In the previous lessons we have been talking about details and the message the author is trying to tell us in stories. So in today’s lesson we will continue to look at what is going on in the story we are reading. We have been looking at the story a Fine, Fine, School by Sharon Creech. Today we will look deeper into the plot in order to use this information to determine what the message is. We begin by reviewing what we have discovered so far in the story. We briefly discuss our story looking at the Determining The Central Idea/Message graphic organizer from the previous lesson. Then we move into working as a group to prompt a discussion about the central message in the story.
The purpose of this unit is to get students to think about what they are reading and not just read. Students eventually will need to know how to analyze a text so these activities are geared to get students accustom to doing this naturally as they read. Students are divided into small groups and are given a lifted version of the text. I lifted a section from the original story on a handout for students to read and analyze. Each group is given a set of prompt cards to guide their reading. Students also have an original copy of the story in front of them from the Basil in order to look at the pictures which can also help them analyze the text. These questions are centered on the characters and the plot and have been created to spark students’ thoughts about the central idea. Students are asked to underline, make notes, and answer the questions using details from the story. I instruct students to look for information in the story and mark that information if it helps them construct an answer for the prompt. After each group has finished, they are asked to have a discussion about each prompt and their thoughts about the prompts.
After students have finished their group discussions, we come back together as a whole group and share some of the students’ thoughts. As we discuss, I try to close out the lesson by asking students the question, what is the message here and what evidence did you discover that supports this? Now, I have students go back and look at their graphic organizer from the previous lesson to see if they want to change their evidence and or what they think the central idea/message is.