Today we practiced a fixing two frequently confused words. One was the difference between trail and trial, which was pretty straightforward. The other was then and than. Then is used for time. First, second, then. Than is used to compare or when you're saying how many. Therefore, in the first sentence, more than 20 mushers is correct.
Another thing that stumped students was the use of the parentheses in the first sentence. The parentheses are used in the same way commas are used for an appositive. It gives extra information. Appositives often define the noun that comes before. That's what's happening in the first sentence. The subject of the sentence is mushers, and the definition of a musher is a dog sled driver. The definition is not dog sled drivers and 100 dogs, which is what many students wanted to do. Instead, the only words that define musher, the only words that should be in the parentheses, are dog sled drivers.
Answering complex text-dependent questions is a hard skill for students. They are often resistant to completing this assignment, especially at the end of the year when it seems that every other teacher is having students watch a movie or do something fun. Not that every teacher is doing that, it just feels like it from the ten thousand times a day that students ask, "When are we going to watch a movie?" Not are we going to, but when are we. But we? We are not like other classes. We are still analyzing plot events, characters, and theme in order to make meaning.
Today students are answering these text dependent questions in order to prepare for a discussion tomorrow. Tomorrow we're considering Katniss and relationships--her relationship with Gale, Peeta, and her mother and why she has such a hard time forming and developing relationships.
Therefore, the questions today are about those concepts as well as important plot points. Students are working with their clock appointments again, and I gave them the majority of class to work on answering the questions for Chapters 19-21.
You can see samples of students responses to the questions in the resource section. Here's a sample of one student's response to the questions for chapter 19, for example. There are samples for Chapters 19 through 24.
One thing that I stressed to students was that we weren't just answering questions. We were also supporting our answer by citing evidence. In addition, we were preparing for a literary discussion. These specific questions would help us have a literary discussion where we discussed Katniss' relationships and why she has trouble forming relationships.