Since the previous day's mini lesson zeroed in on understanding reading log responses, in today's lesson I spent a good deal of time checking in the logs and closely examining their "my thinking" section. I ask that all students take out their logs when they get into class, and silently read at their place until I find them and confer.
At the beginning of the year, while I'm looking over reading logs at the start of the period, there is usually clarifying work I'll need students to do. Typically, they have great ideas, but struggle with putting these ideas down on paper. Before I ask them to clarify through writing, I let them talk out their response in the form of a mini-reading conference. Also, before I give a correction, I make sure to give one specific compliment about their log. This reassures them that they are on the right track. The other reason I like to confer around the logs is it takes the pressure off the kids. They have an idea of what to talk about because their writing is right in front of them.
To find ways to enact this section, please see my strategy folder.
I pose the following question, based on our class read aloud Crash, written by Jerry Spinelli:
While I read aloud Crash, did anyone hear anything that hinted at gender identity or gender roles? If you remember, please write a brief summary below. Who was involved? What happened?
The first part of the lesson is accompanied by this worksheet: Crash & Gender
I give the kids time to think about the read aloud from the day before and to recall what they remember about the topic at hand. Even if the kids don't understand the terms gender identity or role, they can begin to piece together a definition based on what they remember happening in the text.
Once the majority of the kids have written something (many don't remember), I spread the wealth during a turn and talk, and have the kids who do remember explain how they have responded to others around them.
I play the following youtube clip about gender roles and stereoptyping:
This video shows a series of kids answering questions about gender roles.
I pose the following question before they watch the video the first time: What surprises you about this video? After its over, I have them just write. They're very excited and itching to share, but I ask them to turn to their papers and turn that excitement into a brief written response. Then I pause for comments.
Usually the comments consist of: "I was surprised how sure all of the kids were of the different gender roles." Or, "I'm surprised that the kids have such a strong sense of the differences between gender at such a young age." Organically, in some way or another, the question of where do these gender roles come from, arises. At that point I say, I'm going to play this video again, this time, as you watch, think about where gender roles and identity come from.
They watch again, and then I generate a class list of ideas. Some say parents, some say friends, eventually we get to the idea of TV/movies/books.
This part of the lesson has to do with close reading with a purpose. Students are reading their text with a greater purpose in mind. It should tie in with the mini-lesson. For example, in this lesson we talked about gender roles. Therefore, kids are searching for hints of gender roles in their common mentor text.
I make photo copies of the section of Crash I read the day before. This is important for close reading, because I want the kids to at least be familiar with a text they are closely reading. That way they feel more comfortable with the material and are more likely to notice important details.
Then I say, I’m going to pass out a copy of the text. I would like you and a partner to underline anything having to do with gender roles or identity. Take notes in the margins (white spaces on the sides) to clarify your thinking.
I model this first. I go through the text, making sure to underline as well as annotate anything having to do with gender roles or identity. Annotated Version of "Crash"
The premise here, is that a boy has decided to try-out for cheerleading. The main character, Crash, is appalled by this character's choice to go out for this acticity. He makes jokes and refers to him as girly.
In the wrap up, I ask for students to highlight some really important sections where they saw examples of gender roles. I find them under the document camera and ask everyone to make sure they have also seen these. As a part of these conversations, I always ask students to explain their thinking. Why did you deem this important? What makes you say that this has to do with gender roles?
I record their thinking in the margins and circulate to make sure students are recording their own thinking or using the class model. This ensures positive habits at the start of the year. I want to make sure that everyone is following along and attentive during every minute of my instruction, especially at the start of the year. It is important to start strong with attention, as enthusiasm for learning tends to wain as the year goes on.