading levels do not matter. The purpose of the first reading is to enjoy the story, document reactions by using post it notes, and defining unknown vocabulary words. Students listen actively to the story as I read in order to build comprehension. As I read, I ask students to mark the pages with their reactions using post its as follows:
+ anything important
? anything confusing (including vocabulary words)
! anything they feel strongly about
Students are paired with a peer during their second reading. Pairing students allow interaction and feedback from one another. Critical and creative thinking skills are practiced during think pair share activities because students are given opportunity to share reflect, and refine ideas with a classmate. Different view points are shared and similar perspectives are validated. For this lesson, I chose to pair students based more on personality and resourcefulness rather than ability. I chose partners who work well together and are creative problem solvers. Students are given the Pair-Share Rubric to monitor their collaborative progress.
During the second reading, students are asked to convert their Student Post-It Notes from the first reading into interpretive questions. They brainstorm with their partners to contrive these questions. . I distribute the questions stems that we discussed in the first section of this lesson to give students a concrete starting point to convert their notes to abstract higher order questions. Turning questions from notes is an elaborate process and requires deep thinking. Students work in pairs to generate their questions. The question stems are great tools to initiate this process.
Students share their interpretive questions with the class. We review the questions as I post them on a chart to group the questions that are similar together. The question we choose is: Why does Carlos feel guilty even though his father did not punish him?
Afterwards, I ask students to discuss their contributions during the peer pair sharing activity. Using the rubrics, students self-assess and volunteer to discuss their effectiveness as a partner.