This is our first day in our close read unit. The idea of a close read is to let students read independently. In our previous unit on"The Whipping Boy" by Sid Fleischman, we taught comprehension skills explicitly and practiced those skills. During close reads, students get to practice those skills independently. Our goal is to create independent readers and thinkers. During our close reads, we limit "front loading" students with information. We limit activating background knowledge for the students (It becomes their job to make connections with their own background knowledge.) We limit pre-teaching vocabulary words. (We want students to use context clues to find the meanings of unfamiliar words.) We teach our students these comprehension skills and vocabulary skills. Now close reads are where they get to use those skills independently.
Because of this, our introduction will be very brief. I will let the kids know that the topic is one they will take great interest in. They will want to read closely, paying particular attention to the main idea and details in the story. I will then introduce our essential question for the unit:
Is sending people on a one way trip to Mars a good idea?
Before our close read, I will review with the students that I would like them to use their highlighters and pencils the same way we have done for close reads in the past. They should underline with their pencil any sentences they feel are important in the piece, circle any important words, highlight any words they don't understand, and highlight any text they are unsure about. Also, they should jot down any ideas they have as they read.
The article we will be reading is "Reality Series From Lionsgate TV & Roy Bank To Chronicle Mission To Colonize Mars" by Nellie Andreeva. The article is found here.
Andreeva, N. (March 12, 2014). Reality Series From Lionsgate TV & Roy Bank To Chronicle Mission To Colonize Mars. Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
After the students have read through the article, I will have them use their whiteboards and dry erase markers to take notes. Their task will be to identify the main ideas of the article. Once they have identified the main ideas, they need to reference details from the text that support the main ideas.
To conclude our lesson today, I will have the students share their ideas on the main ideas and the details they found to support the main ideas. Working in small groups gives each student a chance for their voice and ideas to be heard (as well as practice their speaking and listening skills.)
Once the students have had a chance to share their thoughts in small group, we will hold a brief class discussion on the article as well as revisit our essential question: Is sending people on a one way trip to Mars a good idea? I know the students will want to share their thoughts and reactions to the article.