Summary and Context
Today we continue with the second read of the last part of The Tiny Seed, and we continue to look at the structure of the story. With the CCSS, comes changes. One of the welcomed changes allows us, teachers, to determine the length of time we spend on a particular story given the needs of our students. This is good news.
The decoding part of this story is very easy for my students. That is not what is taking time to analyze. What are taking time are the deep, content-building vocabulary development opportunities that are arising in the text, the text-dependent questions about the structure of the text and author's purpose that we are engaging in asking and answering, and our resulting analysis of the story based on text evidence. The text dependent questions for this second read are about having a discussion with the author about the structure of the story. What I am asking my students to do is to be thoughtful with their responses. This thinking takes time, this type of learning takes practice.
Once we are done with the final part of our second read, I will meet with my students on the rug for Socratic Seminar to deepen our analysis. Then, my students will write in their response journals, while a few will share their writing with the whole class.
I start with the students on the rug and share the student friendly objective: "I can ask and answer questions to analyze the structure of the story." We have a short discussion about what the word analyze means.
I take the time to review what has happened so far in the story. I give my students think time, before asking them to turn to their partner for a think-pair-share. Then, a few will share out loud. Reviewing helps my students remember.
This is the bulk of the lesson today: spending 30 minutes tackling the text dependent questions with evidence from the text. I remind my students that after we answer each question I will be asking them: "Where in the text do you find support for your answer?"
One way they can answer is by stating, "The text says..."
I will also keep asking, "how has the author shown something has changed?" This asks them to go back into the story.
I would suggest that you modify the amount of questions you use in your classroom depending on the needs of your students. I don't ask all the questions that I come up with ahead of time because I write more than I need in order to be prepared. I decide which ones to use as we go through the text.
We also use this time to continue to look at the context clues to help us figure out the meaning of some words.
For today's Socratic Seminar, I am asking them: "Given what we read, what have learned so far in the story about the seed and about how the author wrote the story?" This student notices the little plant and offers evidence from the story.
Another student offers his thoughts on what Eric Carle is teaching us.
Before the discussion can happen, though, I make sure to review the reason for Socratic Seminar and the rules for participation. Even though it can feel monotonous, it is very important to keep on doing it. And I also refer to the Handing-Off Chart with the linguistic stems to remind those students who may need to refer to it as we engage in dialogue.
I have attached a document that goes in depth of how I implement Socratic Seminars in my classroom in case you'd like to read further.
In writing about we are reading and discussing, I allow my students to refine their thinking and their writing abilities. Writing every day helps to ease the frustrations that arise in my students that make them think writing is too hard or that they do not have anything to write about. When we give students topics to write that have read and discussed we also help deepen their learning.
As they write, I walk around and offer support. Some students need encouragement to write the date, to start with the first sentence, and to stay on task. Some need reminders to refer back to the text, and, by asking them to refer back to the story, it helps them to notice that there are many details to choose from and in choosing they are being intentional in proving their point.
While this piece won't be revised, I will be giving them oral feedback whether they are on track or not. I may ask them to add more details. In giving feedback, I have found that it is important to give immediate and specific details about their writing. General words like great, fantastic, and excellent don't mean much without something tangible to back it up.
For example, I may say, "I really like how you included the word 'burst' in your writing." They walk away with a greater sense of accomplishment and I walk away with the knowledge of how they are incorporating what they are learning.
Here are some of their writing samples:
Our students need to be proficient at knowing how to address different audiences. Letting my students share out loud with the whole class is one way I achieve this. And, it needs to be said, they do not get tired of sharing or listening to their classmates! I make this an interactive activity by asking the audience to give feedback to the speaker. The way we give feedback is with the two stars and a wish protocol:
(It's important to keep it to one wish, because there will be student who want to give more than one wish. At the end of the sharing, the speaker needs to walk away feeling good about their work, not walk away feeling their work is deficient or lacking.)
Here is the speaker for today: What has happened in the story?