During the last class session, there were many students that did not complete the reading of chapter one (It is one of the longer chapters) of Anthem by Ayn Rand, so I am allowing them some time to read/re-read (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.10) portions of the text to aid in our discussion of the main characters and initial conflicts in the story.
Today, I will be introducing my students to a great tool that we will be using to track their reading of Anthem and to track their progress on many of the reading literature standards. Curriculet is a tool that allows students to read a text online with layered, Common Core aligned questions and quizzes that pop up on the pages as students read. I am choosing to use this tool with this text because I want to track my students' at-home reading more closely than I have done before. Students have been a bit lax with reading at home, and I want to do something to motivate them to read more. I'm hoping this is it.
Teachers have the flexibility to create their own questions, but for this one, I am using the Curriculet as-is to get a sense of what will work with my students.
Because I want to set us up for success on Curriculet, I am planning to allow students time in class to sign up using their smart phones to read the text in class (if they choose to). Our school network does not support the site, so I will be bringing my iPad for students who don't have smart phones to sign up. In groups of four, I will have students sign up, and I'll show them what the site will look like when they open it. I'll also show my students how to answer the questions and quizzes.
For the application section of the lesson, I will ask students to work with a partner to add to the middle column of their Anthem charts by adding additional examples of transgressions, sins and curses from chapters 1 and 2 (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1). Here, my students are citing evidence and working to understand the motivations of the characters in the text (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3). They are also making inferences about why these sins are condemned in the third column (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1) I am having students work with partners in order to share details that their peers may have missed and to help one another make sense of the conflicts and character motivations that are advancing the plot so far.
During this whole group discussion, I will ask students questions that I found on pg. 10. Although these are all great questions, I am being really selective about the questions we answer in the whole group discussion because I want to focus primarily on the skills we will be addressing during this unit, such as theme (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2), author's purpose, character motivations and conflicts (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3). Therefore, for this discussion, we will focus on questions 1, 2, 3, and 6.
During the discussion, I am asking students to respond with "We or they" rather than "I". This is part of our immersion into an Anthem-like society. I will also be referring to them by the names they were given in the last lesson.
I am having students participate in this discussion in order to listen to and respond to the diverse perspectives (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1.d) of the author, Equality, the World Council, and their classmates.
For homework, I am asking my students to complete chapters 1 and 2 on Curriculet. Since we will have already read the text in class, it will be simple for them to go back through the chapter and click on the questions to answer. There are also quizzes at the end of the chapter that I want them to complete to check for understanding.
This is a great way to solve the problem of not having enough texts for students to take home. It is also a wonderful way to hold students accountable for at-home reading.
During this silent reading time, my students can either finish up any reading from chapters one or two, OR they can read ahead (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.10). I am giving them lots of reading time because they won't be taking the books home (they'll read online), and I don't want any excuses for not being prepared with the reading. Reading ahead in class will help those that do not prefer to read on a computer and/or those that want to be able to go right into Curriculet and answer the questions/take the quizzes.
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