I am sure you can all relate...
you are working through a passage with students and want them to annotate a passage. So you pass out the highlighters and the students get busy.
When they are all finished, you establish you now have a colorful passage, but not a full understanding of the passage. We know, as educators, students like to over highlight.
As a teacher, think: What is important for students to highlight and why?
For the sake of my implementation, I decided there were two important factors:
- First, students need to annotate based on genre. For fiction, I wanted students to annotate about the plot elements, character, and setting. For nonfiction, I want students to annotate the GIST (who/what/when/where/why/how).
- Second, I want students to go deep into the text and make inferences and draw conclusions. Therefore, I put an emphasis on Notice and Note Signposts as a way to encourage those deeper annotations.
Have you ever read the short story Flowers and Freckle Cream by Elizabeth Ellis. This is a wonderful story about a little girl who has low self esteem until her grandfather teaches her that everyone is special, even the someone or something with freckles, like the Tiger Lily. This is a great text for the signpost Words of the Wiser. I found this text here.
I have attached my teacher notes for this passage here. It is not the copy I show the students, it is more for me to mark up those spots I will help guide students through. Two quick notes about this in more length. First, this is most likely the first formal lesson I am doing on this sign posts. Therefore I walk students through it pausing and having deep discussions about the Words of the Wiser signpost. This would include key words or phrases that help me identify this as a lesson being taught by an older or wiser person. Second, if I had formally taught this signpost, I would not model this directly. I would allow students to find the Words of the Wiser information and then have them show me what to highlight and annotate.
Once I do the modeled annotation I pose focus questions to get students discussing the text in more detail. This is attached below.
Here are some additional considerations for the story:
- Plot Mountain - Let's face it, is we want students to really learn plot it cannot just be a 'one and done' lesson. After every fiction lesson I teach, I want students to identify the characters, setting, and plot elements. Pictured here is a plot mountain done by students. This template is a word template you can Google and use.
- This is not my own idea, I saw it online but I wanted to share. I believe I found it here. Essentially, it has the students write a three-paragraph essay about the theme of "Flowers and Freckle Cream". Now for my ESL and struggling learners I would use their template. It is a great way to get the students writing. However, for my on-level and beyond students I would expect a 4-paragraph essay that follows this format: Paragraph 1 - Introduce the theme of the text; Paragraph 2 and 3 - one reason per paragraph that explains why the reader feels that is the theme of the text; and paragraph 4- Conclusion/wrap up.
- Getting students to re-enact a story is also a great opportunity for some public speaking and as a way to work on those theater arts standards. There are a couple of parts that could be re-enacted, but since I focus on those signposts, the part that would be re-enacted would be the conversation between Elizabeth and Grandpa.
- Visualization lesson - What do you as a reader visualize in the description of Elizabeth? What do you as a reader visualize in the description of a Tiger Lily flower? What comparisons can you make between your visualizations of Elizabeth and the Tiger Lily?
- Cross Curricular Connections - science and hereditary traits