I will take a different path for a day and give the students a short reading quiz today. I am doing this for a variety of purposes and will likely not count it in the summative category of my grade book (typically reserved for bigger assessments of multiple standards). I am mainly giving this quiz to make sure students know I mean business about keeping up and to make sure that those who are trying to keep up are getting it.
It will be an oral quiz. I will ask them the following questions, both of which represent significant plot points from the section they read over the weekend AND for later in the novel/discussion of text:
I will let them use their reading guides for this quiz, both as a way to reward those who took the time to do their homework and as a way to support good reading habits, which suggest that difficult text requires note taking. I do not believe in "gotcha" quizzes and feel like students who take notes should be allowed to use the resources I suggested they use while reading.
To synthesize our discussions from last week with the first few chapters of book two, I will ask the students to move into their Faulkner squares and have a numbered heads together discussion (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1) of what we have read so far. These discussions group students into teams of four. Each student will number off within the group, claiming a number, one through four. Each team will also have a team number as well (I have 13 teams). I will then roll a dice to determine what team and which person will answer the question orally.
For each of the following questions, I will allow students five minutes to discuss with their group and write down ideas before leading them through discussion as a class. You might recognize the questions--they were given to the students at the beginning of our reading time a few weeks ago.
Throughout the discussion, I will ask students to provide textual support (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1a) to back up their reasoning, which will help me to determine how much they are reading and comprehending from their independent interactions with the text (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.10).
After we've reviewed where we've been in the story, I will ask the students to return to their seats, hand in all their paperwork and then spend some time reading with them.
I read aloud for a variety of reasons and am selective about what chapters I will read with them over the course of a novel like this.
As you can see on my bookmarks, I plan to read about ten chapters with them over the course of the book. This will allow me to check their comprehensions/reading ability informally along the way and will also help me feel better about their ability to comprehend difficult or really important sections of the text. It is a form of scaffolding as well as a task that requires different kinds of thinking. Most importantly, though, it is an opportunity for me to model my reading strategies for them.
On a side note, I provide bookmarks to students so that they can track progress, keep up with the class if they are gone and for all of us to keep to a schedule when reading a long book. This seems to help as a tool for my students who like to plan ahead, but also works as a means of encouraging them through a tough book. They always know where I will offer them support and where they have independent reading sections, they have reminders about big ideas to watch out for.
I am actually going to take our SSR time today to do this. I'm feeling a time crunch as the semester ends and want to make sure that we get as far as we need to in Tale before we go on break. I feel bad about doing this and am trying really hard to be mindful about building the time in going forward.
As we wrap up class, I will hand out the bookmarks and remind them to read tonight. I will also ask them to see me if they have any lingering concerns about grades as we head into the home stretch of the semester.