To prepare students to read two articles which might be full of unfamiliar terms and topics, I ask them to activate their prior knowledge as they enter the classroom. I display this prompt on the Smart Board:
Good morning students! To prepare for today's topics, please make a list of everything you know about the missing Malaysian Flight 370.
Some students will fill the board with a variety of truths, rumors, facts, opinions and other students won't come to the board at all, and that is okay. This brainstorm allows me to watch and see what the students already know. I listen to the room as students come to the board and hear lots of, "Oh, yeah!" "I heard something about that." "What?" "Jeez, don't you ever watch the news?" "Who watches the news?" While this might be momentarily frustrating for my students, it is super valuable to me. I often began class with this instructional strategy (W.9-10.5).
After three or so minutes, I will ask students some questions about what is on the board. We will add anything that pops into their memory once we start talking.
I begin the mini lesson by reviewing the Informational Text Anchor Charts. This chart was developed by Scot Squires at the Independence School District and is shared with him permission. Students understand that they are displayed to assist them with comprehension of difficult texts. This is a nice way to remind students and to make sure we are all on the same track. Next, I display the CNN World informational text, Malaysia plane 5 questions: Experts need time to analyze newly released data. I chose this article because it is timely and a current event. Any time I can include current events in class, I do.
We watch the short clip and read the text. After reading, I explain that I am going to complete an Inner Voice Connection-editable sheet. I put the sheet under the doc cam and fill it in as students watch. I talk aloud so they can hear my thinking. I make sure to cite text evidence to support my thinking (RI.9-10.1), analyze the order in which the five points of the article are made (RI.9-10.3), and determine the author's purpose in the text and analyze how the author used rhetoric to advance that purpose (RI.9-10.6). I focus on these standards because they are the standards that students are demonstrating evidence of on the inner voice sheet.Because I have read the article ahead of time and prepped my thoughts, I move through it quickly.
Now that I've modeled the process, I want students to demonstrate they have the skills to complete an inner voice sheet (RI.9-10.1, RI.9-10.3, RI.9-10.6).
I distribute a copy of the Inner Voice sheet and the Aljazeera America article, "Math equation could help find missing Malaysian plane.' Students have twenty minutes to read the article and complete the inner voice sheet.
As the class time ends, I collect the inner voice and articles from students who are finished. Here is a student example inner voice sheet. If students aren't finished, I request they complete it tonight and bring it to class tomorrow.
I ask students to turn in their article with their inner voice because it is another piece of formative evidence I can use to gauge their learning. If a student's inner voice sheet is way off, or if he/she struggled with completing it, I will look to the annotated article to see where the student is struggling to understand.