I chose Anne Frank as a character study because I wanted students to evaluate problem solution text and gain understanding of how people of character do not give up easily. I also wanted them to continue to connect with the hardships people from other areas have and are facing because of discrimination against their race, color or beliefs. I gave them a choice of a few biographies and they chose this one to read.
I introduce two books Anne Frank Diary of a Young Girl, and Anne Frank Beyond The Diary and share that we will be reading sections to learn more about her life. I tell them that the books are an autobiography and a biography of her life, but one that was written with her own words from a journal she kept with her during her adventures and the other from both her journal and interviews with people who lived through those times. I share an Introduction to The Diary of Anne Frank. I don't want to share too much because I want them to form their own conclusions as they read. I share that we will be focusing on (RI 5.2 and 5.3) explaining explaining Ann's relationship with "kitty" and with her real friends and how these influenced her thoughts and actions using details from the text.
Before I read the introduction chapter of the story I share with students that they need to think about how Anne maintained hope when everything seemed so awful around her. I'm focusing on RI 5.3 at this section and asking students leading questions to get them to explain the relationships or interactions between Anne and the others in the text. I also want them to make connections between the realistic events occurring and Anne's interpretation of them.
After reading and pausing to model thinking and questioning aloud strategies, I ask them to think about how did Anne maintained hope? I have the first student tie in her relationship with "kitty" and I ask what that was? I prompt them further to make the connection between friends (real or imaginary) and the comfort they bring to our lives. I continue to push for deeper thinking and ask them the relationship of others in the text to Anne and the roles they play in her hopefulness.
Here's a video of my students discussions of their reading:
I want them to come away from the conversation with an evaluative perspective of the writing and learning how to question text and read for meaning.
In this section I give them a chapter of the book to read (you could also give them some pages from this AFC-Readers-Companion-Diary-of-AnneFrank if you want to shorten their lessons) and the following questions to respond to:
If you could go back in time what is something you would ask Ann? Why?
I ask this to see if they are thinking about their reading and asking questions as they comprehend the text. To determine this their answers should be significant to and related to the text subject matter they just read or have read in the previous lesson. It will show me if they are able to comprehend on an individual basis because the prior part of the lesson was all group discussion. I will meet with them again tomorrow to determine and discuss their responses and the support identified in the text.