There is a lot of emphasis on students providing textual evidence for answers in the new common core curriculum. This has been the meat of my curriculum and lessons for the last month. It’s surprising to see the shift from prior knowledge and inference skill level questions now back to the basic find it in the text questions. Personally, I think the latter are easier for the students so I’ll welcome the shift.
Along with the shift to text based question and answers is the shift in complexity of text. Students are being expected to read more complex and higher level texts. Included in the exemplars, and which I did end up teaching last week, is Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. The look on my students’ faces when I told them they would be reading part of a book that I read in college was priceless!
Going along with the narrative theme, I chose an excerpt from An American Childhood by Annie Dillard. I used this excerpt to guide students into providing evidence for claims they make about a character.
|Outside of foldable|
I used this excerpt and read with students while they completed their sticky notes. We talked about personality traits and focused on Annie, the narrator and author’s, personality. I used the ‘What does it say, what does it mean, why does it matter?” comprehension strategy and had students make a foldable.I find that this keeps them engaged as opposed to just having them write it down on a sheet of paper.
|Inside of foldable, not sure why it won’t go the right way…|
On the inside flaps, students wrote:
What does it say: They provided an actual quote from the text to support their inference about Annie’s personality.
What does it mean: They made an inference about Annie;s personality.
Why does it matter: They extended their thinking to consider why this was important to the plot.
Students are getting used to providing reasons and evidence for claims they make as they are reading. Hopefully they will continue to get better at this as the year progresses.