Summary and Context
With the advent of Common Core, one thing I have been excited to engage my students in is multiple readings of complex texts. The Empty Pot is one such text - it's a rich story, and we have taken our time to enjoy it over several class periods and several reads. Today, I am reading the second part for the second time, and, as we read, I am having the students practice the vocabulary strategy of context clues. For students to internalize a skill, they need a lot of practice, and it needs to be immediate. The questions I will be asking ask the students have them looking at the illustrations and the words to make meaning of the words the author has chosen and the author's craft. In this way, the questions invite the students to have a conversation with the author. I am training my students to become active and thoughtful readers. This takes time.
Once we are done with the reading, I gather the students on the rug for Socratic Seminar. We continue to look at how the illustrations are helping them get a deeper meaning of the text.
To help them integrate their learning, I also giving them the opportunity to reflect in writing on what they learn today and then share out as a group.
I start with the students on the rug and share the student friendly objective: "I can analyze the illustrations and tex to better understand the text."
Like in the previous lesson, I have them reread. This time most of them are rereading the second part of The Empty Pot independently. I will read with 3 students on the rug because they need support with reading.
I read the second half of the story with text dependent questions that ask my students to have a conversation with the author about why author chose to write the story in a certain way. Since this is the second read, I ask the students for a deeper understanding of the key details by asking questions that start with either how or why. Here are two questions we discuss:
While we read, I also continue to have students practice the vocabulary strategy of using context clues. To do so, today, like yesterday, I model how to gather the key words/context clues from the reading so that we can use them to figure out the meaning of the words. Again, I teach students that if the context clues are not enough to help them figure out the meaning of the word, then the dictionary is another viable source for them to use. I help my students feel empowered about knowing when to make decisions. I have created a sheet for them to record their thinking.
Here are examples of their vocabulary sheets:
The reason I continue to include the practice of Socratic Seminar is so that my students get frequent opportunities entering and exiting academic conversations. In addition to developing speaking and listening skills, this helps them develop self-esteem about their contributions and helps them see themselves as academic thinkers.
Before I pose the question, I have my students share the purpose of the Socratic Seminar. I share the rules for participation and they can refer to the Handing-Off Chart for discussion starters that help them enter the discussion.
Today's question for discussion: How did the illustrations help us to understand what this story is about?
I am attaching a document that gives more details about how I implement Socratic Seminar in my classroom in case you want to read further!
By asking students to write about what they are learning, I help them deepen connections and learnings. In writing they are synthesizing the information they are hearing and reading. Their writing also gives me something to analyze later so that I can get an idea of who knows what.
As students write, they practice writing simple, elaborated, and complex sentences. They also get the practice of writing transition words and new vocabulary. I am curious as to how students integrate the vocabulary they are learning because this is an opportunity for them to do so.
The assistance I give to my students depends on what they need. There are some students who quickly begin but other need encouragement to start and while others may need help with forming the sentences. We need to know our students to know how to manage them when they work independently like this.
How did my students do with using the illustrations to determine a deeper understanding of the plot? Let's look at some samples.
In the writing piece, spring, the writer does a good job of stating how he knows it's spring because of what the illustrations show. He gives an examples such as birds flying. He does state how Ping has planted seeds but I think he is confusing the content of the other page.
Next, the writer in the piece, TheOtherKidsAreLaughingAtPIng, states he understands that this story is about any empty pot because Ping brings his empty pot to the Emperor. As he does this, the other kids laugh at him. He provides good details.
Finally, the writer of the piece, Ping a seed, states how Ping received a seed and how Ping takes care of it by putting soil and water in the pot. This writer combines details provided by the text too.
Overall, I feel it was important to analyze the illustrations, and the students had success with the process. In this text, the illustrations offer rich details and I wanted my students to pay attention to them. I wanted my students to understand how sometimes the illustrations enhance the storyline. I feel my students got the message. For my English Language Learners, I need to keep reviewing this skill.
Giving the students time to share their work helps to build their self-esteem and confidence. It helps to validate their learning and gives the class the opportunity to hear what their peers are learning. It also gives the audience the practice of listening with the intent of paying close attention to what is being shared.
I find this routine very helpful.
Thus, I have a few students share out their writing, and then, like other times, students give feedback to them using a protocol that makes it safe and fun: