Our next book in our Patricia Polacco author study is Thank You, Mr. Falker. The next element of fiction that my students need work on is theme and I think this book combined with the work we did with Mr. Lincoln's Way will work nicely to help students compare the treatment of theme by an author across different works.
In order, though, to get to that step, we must dig into understanding Thank You, Mr. Falker through the use of text dependent questions.
When the students enter the class today, they find a quick write on their desks. To get students thinking, I want them to describe a teacher who's made a difference for them. After the students think and write, we begin to discuss the differences those teachers have made and the qualities that all the teachers have in common.
After the discussion about all the teachers who have made a difference for my students, I introduce them to another teacher who's made a difference for someone. I read the title and immediately the students ask if this book is about Patricia Polacco because it didn't seem as though Mr. Lincoln's Way was. They also thought it was interesting that we were reading two teacher books back to back. One student also wondered if this book would have bullying in it like Mr. Lincoln's Way did.
They seem eager to get started, so instead of my reading the book to them, I let the students choose a partner and read it together. Once they finish reading the story, they are instructed to come pick up their text dependent questions and complete them together.
Once we reach the end of the working session, it is time to gather back together and share. As important as going over the answers to the questions is discussing the mistakes that partners saw while working together. I want to know what they coached each other through. So, that's where we start.
I ask the students what problems they saw with their partners. Some said that their partners were having a hard time getting the correct answer but most said that their partners are still leaving out their own answer. They are skipping over that part and only writing the text evidence. Interesting observations from students because that's what I'm seeing as well.
After the coaching conversation, we move on to discussing the text dependent questions. I go through these piece by piece one by one. I start with the TTQA for the first answer and then have students check their own. I move on to discuss the correct answer the question and have students check theirs and finally we move on to the text evidence. Each step of the way, I allow the students to correct the paper they have. I tell them that when they come in tomorrow, the first task will be to answer a text dependent question about Thank You, Mr. Falker for me to grade.