I show scholars a picture of their math/science teacher. I ask them to describe the person that they see. I give them 2 minutes to describe him independently. Then, I give them 1 minute to share description with friends. Then, I pull 2 from my cup and select 2 volunteers to share.
Scholars share things like, "He is a boy. He loves math. He went to Norfolk State University." I challenge them to think about personality traits as well as physical traits. Scholars LOVE talking about their teachers and this is a really simple, engaging way to start off our lesson.
I end this section of the lesson by explaining that today, we're going to practice using evidence from the text to help us describe characters.
We do a cloze reading of chapters 10 & 11. When I do a cloze reading, students and I have the copy of the same text. I read out loud so that all students can access the text. I pause before reading certain words at random and scholars must read the word that I have paused upon. I do a cloze reading to enhance engagement and to help scholars hear a model of strong reading.
I model how to create a character foldable. I do lots of foldables in my class because it is fun for students to make. Also, it makes it feel less like work, thereby enhancing engagement and quality work products.
I do a think aloud and pause at different places in the text to record character traits. Scholars classify if the trait is a physical trait or a personality trait. They record on their foldable as I think aloud.
We classify traits because this is a way to help scholars distinguish what is visible about a character and what is not visible. Also, it helps them to compare and contrast characters if they have the same trait by which they are comparing.
Scholars have 5 minutes to complete the character foldable of Maniac Macgee with a partner. They are encouraged to find at least 1 new quote that supports their sketch. During this section, I expect that scholars may struggle with classifying the character traits. Some students still have difficulty distinguishing between a personality trait and a physical trait. I try to make it more clear by telling students that you can usually SEE a physical trait and personality traits usually are based on repeated behaviors that a person engages in over time.
As scholars work in partners, I circulate to provide feedback to scholars and to do a quick check for understanding to see if they need more support in any area. If I notice that the whole class struggles with something, I will re-group and re-teach.
During this time scholars rotate through 3 stations.
Station 1. Independent work -- Create a foldable of Amanda. Write 1 paragraph describing Amanda, be sure to use quotes to support your description.
Station 2. My station --Using books in book baggies, link quotes to answers
Station 3. ELL station -- TBD by ELL teacher will use books in book baggies and will focus on using textual evidence to describe character
I start the time by explicitly stating what should be completed by the end of the day (a summary of the text). This holds scholars accountable to their work thereby making them more productive. Then, the ELL teacher and I share the materials that our groups will need to be successful (i.e. a pencil and your book baggies). Then, I give scholars 20 seconds to get to the place in the room where they will be for the first rotation. The first scholars who are there with all materials they need receive additions on their paychecks or positive PAWS.
During the rotations for this lesson, my small group objective today is to distinguish between topic, main ideas and supporting details within books that are on each group's highest instructional level. Scholars read a portion of the same text (different for each group depending on reading level, but the same text is read in each group). Then we how details support main ideas.
After the first rotation, I do a rhythmic clap to get everyone's attention. Scholars place hands on head and eyes on me so I know they are listening. Then they point to where they go next. I give them 20 seconds to get there. Again, scholars who are at the next station in under 20 seconds with everything they need receive a positive PAW or a paycheck addition. We practice rotations at the beginning of the year so scholars know if they are back at my table, they walk on the right side of the room, if they are with the ELL teacher, they walk on the left side of the room and if they are at their desks, they walk in the middle of the room. This way we avoid any collisions.
At the end of our rotation time I give scholars 20 seconds to get back to their desks and take out materials needed for the closing part of our lesson. Timing transitions helps to make us more productive and communicates the importance of our learning time.