I began this lesson with questions about the previous day's lesson. After looking at students' tickets out the door, I felt that it was important to stress the importance of setting a purpose to read.
I tell students that today, we will continue to set a purpose to read so that we get use to doing this every time we read. I explained that there can be many reasons we purposely read and we have done some of these already with our last two lessons. So today, I tell students that they will be reading to answer the questions they asked in the previous lesson. In this lesson, I decided to model for students the thought process that should take place as they read with the purpose of answering the questions they asked.
Going back to our anchor text from a previous lesson, "Harvest Birds" by Blanca Lopez de Mariscal, I used some questions I identified in my reading to model for students how to read for the purpose of answering questions. Using a Think aloud I shared the following with students:
"When I read" Harvest Birds" for the first time, these are some questions I identified as I read."
Characters- Why does the main character talk to the birds?
Problem- Why did the main character need to borrow a piece of land?
I began to read the story aloud and as I came to a section that alerted me of an answer to my question, I shared my thoughts with students.
Example: As the story progresses, the author shows the main character talking to the birds about planting his seeds and other things that happen through out the story. The main character sees the birds as his friends. As I saw examples of this, I expressed it: "So he talks to them to get advice about things. He has been talking to the birds for a while. He sees them as his friends." Anytime there was a detail or evidence that answered this question about the main character, I highlighted it by thinking about it aloud.
As I moved to the next question, I enlisted the help of my students to give them practice. This section was approached as an I do, now you do with help from the teacher. I tell students that I need their help in figuring out why he needed to borrow the land. As I read, I ask students to put their thumbs up if they hear evidence that will help me answer the question. I also tell students to pay attention to the thoughts that come to mind as they listen and be ready to share.
I continue to read and come to a section that explains why he doesn't have any land of his own and had to borrow a piece of the land. At the beginning of the story it mentions that his family's land was divided between his brothers and there was not enough for him. Students began to raise their thumbs.
As students shared their conclusions, I used their thoughts to explain what was happening in the story. I also explained that sometimes we won't find the exact answer because the author doesn't give it to us.
Now I have students answer some questions on their own.
In the previous lesson, students identified questions to answer while they read. Now I wanted students to answer the questions they developed while reading. Since this is the third time students have experienced this activity, I had students work independently to answer their question. Students have had many experiences with answering questions so, I wanted to see what they could do without my help. Students were asked to re-read the story, with the purpose of answering their questions. Students were given sticky notes to identify sections that helped them answer their questions as they read. I gave students the tickets back from the previous lesson as well as a new sheet to answer their answers.
Students were asked to sit with the same group they have been with for the last two lessons. As I circulated the room, I reminded students to keep their focus on finding their answers and to also pay attention to their thoughts. I also reminded students that they could use background knowledge to help them with questions that may be difficult to answer.
I am big on collaborative learning and discussions of literature, so I ask students to share their answers with their group.
I start the wrap up with two question, "How does setting a purpose to read help you better understand what you are reading?"
"How does asking and answering questions help you better understand what you are reading?"
We have a quick discussion. Next, I begin asking students about the plot in their story. I ask students from each group to share with me what they learned about the problem in their story and to tell me about the characters in the story. Students talk comfortably about these aspects of the story.
To wrap up, I tell students that paying attention to the questions in your head and looking to answer them while you read helps you comprehend what you read which means you better understand the story and what the author is trying to tell you.
As their ticket out the door, students turn in their answer tickets at the end of the lesson.