One of the big ideas in the district is "close reading" using the Common Core. For the past few months, I have been trying to wrap my brain around this idea and gather strategies for doing it. It really isn't something that is too different from what we have been doing in the past, but the new name scares me ;) So I have been trying to turn to mentor texts to help me out.
Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading is my go to right now, so I decided to start my students off with the first introduction lesson of Contrasts and Contradictions. Using "Thank You, Ma'am" by Langston Hughes as my reading text, I basically followed the lesson in the book. Since there were examples of where to stop and look at the contradictions, my life was just made easier (and who doesn't want an easy life, really??)
I made this trifold for the students. It is a bit different than the one I shared with you earlier in that it doesn't have all 6 strategies on it, rather, this is a trifold for Contrasts and Contradictions only. Using our anchor chart, the students took notes on the strategies right there on the front cover of the trifold.
Then, as we began to read, I modeled the strategy whenever possible. I talked out my thinking AND wrote it down in my trifold for the students to see. The book suggests to slowly release more and more responsibility to the students, but frankly, my students weren't ready to go totally on their own with this by the third example. So we went through all of the spots where the character did something unexpected together. We discussed the anchor question of "Why did the character act this way?" and looked for evidence in the story.
I only modeled two written examples with the students. I did verbally model the others. We did A LOT of partner talk. A.LOT. They needed the talk through. I found that most students were unsure of their own ideas since this is so new, so validating it with a partner first really helped them to be a bit more confident in our discussion.
|Talking with a partner really helped the students to notice any examples of C&C.|
I then asked the students to go back, annotate where they saw examples of the character acting in unexpected ways, and write the answer to "Why did the character act this way?" with textual evidence in their trifold.
|Notice the diamond? That is our symbol for Contrasts and Contradictions in a passage. This student noticed a C&C and marked it using the diamond! That made me happy to see!|
|Finding evidence (citing it from the text without paraphrasing) proved to be the most challenging aspect of this whole endeavor.|
Overall, I am happy with how these first two days of using this strategy went. The kids are talking and seemed interested in it all (no one moaned or groaned, so that was a good sign ;) ) Here is a copy of the trifold I used for Contrasts and Contradictions if you would like. Just copy it back to back and fold along the dotted lines.
Are you using the Notice and Note strategies? How is it going in your room? Any tips, suggestions, comments, or questions that you can share? Let's start a discussion!