Through the internet and random old social studies text books, I found some reading passages and articles on the Pilgrims. With Thanksgiving so close, it is fitting to read about the Pilgrims. I want students to start making connections to what we are reading in Columbus to what we are now going to read about the Pilgrims.
Students are now going to use their annotating and CLOSE reading strategies to read an article on the Pilgrims. They need to try to use as many annotations as they can to help them understand and be able to talk about the story. For the most part, I want to see that they are underlining the main idea, circling unknown words, and making any notation that they are visualizing or predicting.
Instead of writing a written response right after they have read, I am going to have them reread the article and then discuss what they read with a partner. I will just walk and monitor what they are talking about and check to make sure that both students are agreeing to what the article was about and if any mistakes are found they clear them up together. This discussion time is what they normally do in writing.
Once everyone has come to an agreement and discussed the article I will have a student lead a student lead discussion on the article. I start this by asking a student to explain something they found interesting or important in the article. I then have them call another student that wants to agree or disagree with this student's statement. This discussion will keep going until all points are covered or the students begin to restate the same facts.
As the class discusses and debates, I am also asking clarifying questions and prompting further thoughts. I want to make sure that they use the article to help explain their ideas and that they understand they need to use it for support of their idea. My role is to clarify and to help them find connections in the reading. By doing so will help them write a response to what we have read and discussed.
Student Led Questions to Ask:
1. What new information did you learn from the text?
2. What was a something interesting from the text?
3. Did you learn something that is different or explains something you already know?
4. Can you think of ways that Columbus and the Pilgrims were alike? Different?
Through discussion, students should have a more clear understanding of the similarities and differences between Columbus and the Pilgrims. The partner and class talk should have created a good base to start writing a response that reflects a comparison. I will model first what I want them to do. I do not write it on the board just do a "think aloud." I now allow time for the class to form their idea and write a paragraph. The paragraph should be a response and/or summary of what they have read and discussed.
I want them to use their text to help write their paragraph. This is new to them so as I walk around I am encouraging them to find proof within the text. I will only model how to start, and give them some ideas on how I might write my paragraph, if they appear to be stuck. I want the writing to be genuine and from their thoughts and not influenced by my example.
To complete the assignment, I am going to ask them to draw a Venn Diagram comparing what they know and have read about the Pilgrims and Columbus. They can be broad with their comparisons or narrow it down. For Example, I had a few students that chose to compare the leader of the Pilgrims, William Bradford, and Columbus.
I want to challenge them to come up with as many comparisons as possible, and not provide a minimum number. I like to tell my class to fill it in and make sure it has enough for the grade they want to earn. So an"A" diagram should have multiple items listed, I am looking for four if they want an "A". It seems that they always ask how many do we need. I use the number four a lot because they are in fourth grade. This seems to be a good anchor for those that need a concrete minimum to everything.