Reflection: Grappling with Complexity Describe that Character! - Section 4: Independent Practice


I was nervous about using this piece for independent practice because it is a longer piece.  However, one of the goals of mine this year is to build the reading stamina of my students.  In the elementary schools, the students are not expected to read novels or even very long texts.  When they transition into middle school, it is always a challenge to build that stamina.  This piece is longer piece, but it lends itself to character traits so well. 

I ended up having to model a little as we read.  Again, the students are not used to interacting with the text.  I wonder if they focus so much on the decoding of words that they have not developed the skill of what I like to call "reading with your mind."  I try to teach my students to use their eyes to see the words, but their minds to interpret.  So, as I read aloud, especially in the beginning of 6th grade, I model how my "mind" interacts with the text.  I model the questions I have, the thoughts I have, and even the skills I have developed as a reader.  I tell the students I expect them to do the same.  I teach them to chunk text, so it doesn't seem so overwhelming.  Read and think about each chunk.  This helps the students build that stamina as well as their comprehension. 


I modeled just the first 100 words of the story-underlining anything I thought I could use to demonstrate character traits.  I modeled how I wrote in the margins my ideas and reflections. 


The piece itself is fantastic.  I wasn't able to use it in this lesson because of the lack of background knowledge the students had with character traits. However, I used it in a future lesson, once I knew they were ready for the independent practice.  I would just spend the time to make sure the students know how to interact with the text-before I make it truly independent. 

  Independent Reflection
  Grappling with Complexity: Independent Reflection
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Describe that Character!

Unit 2: Unit 1: Part II- Analyzing Text
Lesson 1 of 10

Objective: Students define and generate a list of character traits to build prior knowledge.

Big Idea: Using popular characters from movies, TV shows and books, students explore what makes their favorite characters so special and unique!

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