Reflection: Grappling with Complexity Who is August Wilson? Using THIEVES to Pre-Read an Obituary Informational Text - Section 4: Engagement: Modeling


The modeling of THIEVES was supposed to be a simple activity. We were only dealing with some of the letters of the acronym, THIEVES: T for Title, H for Headings and Subheadings, I for Introduction, E for What do I know about the topic? V for Visuals, E for End of Chapter Summaries and S for So What?

Since there are no visuals in the article or end-of-chapter summaries, we excluded V and E leaving only T.H.I.E and S. Since my students said they knew nothing about August Wilson, we were left with T.H.I.S. Topic, Subheadings, Introduction and So What? Still, it was not an easy task for us as a class. My students and I struggled with the first two steps: interpreting the title and making a prediction about the article based on the title, as well as turning the subheadings into questions which we would answer as we read the article.

The title, August Wilson, Theater’s Poet of Black America, Is Dead at 60,  contains an appositive which gives us details about the subject of the sentence which is August Wilson. Since my students were not familiar with the way the writer constructed the sentence, they were intimidated by the title at first. So, I had to work with them to identify the appositive in the sentence and to glean the two major ideas we are learning from the title: August Wilson is dead at 60 and August Wilson is Theater's Poet of Black America.

In addition, my students and I grappled with how to turn subheadings into questions. The subheadings A Fruitful Partnership and An Atypical Education are phrases, and my students were hesitant about how to approach the directions because they did not know how to do it. So, we spent quite a bit of time (with my modeling how to turn this phrase into a sentence. We used "What is August Wilson's" as a sentence starter which led us to a question.

So, needless to say, we spent most of the class period focusing on the T and the H of T.H.I.S. and we identified two main ideas for these questions before the period ended. Going forward, this means we need to spend more time with informational articles taken from newspapers like The New York Times so that my students will be more comfortable with these exercises in the future.

  Grappling with Complexity: What happens when modeling reveals further gaps in readiness?
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Who is August Wilson? Using THIEVES to Pre-Read an Obituary Informational Text

Unit 1: Fences: Character and Theme Analysis in Drama
Lesson 1 of 13

Objective: SWBAT identify central ideas in August Wilson's biography by using THIEVES graphic organizer to preview and pre-read the title, headings, and main ideas of the text.

Big Idea: Do you want to know more about August Wilson? You must be willing to become THIEVES!

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