In my lesson openers I always have a "connect" in which I connect students' thinking about yesterday's lesson to today's lesson. I then have a "teach" in which I model for students the lesson of the day and also have them try it out. When I think about my modeling I use three categories; skill, strategy, and process. I model by stating the skill to the students, then giving them a strategy in which to use the skill, followed by the process to try out the strategy.
Connect: “Over the past two days we have been gathering evidence for our essay, now we are going to organize all of that evidence. Researchers synthesize (combine) all of their questions and evidence into central ideas. They then synthesize their central ideas into one overall claim. Relate this to how people build houses; a builder starts with a foundation and ground floor. When the ground floor is solid, they can add a second floor. In order to complete the house, they add a roof. The roof brings all the other components together.”
Teach: I will say, “In order to plan out a claim for this essay, I am going to practice the skill of combining my thoughts under one claim and the strategy of organizing my claim with three reasons. The process I will use is as follows:
1) Look through my evidence and initial questions
2) Synthesize my questions into central ideas.
3) Synthesize my central ideas into a claim
4) Organize the claim, reasons and evidence in a logical manner (by using boxes, bullets and brackets).”
I will show students how I go back into my notebook and review the information I have so far. I will show students how I write out my questions and synthesize them into central ideas using the synthesizing your questions worksheet.doc. I will show them step four before their independent practice.
Active Engagement: I will say,”You will now look through your notebook and start writing out your questions and synthesizing them into central/main ideas on your worksheet. Then synthesize your main ideas into an overall claim. Share this with a partner.
I will check for understanding by listening to ensure each student has a claim (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard). I will ask students to share out what their partner stated by using Class Dojo.mp4.
I will have students share out their claim in order to to help other students.
Closing of Active Engagement: I will say, “Successful writers plan out a claim for their research essay. They combine their questions under three central ideas. They look through their evidence and initial questions and organize the central ideas under one claim in a logical manner.”
Independent Practice: I will say, “Now you are going to start organizing your claim and reasons with your evidence.”
I will remind them how I use boxes, bullets and brackets by drawing it out. As I teach I am reminding students that this is just like the claim, reason and evidence work that they did with explanatory essay.
They then will write for at least 15 minutes if not more and then will share with a partner. As they are working independently and quietly, (I like to play classical or smooth jazz for “writing” music (I just create a play list on Pandora Internet radio) I will confer with them about their writing by using the attached conference sheet.
Partner Work: Students will be directed to turn and share their organizational structure with the partners. I will direct students to do this after most students are done drafting their own organizational structure.
I will say, “Decide who will be partner A and who will be partner B. Partner A I want you to share how you organized your claim. Partner B, I want you to listen if Partner A is showing that they understand how to organize their claim, reason and evidence. Then you will tell them if you heard all three. If not, give them feedback; tell them an idea of what they could add or let them know their writing had all three components. Then you will switch.”
Closing: Depending on where students are at with their boxes, bullets and brackets, I will either have them turn in this organizational chart or the boxes, bullets and brackets.
For their homework they will either take home the printed information text they used two days ago and continue to gather evidence or continue to search on the Internet at home. I will ask them to come up with at least one more page of evidence so that they have a lot to write about for tomorrow.