Common Core Connection
This is the first lesson in the unit covering the standard W1.8 (Research Writing), and this lesson applies to selecting important information from the available research to use in their own paragraph. Breaking this standard down is essential because it is so complex and requires a lot of scaffolding. This is the students' first real experience with research, so each piece has to be explained carefully. Taking it slow and steady is essential to avoiding the frustration level in the learners. Well, really it avoids the frustration level for me too!
Since the students are so unfamiliar with what we are doing I start the lesson off by modeling selecting important information in a text. Then we work as a whole class to analyze important information in another text. Last, the students work with their partner to select the important information in their research.
This is the time I like to engage the class and use some technology. So, I project the lesson image and ask them to discuss how you pick out the important things in all your research. Then I listen. I am hoping they say that they look at bold words, headings, and think about how the details connect to their topic sentence. Then I share their discussions and what I wanted them to say.
Then we chant the lesson goal to reiterate the focus of the lesson. "I can add describing and defining sentences to my details." I find this is a fun way to make sure my students know what the focus of the lesson is for today.
This is when I incorporate the speaking and listening standard. I go over the criteria everyday to promote positive behavior. So, I ask the students to place their papers on the floor in front of them, look at the speaker, listen, and evaluate the speakers work. Does the detail go with the description or definition?
So, about three groups present their work, and other students volunteer to share their evaluation. Then I add my own evaluation to confirm or clarify any questions. This is hard for me and my students. I never know what they are going to say, and I want to encourage their evaluation skills. But, I also have to make sure they learn the correct information about writing. Practice makes this easier, but sometimes I really do get stumped. That's when I just get blunt and say it like I think. I usually provide a specific example of what I am looking for too.
At this time I keep the class in the lounge and usually ask them to talk to their partner. I give a specific question related to the lesson goal. So, today I ask the students to talk to their partner about how the details relate to the description and definition. They will hopefully say they should connect. Then I share their comments and add my own.
Last, we chant the lesson goal to remind the class the focus of the lesson. "I can add describing and defining sentences to my details."