Context and Overview
Today, we are reading the entire chapter of Summer Days. Yesterday, my focus was on two paragraphs that detailed the summer season and nature is a big theme in this story. So today, we are reading to discuss how the author describes Templeton, the rat. Templeton is a fascinating character and the students need to spend time analyzing his character since he plays such a pivotal part in this story.
I am using the powerpoint to read parts of the story again. In the reading, I will be asking some text dependent questions about Templeton. Students will be creating a bubble map about him and then using it to write how the author describes him. The text dependent questions I ask can be answered with what the text explicitly states.
Finally, students will get an opportunity to share.
On the rug
After sharing the objective, I will have the students quickly review what they read yesterday in the chapter, "Summer Days."
They will turn to their partner on the carpet, share with each other, and then a few will share out loud. Classroom routines are essential in helping the students feel grounded about what happens in the class. It helps them to feel secure. I use the think-pair-share technique because it gives my students much practice with oral language and vocabulary development. It gives them the opportunity to see themselves as teachers. It gives them the chance to practice listening skills.
In reading the chapter, I will use the Summer Days powerpoint when we come to the paragraphs we looked at closely yesterday to review. I believe reviewing is a powerful way of helping students see the connection between what we are doing one day to the next. It aids their comprehension.
The text dependent questions I am asking are to help the students see the changing of the season and to analyze Templeton's character.
Here are the questions:
In reading the chapter, questions often arise from my students. One student is interested in knowing, What are Potato Bugs?
From pages 45-47, I am asking questions about Templeton.
These are enough questions to get the students ready to create a bubble map about Templeton.
Before the students get started on describing Templeton, I will take a few minutes and draw a rat with them. So instead of using a brain break, I am involving with a quick drawing activity. It works as a transition time too.
Students will spend the next minutes rereading parts of this chapter to describe Templeton. They can also go back to previous chapters to add information. They will use this information in their writing later. As they work, I will give support to those who need where they can find additional information on Templeton, support with spelling words, and questions they may have.
Here are some samples of their work:
I give my students many opportunities to build language in different ways. During Socratic Seminar, my students are building listening and speaking skills as well as learning how to enter a conversation. They are learning how to value evidence and how to value their contributions.
Today, we are discussing:
1. Who is Templeton?
2. How does the author describe Templeton?
Here is part of our discussion:
To discuss these questions I have taught my students a procedure of Handing-Off. I start the discussion by posing the question but also by calling on one of the students who is raising their hand. I say, "I hand off to _____." This gets us going. We continue until I feel we have exhausted the question or the time runs out.
The author uses quite a few sophisticated words in describing Templeton, so I am taking another opportunity to define those words during this time.
For example: morals, conscience, scruples, considerations, decency, compunctions. The word "no" preceding all these words helps the students know that the author means to put Templeton in a negative light.
One of the shifts with the CCSS is that students need to know how to use text evidence to explain their reasoning. Therefore, I am asking my students to write about how the author describes Templeton. Describing is a skill my students need much practice. This is one way I do it.
I intentionally ask how the author is describing Templeton, rather than just, "how is Templeton being described?" This allows me to bring the author to the forefront and help my students have a conversation with the author. I am helping them have a higher perspective of the story.
So as students write, I provide support by helping them spell words. My students have a word book with word lists and the alphabet with words that start with each letter and spaces where I can write words they have questions about. If they have a question about a word, firs they have to read whether the word is there or not before they come to me and have me write it for them.
Some students need encouragement, others just need to feel my presence as I walk around to be on task.
I am looking for them to use the vocabulary we are learning, and I am looking to see that they are using time order words too.
To help them with their writing, I write the question on the board: How does the author describe Templeton? Here are samples of their writing:
Now it is time for a few of my students to share what they have learned about how the author describes Templeton.
This is another opportunity for my students to practice their oral language. It gives them the opportunity to be heard, to be seen.
The students in the audience are working on their listening skills and validating the contributions of their peers.
The students who share are students who have met the writing task. I feel it is important to routinely provide students with models of writing that have met the task. It helps them to know what is being valued and what is expected. Here are the students:
After the speakers share, they receive feedback. This is the system I use:
•Two Stars: Two different students share what they specifically like about the content of the writing.
•A Wish: Another student shares specifically how they think the writing can be improved.