I gave my students a "Twitter Page" for Junior so they can keep an ongoing diary of the main events in each chapter. They are asked to "twitter" after each chapter read. One of the benefits of teaching in a school in which professional partnerships is encouraged, is that we can share ideas and materials. This Twitter Page was co-designed with one of my colleagues, Joe Mastronardi, while we were discussing the weeks lessons for this novel.
For this activator I ask students to read over their notes regarding Junior and Rowdy's relationship including their Twitter Page and Characterizing graphic organizer, and Characterization chart. I've attached a short video of when students were completing their Characterizing Friendship organizer in a previous class.
After a they read over their material I review the questions they will be asked to answer at the end of the lesson on their Rubric for 3 Paragraph Mini-Essay questionnaire.
My goals during this section of the lesson include:
I begin the lesson by highlighting details of the character's relationship by reviewing the Characterizing Friendship graphic organizer. I use a students organizer as a model and ask her to read and analyze an excerpt using the docucamera for the class to see. I next ask another student to discuss a section of his Venn Characterization Graphic Organizer for Junior and Rowdy.
To model finding text dependent evidence which is required in the common core standard RL.9-10.1, I first think aloud by asking myself "What are some of Junior's physical characteristics?" I look at my "Twitter Page" and read that in chapter 1 he was described in great detail. I then go to chapter 1 and find a a few sentences that describe his physical characteristics. I share this process by using the docucamera
Lastly, also using my docucamera, I read the Character Analysis Learning Activity's components of writing the 3 paragraph mini-descriptive essay. One of the common core standards being addressed in the lesson is the writing standard W.9-10.2 which requires students to write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. This is a goal for my students but for many will take time to reach. With this understanding I begin with a 3 paragraph versus 5 paragraph essay.
In reflecting on how I supported my students who many are struggling writers, I realized the importance of offering a model for them to see and understand how to begin their mini-essay.
When providing my students with this model of an intro paragraph, I explained why I wrote what I wrote as well as leaving open sentences for them to complete therefore encouraging them to engage in the often arduous task of writing. When I provided this scaffold, I also highlighted and/or underlined the topic sentence, examples and supporting details that I included.
Now it is time for them to begin writing their essays by analyzing the two characters while finding evidence from the text to begin their essay. Each student works independently because if I have them working together their tendency would be to talk off task. This lesson's task, writing, takes concentrated effort to accomplish and is a challenge for many of my students to accomplish.
As they write I circulate among the class answering questions, redirecting students to the assignment, and prompting engagement by looking for evidence together. I encourage their efforts with comments such as " I see Tommy has found three pieces of clear evidence to support his essay" or "Crystal is making sure she is answering the essential questions in her essay." I find that if this is said aloud with sincerity, students listen and want to do the same.
As a wrap up activity, I ask students to complete their Rubric and hand it in after which I will score with my evaluation comments for each student to read and later discuss.