Sunday, August 3, 2014

Seasonal Door Decorating-January

Here's the door decorating I did to go with my MLK lesson plan.

It aligns with Common Core Standard RI 7.7: Compare and contrast a text to an audio, video, or multimedia version of the text, analyzing each medium's portrayal of the subject (e.g., how the delivery of a speech affects the impact of the words).

Want ideas for decorating your middle school classroom each month in a way that supports common core standards? Check out this curriculum in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store!

Tips for Doing a Close-Read

What is a Close Read? 

Close Reading is a central focus of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). It requires students to get truly involved with the text they are reading. The purpose is to teach them to notice features and language used by the author.

Steps for Doing a Close Read:

1. Select the portion of the text you wish to use. It should be meaningful, no longer than one page, and have interesting language/word choice for students to analyze.
2. Copy the page for students. This allows them to annotate the text. I often choose to retype the page to make it easier to read/photocopy.
3. Write questions to go along with the text. Your questions should address three main questions:
         a. What does the text SAY? (direct comprehension questions)
         b. What does the text DO? (looks at language/word choice/style)
         c. What does the text MEAN? (What does it reveal about characters? Looks at deeper meaning)
4. Distribute questions and text to students. Give them time to read the passage and answer questions.
5. Go over the questions together, calling on students and having them back up their answers with evidence from the text. Encourage them to add details/correct wrong answers as the class discusses them.

Tips for Close Reading Success:

1. Close Read questions should be challenging! Students will need to learn to struggle through them. It's important to encourage them to come up with reasonable, evidence-based answers. Don't grade their responses initially; it's more important for them to try to figure out the meaning than it is for them to regurgitate a correct answer.
2. Have students number each paragraph immediately so that referencing the text can be done quickly and clearly.
Note the numbered paragraphs and retyped section of the text.

3. Encourage students to share and explain their answers to a table partner before taking answers from the group. Since Close Read questions require critical thinking, discussion can help students figure out meaning.
4. Students should annotate the passage with a fine tip pen (not a highlighter) to note where they found their answers and explain meaning.

Most of all, don't be afraid to try it! It can be intimidating at first, but it can lead to great class discussions as well as deeper understanding of text.

There are two Close Reads in my Any Small Goodness Novel Study, and I am working on creating more in the weeks to come! Please check my store for updates!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Using It: Any Small Goodness Unit!

I taught Any Small Goodness by Tony Johnston to my summer school students this year. The kids really enjoyed the book, and it was a great way to try out some of my common core strategies in the classroom. I'm kicking myself for not taking pictures of the KIDS doing the work, but I do have my teacher example. So, I wanted to share some of the "finished products," so that those who download the unit can get inspiration/ideas.

After the students complete the vocabulary sorts, have them select six words they want to create a "visual dictionary" for. They should include the word, the definition, and a picture to illustrate the word's meaning. Research shows that multiple exposures to vocabulary help in retaining information, so revisit these dictionaries. Students can use words in a sentence as a ticket out the door as a quick reinforcement. The pictures below are of my visual dictionaries...don't be jealous of my AMAZING artistic abilities! ;)

I had students glue the pages into a spiral notebook, so everything for our novel unit would be in one place. Just wanted to quickly mention that it's helpful to have student number each paragraph for the Close Read, so that they can quickly reference the text in their answers and in your class discussions. Another post with more tips on how to do a Close Read is coming soon!
Note the paragraphs are numbered.
 This is my circle map about Mama Dulce. The students can quickly jot down all the information they remember/can find in the text, and then use this to help write the obituary.

 Last, here is a picture of my visual theme. I used Keynote (since we are a Mac school), but it would look very similar in Power Point. The kids really enjoyed having their slides printed out in color, if you can swing it. It also brightened up their spirals!

Hopefully I can teach this novel again soon and include more pictures of STUDENTS doing the work! I have a great idea for an Any Small Goodness Christmas celebration, so hopefully I can make that happen this December!

Like what you see? This curriculum is for sale in my teacher store: