Reflection: Shared Expectations Close Reading with Chaim Potuk's 'Zebra" - Section 6: Third Read: Figurative Language


It's easy to chalk up student behavior to disrespect, but often, students act the way they do because of habit or because they just don't know better. 


My students, especially Honors students, have a hard time not responding to the questions that the teacher asks during this third read.  They're used to answering teacher questions, because that's what they do every single day in every single class.  When teachers model think alouds, they answer the questions out of habit, not out of disrespect or not following directions.


For these close reading sessions, it's important to not attribute their talking during the third read to disrespect, because that will lead to a culture of students thinking "close reading means I'm going to get yelled at for talking.  Close reading is stupid.  I hate close reading."  Instead, I try to foster a culture of shared expectations--a culture where the attitude is "I know you're used to answering questions, but for right now, for the next five minutes, I need you to watch me and listen to me.  You'll have a chance to talk and reflect and answer questions later, but right now, it's not about you, it's about me."  That last part can sound a bit snarky, but delivered in the right humorous voice, it can work. 

  Think Alouds
  Shared Expectations: Think Alouds
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Close Reading with Chaim Potuk's 'Zebra"

Unit 4: Analyzing Literature in Socratic Circles with Chaim Potuk’s “Zebra”
Lesson 7 of 11

Objective: Students will analyze characters and figurative language by close reading a passage from Chaim Potuk's “Zebra."

Big Idea: Close reading gives students room to explore and analyze literature using productive struggle and explicit guidance from the teacher.

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