We start the class period with a quick chat about annotation. I like to review the process and terminology prior to every formal annotation I ask the students to complete in class. I do this because I feel it is essential to state the expectations explicitly to ensure a greater level of student success.
We talk about the types of notes we take when reading and the things that we should be looking for. I have a UNDERSTANDING HOW TO ANNOTATE handout I have provided the students with in the past, so they always have that available to them when working independently. Since we are building collective understanding, I ask the students to refrain from looking at the document and just share what they recall on their own.
I then let the students work independently, reading and annotating the The Story of An Hour text. I always recommend that notes are written in pencil, in case students find new or conflicting information later, or in case they simply made an error or change their mind. As the students are working, I take a few minutes to sit down at each table and observe. This allows me to see how well they are processing the information and completing the task. It builds increased accountability, and builds in support opportunities as needed.
When the timer goes off after 30 minutes of independent work time, I ask the students to discuss their annotations with their table group members. I ask them to begin by discussing the elements of the story, i.e. conflict, character, climax, etc. After they have reached some consensus on those concepts, I ask them to take turns sharing notes and connections they made, as well as any questions they asked of the text. As this happens, I walk throughout the room, interjecting my thoughts only when I feel a group is genuinely off track or off task.
To wrap things up for the day, I ask the students to write down two things:
1- Something they learned today, either in their independent reading or in their table discussions
2- A question they still have about the story, or something they are still unsure of
I review the questions and write down a short list of the genuine questions that I feel need to be addressed before moving on to the next task. Some of the students don't have questions, or are just wanting to move on for the day, so they write silly things down, or things that aren't entirely necessary. This portion of students is typically very small, but still exists. This gives the students who don't like to ask questions, or to have the focus of their peers, or that didn't like the feedback provided by their peers and didn't want to hurt their feelings by going above them, to get the information they need in order to achieve success.