Initial Reading of "Thank You M'am"

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Students will be able to generate a class vocabulary list by reading "Thank You, M'am" and selecting words to research.

Big Idea

Students create their own vocabulary lists to help make meaning.

First Read of "Thank You, M'am"

30 minutes

Today we read Langston Hughes' "Thank You, M'am" for the first time.  For this reading, we focused on two things--basic comprehension of the plot and vocabulary. Students had two tasks for this first reading.  The first was recording words that they didn't understand, whose meanings were unclear, or words that were used multiple times in different ways (and no, I'm not talking about the words the, are, is, did, etc. Yes, I tell students that, because otherwise they'll write them down).

I asked students to record the words they didn't understand on a sheet of paper. This is often when I bring out my basket of scrap paper.  It's a basket of copy paper that I copied wrong, had two many copies of, were copies that I used five million years ago, etc. that I've torn in fourths.  I asked students to write their names on their paper and then, as we read the story, to write down unfamiliar words.

For this first reading, I either read aloud the text myself or used the audio book. As I monitored the room, I checked to make sure that students were following along and recording words.  That's one reason why I like using audio books (if the reader is good). If I'm reading, I'm focusing on the reading, but if someone else is reading, I can focus on students. In fact, here's a lovely video recording of the story, read by me.

I paused every once in awhile to allow students time to reflect on passages and write down words. If you have highlighter tape, you could have students put tape over words which would allow students to focus on actual comprehension instead of writing.  If they write a word down while the text is still being read, they may miss something.

Once we were done reading, I asked students to compare and discuss their lists of words. 

Then I asked students to evaluate their understanding of the words.  If they totally understood a word on their list, they would rate it as a 3.  If they kind of understood, but not all the way, it would receive a rating of a 2. If they didn't understand the word at all, it would receive a 1.  If they understood the word enough to teach it to someone else, it would receive a 4.

Any word that was on their lists that was rated three or lower were submitted to me using PollEverywhere and would become the focus of our vocabulary research.

Setting Up Vocabulary Tabs

7 minutes

We used the last bit of class time today to set up our vocabulary tabs. I gave students copies of the vocabulary tabs and students wrote the words and rated their initial understanding of the words.

We used a four level rating system like the one in the picture to the right. Most students rated the words as a one or two, meaning they don't understand the word or know how to use it.  a level three means they know it and can use it.  A level four means they know it, can use it, and know it well enough to teach others. You can see one students' ratings below. This student kind of knows what the word frail means, but has no idea what the words stoop, barren, half-nelson, or acquire means.


Responding in Writing

10 minutes