The Common Core State Standards for reading has a major focus on students gathering evidence, knowledge, and insight from what they read. Using a non-fiction article from the Wall Street Journal, students will practice gathering evidence, insight, and knowledge by answering text dependent questions. I've attached an informational sheet as a Guide for Creating Text-Dependent Questions RI.9-10.1. This informational sheet explains what makes a question text-dependent and criterion for creating them.
I first share a metaphor about memory:
I then explain that a reporter/writer for the Wall Street Journal, Sumathi Reddi wrote an article about memory loss called," Why We Keep Losing Our Keys"
I teach and review how to determine an Author’s Point of View and use of rhetoric by using a power point presentation.
In slide #2 I explain how understanding the author's point of view can help the reader better comprehend what they are reading. In slides #3-4 I review the three reasons an author may have for writing after which I check for understanding by using the Cold Call technique. Next to check for understanding, in slide #5 I ask students to read a paragraph and tell me what was the author's purpose or reason for writing it.
Slides #6-7 are a quick review of the use of rhetorical appeals. I ask students what each appeal means then after they give their answer I fade in the correct answer. I then tell students that as they read the article "Why We keep Loosing Our Keys?" I will ask what the author's purpose was for writing the article and what rhetorical appeals did she use to achieve her purpose as required in standard RI.9-10.6.
For each type of writing, there are a number of skills that our students must learn in order to write well. I chose this informational article because I knew it would be of interest to my students. The skills of identifying the author's purpose as well as learning how to independently read and respond to writing prompts, will help my students apply this skill to the reading of different types of prompts like word problems and short answer exam questions.
I now pass out the article,Why We Keep Losing Our Keys by Sumathi Reddy and instruct students to read and annotate the article for author’s purpose and use of rhetoric. Students can work with a partner or individually.
Next I pass out the TDQ assessement. Students respond to the questions while continually returning to the text citing evidence to support their answers as required in standard RI.9-10.1. I scaffold the instruction by adding the page number to the articles paragraphs that answers can be found.
I think an important element in teaching necessary for student growth is cultivating a learning environment in which students feel respected and safe to take risks; my students need to feel that their learning has a purpose and that the curriculum is relevant to their lives; and they need feedback on their progress. In this lesson I want them to know what they're trying to accomplish, where they are in relation to the goal, and what they need to do in order to get there. As students answer the questions, I circulate using guided practice to check for understanding by asking asking clarifying questions. I want them to identify the authors claims and counter claims as a resource for their answers W.9-10.3
As illustrated in the clarifying questions video clip, my students may be working individually but they are always listening to what I have to say to each other and will speak up if they also have input. So even though they might not be sitting next to a learning partner there's still an exchange of information. I wonder if this is a third way in which students can work in a cooperative manner? They choose to sit apart but do converse at times about the task and therefore can be helpful in achieving the objective. One thing I've learned from this "grouping" is that with struggling learners, flexibility is paramount.
Group Share - Evidence Please!
I first ask a few students to give me evidence of what the author's purpose was in writing the article as well as what rhetorical appeals did she use. I facilitate a short discussion after their responses. Next I select one student to share an evidence based answer SL.9-10.1 . As he or she reads the question, response, and evidence to support the answer, I ask if anyone else had a different answer and if so to explain with supportive evidence!
I want students to understanding how the author used the power persuasion to inform and teach the reader about memory loss through the use primary uses of ethos and logos. The students concluded that the author's purpose was to inform and because she was an authority on this topic appealed mainly to ethos. One student commented on the different appeals used in ads and that a great deal of advertising uses ethos through celebrity endorsements.