What Do Our Memories Hold? Day 1 of 3

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SWBAT to ask and answer questions to understand key details in an informational text.

Big Idea

Everyone has a story and we tell them in different ways. In today's story, the author stirs up her childhood memories to share hers. What fond memories do you have of your childhood?


5 minutes

Context and Overview:

Today, my students are reading an autobiography called, Stirring Up Memories, by Pam Ryan Munoz. It is part of our anthology. The reading will happen with text dependent questions. I like to design my text dependent questions for the first reading around questions that ask explicitly what the text is saying. A shift with the CCSS is for students to value evidence. With this read and these type of questions, my students are receiving much needed practice. As they read, they will be asked to go back into the text and dig for the answer.

Next, students I will gather students on the rug for Socratic Seminar for discussion.

This discussion will lead into a literature response in writing.

Once done with the writing, they will have the opportunity to share with their peers.

Opening Activity:

On the rug, I ask the students to read the objective chorally, "I can ask and answer questions to understand key details about a text."

Then, I will ask students, "What is an autobiography?"

I will give students some think time before I ask them to turn to their rug partner and pair-share. In working with English Language Learners, it is vital to give them many speaking and listening opportunities. Afterwards, a few will share out loud.

Reading the Selection With Text Dependent Questions

25 minutes

The story can be read in three different sittings because it can easily be divided into three parts. Today, they will read pages 436 to 441 which is all about the "Growing Up," stage of the author. I am attaching a copy of the story without the photos that I found on the internet: Stirring Up Memories

My students are learning how to tackle text dependent questions. So they need much practice. Most of the questions start with the words: what, when, who, where, and few how and why:  I will be rereading parts of the story later on and will ask more how and why questions.

I have attached a copy of the text dependent questions. While I developed more questions than I needed, I made sure to ask three question per page. I am offering the rest of them because the amount of questions we ask depends on what we want our students to walk away understanding. In this case, I want the students to understand the experience of growing up for the author.

In reading the text, I am reading parts of the page and, then, I am having them read some parts silently, while some pages we are reading chorally. After each reading, then I ask the questions. Reading the text before I read it with them helps me to make decisions about how to read the text. I keep in mind the needs of my students: their reading abilities, their reading stamina and the goal l have for the lesson.

Socratic Seminar

10 minutes

One of the ways I try to incorporate student-centered instruction that the CCSS demand is by allowing students to engage with speaking and listening tasks on a daily basis.

During this Socratic Seminar, we discuss ideas about what is happening in the text. In order for students to participate in discussion, I teach my students a procedure called Handing-Off. This chart is posted in my classroom. I begin the discussion by throwing out a question. This question is an open-ended question that can be answered in different ways, but with evidence from the story.

For example, in today's lesson, I start by asking the following question:

  • How was life for the author growing up?

The question gets at the heart of the section and invites various students to participate.

To prepare for Socratic Seminar, I make sure students bring their books to the rug. This enables them to use evidence to back up their ideas about the text. I also review what it means to fully participate. I ask them to keep in mind their body language because it shows whether someone is listening or not.

I have trained my students how to participate in Socratic Seminar I review the rules every session.

The following document details how I implement Socratic Seminar in my classroom.

Independent Writing

15 minutes

Now that students have read and discussed the first part of this autobiography, they are reflecting in writing. The question they are answering is, how was life for this author growing up? By asking the same question, I am reinforcing the learning. Writing is the hardest skill to do sometimes for some. In having them write about they heard, read, and discussed, I am helping to learn the material deeper. For example, this piece tells us What the Pictures Show.

As they write, my responsibility is for me to walk around, give encouragement to those who need it, give spelling support, give writing support to whoever needs it. 

I am expecting them to use evidence from the story as they respond.

Sharing Writing

7 minutes

Now that students have read, discussed, and written about the author's childhood, it is time for some of them to share their writing. Students need to be able to handle different audiences, so providing them with this practice is priceless. Students are reminded to speak loudly and clearly. Here are some examples:

When the speakers are done, a couple of students will give them specific feedback about what they liked in their writing.

The simple but appropriate system I use at this grade level is:

  • Two stars: Two students state what they specifically liked.
  • A Wish: Another students states how the writing can improve.

In this way, I am helping my students be accountable too.