Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sasquatch Survey Results: SUPER Helpful!

Thanks so much, everyone, for taking the time to fill out the "Sasquatch" survey so thoughtfully!  The feedback you give me is just as important as the feedback I give you. You're really helping me make sure I make the most out of our class time together.

Two other purposes of the survey were for you to think about what you know and what you weren't sure about (always good skills to develop!) and to be able to use that information to tell me what you need.

Here's what the results look like when I get them.  Thanks, eighth/ninth period kids, for discovering and using in such a productive manner the "boss" blank column. Your notes made me laugh :)

Here are the "biggies" that came up on the survey results.

Point of View
Most people listed at least one point of view that confused them.  After our point of view lesson, do you feel like you have a better grasp on point of view?

Remember what we talked about:
1. How authors, narrators, and characters are related (author is over all)
2. Signal words for each narration point of view (do you remember the signal words? I, you, they, etc.)
3. The role of each kind of narrator (for which points of view is the narrator in the story?)
4. The "powers" that each kind of narrator has (how creepy? :))

Many people mentioned that you "learned about" mood last year.  What did you learn about mood?

Two points of confusion with this question:
1. What does the word "tense" mean?
2. What section is the beginning of the story?

We will talk about those in class.

Again, I read many responses that said you "learned about" theme last year.  What did you learn about theme?

This seemed to be the toughest question for people to think about.

1. What does this theme mean? "Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me."
2.  Even if people felt like they understood that theme, people had a hard time tying that theme to the text.  One student wrote something really thoughtful -- she wrote that it was hard to tie the theme to the text because those exact lines weren't in the text.  That is definitely a challenging leap to make!

We'll go over this theme question together, for sure.

Chronological Order of Events
95% of you put the events in the correct order.  What strategies did you use to put the events in the correct order?

The word "resolution" tripped people up.  The resolution is how the problem is solved/comes to a conclusion.  In order to identify the resolution, you had to be able to identify the problem in the story first.

Most commonly identified vocab words: Rugged, bemused, intently, cannoned, pondered, philosophically

We'll add those to our class word jars :)

Now, please comment below on any and all of the italicized questions in the post ... it'll help your classmates and make our class discussion more interesting and productive!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Using Sasquatch to Monitor Our Comprehension ... of Questions, too!

Please take the following survey to tell me more about the questions you answered for the short story "Sasquatch: A California Ghost Story."

Remember, we're working on identifying when we "get it" and when we don't "get it."  Self-monitoring is a very important skill for readers!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Exploring Close Reading with Wonder

I recently read a fabulous, Franki Sibberson-recommended book called What Readers Really Do (by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton).  We're thinking a lot about how real readers do things like attend to minor details to understand characters, settings, and themes; one phrase you might hear a lot in our room is, "I'm noticing that ______ really did a close reading to make that connection!"

In those conversations, we're emphasizing the importance of making within-text connections. We try to put ourselves in author RJ Palacio's shoes to think about why she might include certain details, we're working on noticing details that might be important (the more you read, the more experience you have with stories, and the better you become at figuring out what might be important!), and then we're using our KNOW/WONDER charts to develop "wonders" (text-based questions) based on those details.

Our KNOW/WONDER Charts are Growing
Our KNOW/WONDER charts are starting to have a lot of arrows between our columns.  We're starting to naturally connect ideas within the text!

Here's my messy, messy chart.  You'll notice that we're also filling up our notebook word jars (/word pumpkins/word cans/word ghosts/word aquariums/etc).  Thanks, Mrs. Caplin at Bailey for inspiring us!

Within-text Connections
Today, we had a big "aha!" moment, which is reflected in many of our readers notebooks.  We have decided that, if we're making text-based wonders and writing down text-based KNOWS, then we should see connections between our KNOW/WONDER columns.

Check out our "aha!" that started out as a new KNOW:

When Auggie's and Via's parents found out that Via hadn't told them about the play, we had wondered if she would tell them WHY she'd kept it secret.   We found out later that she had kept it secret because she didn't want her new school to know about Auggie. We figured out here that she DID end up telling Mom. KNOW!
Here's more info about our KNOW. Then we decided we needed to read back (we read forward and then sometimes read back) to figure out when Via told her mom.; we didn't know for sure, because at this point in the book, Auggie was the narrator.  We had a hunch that the quiet part, when Auggie couldn't hear what Mom and Via were discussing, must have been when Via decided to be honest with her mom.

What's Important in a Text?
With our attention to details, we've discussed and tried to sort out which details are important details now and which details might be important later.

Here's one section of the text we really wondered about:
Yesterday, we put in our WONDER columns that we wondered why the author gave this much space in the book to talking about Miranda's family.  We also WONDERED if this might explain some of Miranda's behavior changes.

We were excited to see in today's reading a new KNOW that came from this WONDER.
Our within-text connections continue!

Photos and text from RJ Palacio's Wonder, Knopf Books, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wonder: Practice Post

Look back at your readers notebook (or just picture it in your mind if you don't have it with you). In the comment section below, share one "know" from our reading of Wonder.  Then tell me what that "know" makes you wonder.  Sign your comment with your first name and your class period.

Follow the guidelines for good commenting that we learned in class today.

***Note: under "profile" choose Anonymous