Writing a PCR response that describes relationships

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SWBAT write a strong prose constructed response that describes relationships in a text.

Big Idea

How can I organize & develop my writing?

Cue Set

5 minutes

During the Cue Set we do a quick review of articles that we highlighted yesterday.  Scholars have 1 minute to take the text they highlighted yesterday out and re-read them.  Then they stand up, pair up with anyone in the class and use their articles to explain the relationship between the acts the British passed, American colonists and the British.  When scholars stand up, pair up, they stand up and push their chairs in.  Then they walk around the room to find someone with whom they would like to work.  Finally, they share their answer to the question being posed.  It is a great way to get students up and moving around during a lesson.  

This is meant to be a very quick Cue Set.  The purpose is to review what we learned yesterday and gear up for our lesson today.  

Teaching Strategy

10 minutes

During the Teaching Strategy, I explain that we are going to learn how to write a PCR to describe the relationship between the British acts, the American colonists and the British.  I remind scholars that a PCR is more than just a 2-3 written response.  It is a comprehensive essay that organizes and develops your thoughts and uses evidence from the text to support your thinking. 

I give scholars Sentence Starters to help them remember to develop ALL parts  of their writing.  It also helps them to remember and learn how to write their opening and closing. 

Opening: The new laws issued by Britain influenced the American colonists by ..... 

Paragraph 1: The new laws said......   For example...... 

Paragraph 2: This influenced the American colonists by.....  For example ...... 

Paragraph 3: The response of the American colonists made the British..... For example.....  

Closing:  As you can see, the new laws issued by Britain influenced the American colonists by....

I either print this out for all scholars and they glue it in their notebooks or I have scholars copy the sentence starters in their notebooks.  Printing & gluing tends to be more effective so that it is legible and it saves tons of time! 


Guided Practice

30 minutes

During the Guided Practice today, scholars again 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: 

Describe the relationship between British acts, American colonists and the British. 

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.  Check out this Smart Board slide to see what instructions students were given. 

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).  

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

Scholars have 20 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.  

Here are scholars engaged in their PCR writing


Independent Practice

45 minutes

During this time scholars rotate through 3 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, 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 answer inference questions using books that are on each group's highest instructional level.  My focus is this objective because it is a pre-requisite objective to RI 3 (the focus standard of this week).  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).  We practice recording our thinking on dry erase boards to use a different mode of recording and to keep things a little fresh. My ELL co-teacher pulls small groups that focus on RI3 - relationships between ideas, concepts and individuals within a text since this is the focus standard of the week.   

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.  They are always expected to use quotes to support their answer.  

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.