Context and Overview:
With the implementation of the CCSS comes choice for teachers. One of the choices we can make is about how time we spend reading a text to students. This story is too long to read in one sitting. I am dividing it into three parts. The story also naturally is divided into three sections. Today's section is called "Finding An Idea," which tells how the author began writing.
We will read this section with text dependent questions. Since this is still the first read (of the second section), these text dependent questions are about what the text says explicitly. The questions for today mostly start with who, where, when, what, and with a few how and why.
After reading and answering questions, students will gather on the carpet for Socratic Seminar in which students are learning discussion techniques.
Next, students get to reflect in writing about one question.
Finally, students get to share their writing with their peers.
On the rug, I will share the objective, and students will read it chorally: "I can ask and answer questions to understand key details in a text."
Then, students will be asked what they read about yesterday. A few students will share to give the class some review/context. I believe in reviewing, it helps students retina information and helps them to connect old knowledge with new one.
In reading this text, I am giving my students practice with complex text. This text tells the story of Pam Munoz Ryan. It is a children's book filled with photos and captions. These text features liven up the story. So at this stage of the school year the students are still learning how to juggle reading the text and incorporating the information on photos and their captions. This is one reason I chose this selection because of the rich opportunities with the photos and captions.
As in the lesson from yesterday, I have crafted a list of text dependent questions to help guide students through the key ideas and details in this section, Finding an Idea. I will read some parts aloud and some parts will be read silently by the students. After each stop, I will ask students a few of the questions. Students are expected to answer with complete sentences when they respond to a question. The text dependent sheet shows where I stop and ask questions. A note of caution: Use the amount of questions suitable for your class.
In this part of the story, the questions hone in on how the author finds ideas that inspire her to write. Also, we get to see how she weaves her imagination and her memories to write books.
During this time, the students are given an opportunity to focus on one or two questions for discussion. In this way, they are being giving time to think and respond to their classmates about each is sharing if they choose to.
Today the questions are:
1. How can we tell this is an autobiography?
2. How does she get ideas to write about?
The questions are written on the easel to help out my visual learners.
Once the first question is asked, the teacher hands off to the students who wants to respond. Handing off is basically giving the floor to the next speaker. When someone else wants to talk then they must raise their hand and wait to be called.
In asking two questions, I make sure I stop the discussion and ask the question to the group and the process starts all over again, until the time is up.
When the time is up, I restate what was shared.
I have taught my students the rules of participation. I have two charts posted in my classroom that are visible for my students to use as reference.
Additionally, I am attaching a document that details how I implement Socratic Seminar in my classroom.
One of the shifts with the CCSS is to have students writing throughout the day. In this way, we are helping them become more comfortable with expressing their ideas through writing, and thus, strengthening their writing. Often students see writing as hard and they don't see themselves as writers, but by giving them many opportunities for practice, this will help them to shift their perspectives.
When students write, we are asking them to make sense of their thinking--this is hard work, but, over time, the writing becomes more doable and hopefully less frightening.
The question they are answering today is "How does the author get ideas for her writing?" Here are examples of their writing:
Students need validation in many ways. One of these ways is to give them the opportunity to share their writing. Here are some examples of students presenting their writing to the class:
Students are reminded to speak loudly and clearly. It helps to build their self-esteem, confidence them as writers also increases.
I make sure the audience is an active participant as well. I ask two students to make comments about what specifically they liked about the writing. I also ask one student to give a wish on how the writing can improve.
In this way, students are again practicing their listening and speaking skills, two important skills for life and school.