Introducing “Comprehending the Calamity" | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G6:M3A:U2:L2

Introducing “Comprehending the Calamity"

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can analyze how key individuals, events, or ideas are developed throughout a text. (RI.6.3)
  • I can use a variety of strategies to determine word meaning in informational texts. (RI.6.4)

Supporting Targets

  • I can find the gist of the earthquake excerpt of "Comprehending the Calamity."
  • I can determine the meaning of unfamiliar words and phrases in the earthquake excerpt of "Comprehending the Calamity."
  • I can explain how Emma Burke introduces, illustrates, and elaborates on the 1906 San Francisco earthquake in "Comprehending the Calamity."

Ongoing Assessment

  • Structured notes

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Engaging the Reader: Pages 156-170 of Dragonwings (5 minutes)

B. Unpacking Learning Targets (4 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Introducing the Earthquake Excerpt of "Comprehending the Calamity" (5 minutes)

B. Finding the Gist and Identifying Vocabulary: The Earthquake Excerpt of "Comprehending the Calamity (14 minutes)

C. Determining the Meaning of Unfamiliar Words and Phrases (7 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Analyzing How Emma Burke Introduces, Illustrates, and Elaborates on the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake (10 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Read Dragonwings, Chapter 8:  "Earth, Wind, and Water." Use evidence flags to identify three text details from Chapter 8, then answer the focus question in your structured notes using textual evidence

  • The primary focus of this half of the unit is how point of view is conveyed in informational texts, addressing RI.6.6. Students analyze the point of view of different aspects of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake in a primary source document, "Comprehending the Calamity."
  • Each excerpt of the text is addressed in a two-lesson cycle. In the first lesson of the cycle, students read an excerpt of the text for gist and analyze how Emma Burke introduces, illustrates, and elaborates on the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. In the second lesson, students analyze the excerpt for point of view.
  • The focus in this excerpt is the actual earthquake.
  • Remind students at appropriate points throughout the lesson that the activities in Lessons 2-5 will support their success on the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment in Lesson 6.
  • Post: Learning targets.

Vocabulary

gist, illustrates, elaborate, comprehending, calamity, domain-specific vocabulary, attorney, entirety, fortunate, figurative language, arisen, occupied, descended, hurled, footboard, commenced, casing, distinguished, marine, mutual, utmost, momentarily

Materials

  • Unit 2 word-catcher (from Lesson 1; may need additional copies)
  • Document camera
  • Earthquake excerpt of "Comprehending the Calamity" (one per student and one to display)
  • Equity sticks
  • Introducing, Illustrating, and Elaborating anchor chart (new; teacher-created; see supporting materials)
  • Introducing, Illustrating, and Elaborating anchor chart for earthquake excerpt of "Comprehending the Calamity" (answers, for teacher reference)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Engaging the Reader: Pages 156-170 of Dragonwings (5 minutes)

  • Remind students that for homework they read pages 156-170. Ask students to discuss in triads:

*   "What happens in the rest of Chapter 7?"

  • Cold call students to share their responses with the whole group. Listen for students to explain that Moon Shadow and Windrider flew their glider while Robin tagged along. Later, Moon Shadow and Robin discussed dragons and started becoming friends as Robin promised to help Moon Shadow read some of her favorite books. Robin and Miss Whitlaw gave Moon Shadow some reading and writing lessons. Moon Shadow wrote to the Wright brothers and they responded by sending him tables and diagrams for building an airplane.
  • Remind students of the homework point-of-view focus question.

*    "In the rest of Chapter 7, the two cultures--Tang and demon--are beginning to learn about each other's way of life. How does Moon Shadow begin to "fit in" to the demon culture in this chapter?"

  • Invite students to share the evidence they recorded on their structured notes in a Concentric Circles protocol:
  1.  Split the group in half. Have half the group make a circle facing out.
  2. Have the other half make a circle around them facing in.
  3. Invite students on the inside circle to share their answer with the person opposite them on the outside circle.
  4. Invite students on the outside circle to do the same.
  5. After they have shared, invite students on the inside circle to move two people to the right and repeat.
  6. Repeat until students have spoken to three different people.
  7. Select volunteers to share their evidence with the whole group.
  • Opening the lesson by asking students to share their homework makes them accountable for completing it. It also gives you the opportunity to monitor which students are not doing their homework.

 

B. Unpacking Learning Targets (4 minutes)

  • Invite students to read the learning targets with you:

*    "I can find the gist of the earthquake excerpt of 'Comprehending the Calamity.'"

*    "I can determine the meaning of unfamiliar words and phrases in the earthquake excerpt of 'Comprehending the Calamity.'"

*    "I can explain how Emma Burke introduces, illustrates, and elaborates on the 1906 San Francisco earthquake in 'Comprehending the Calamity.'"

  • Remind students that reading for the gist is something that they have done many times with many different texts. Also remind them that it means they will be reading each paragraph to determine what it is mostly about.
  • Ask students to discuss in triads:

*    "What does illustrates mean?"

  • Select volunteers to share their responses. Listen for students to explain that "illustrates" can mean "draws," like book illustrations, but in writing it can also mean "explains something." Tell students that just like when you draw a scene to explain in pictures what is happening, when you illustrate in words you do the same thing--you explain so the reader has a really good understanding of the event.
  • Ask students to discuss in triads:

*    "What does elaborate mean?"

  • Select volunteers to share their responses. Listen for students to explain that elaborate means "to add more detail."
  • Invite students to record new words on their Unit 2 word-catchers.
  • Learning targets are a research-based strategy that helps all students, especially challenged learners.
  • Posting learning targets allows students to reference them throughout the lesson to check their understanding. The learning targets also provide a reminder to students and teachers about the intended learning behind a given lesson or activity.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Introducing the Earthquake Excerpt of "Comprehending the Calamity" (5 minutes)

  • Invite students to sit with their triads. Direct their attention to the document camera. Display and distribute the earthquake excerpt of "Comprehending the Calamity." Invite students to read the title with you. Ask students to discuss in their triads:

*    "What does comprehending mean?"

*    "What does calamity mean?"

  • Cold call students to share their responses with the whole group. Listen for students to explain that comprehending means "understanding," and a calamity is some kind of disaster. Explain that as this unit and Unit 3 are about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, calamity is a domain-specific vocabulary word, which means that it is a word specific to the topic being studied. Invite students to circle any domain-specific vocabulary words already recorded on their word-catchers. Remind students that these will be words about earthquakes or fires.
  • Invite students to record new words on their word-catchers.
  • Invite students to follow along silently as you read the information about Emma M. Burke in italics at the very beginning of the report. Ask students to discuss in their triads:

*    "What do you know about Emma M. Burke from this short paragraph?"

  • Select volunteers to share their ideas with the whole group. Listen for students to explain that she was the wife of an attorney in San Francisco.
  • Ask students to discuss in triads:

*    "What is an attorney?"

  • Consider using equity sticks to select students to share their responses with the whole group. Students may struggle with this one, so you may need to explain that an attorney is a lawyer. Ask students:

*    "Is this domain-specific vocabulary to earthquakes and fires?"

  • Cold call students to share their responses. Listen for: "No, it isn't domain-specific vocabulary to this particular topic."
  • Asking students to identify challenging vocabulary helps them monitor their understanding of a complex text.
  • Hearing a complex text read slowly, fluently, and without interruption or explanation promotes fluency for students: They are hearing a strong reader read the text aloud with accuracy and expression, and are simultaneously looking at and thinking about the words on the printed page. Be sure to set clear expectations that students follow along silently as you read the text aloud.
  • ELLs may be unfamiliar with more vocabulary words than are mentioned in this lesson. Check for comprehension of general words that most students would know.

B. Finding the Gist and Identifying Vocabulary: Earthquake Excerpt of "Comprehending the Calamity" (14 minutes)

  • Invite students to follow along silently with you as you read the excerpt aloud.
  • Then ask students to silently reread Paragraph 1 for the gist. Ask them to discuss in triads:

*    "What is the gist of this paragraph?"

  • Select students to share their responses. Listen for them to explain that it is mostly about how the earthquake was difficult to understand because it was so bad, but that Emma was lucky because no one in her house was injured or killed.
  • Invite students to circle any unfamiliar words in the first paragraph. Select volunteers to share the unfamiliar words they circled and circle them on your displayed text. Ensure the following are circled: entirety and fortunate. Explain that you will come back to the unfamiliar words later.
  • Invite students to find the gist and circle any unfamiliar vocabulary in each of the remaining paragraphs of the excerpt. Remind students to discuss the gist with their triads before recording it in the margin.
  • Circulate and support students as they read. For those who need more support, ask them to practice telling you the gist of a section before they write it in the margin.
  • Refocus whole group. Consider using equity sticks to select students to share the gist of the remaining paragraphs.
  • Reviewing academic vocabulary words benefits all students by developing academic language. Consider allowing students to grapple with a complex text prior to explicit teaching of vocabulary. After students have read for gist, they can identify challenging vocabulary for themselves. Teachers can address student-selected vocabulary as well as predetermined vocabulary upon subsequent encounters with the text. However, in some cases and with some students, pre-teaching selected vocabulary may be necessary.

C. Determining the Meaning of Unfamiliar Words and Phrases (7 minutes)

  • Focus students on the word entirety in the first paragraph. Cover the "-ty" in the word. Ask students:

*    "What does the word 'entire' mean?"

  • Select volunteers to share their responses. Listen for students to explain that entire means "everything."

*    "So what does the phrase 'No one can comprehend the calamity to San Francisco in its entirety' mean?"

  • Cold call students to share their responses. Listen for students to explain that it means no one could understand everything that had happened in the disaster because it was so big.
  • Invite students to record this word on their word-catcher.
  • Ask students:

*    "Is this a domain-specific vocabulary word? Is it specific to the topic of earthquakes?"

  • Cold call students to share their responses. Listen for: "No, it isn't a domain-specific vocabulary word."
  • Invite students to focus on the word "fortunate." Ask students:

*    "Read around the word. What word could you use instead of fortunate in this sentence?"

  • Select volunteers to share their responses. Listen for students to suggest something like "lucky"' instead.

*    "So thinking about the word you substituted for 'fortunate,' what do you think 'fortunate' might mean?"

  • Cold call students to share their responses. Listen for students to explain that it means lucky.
  • Invite students to focus on the phrase "for neither personal injury nor death visited my household." Ask students to discuss in triads:

*    "What does she mean here? Does she mean that there are people called personal injury and death and that none of them visited her house?"

*    "What kind of language is this?"

  • Select volunteers to share their responses. Listen for students to explain that she means that no one in her house was injured or died and that this is figurative language.
  • If there are any other words students circled as unfamiliar, depending on the time you have available, either:

-   Invite other students to tell them the meaning.

-   Invite them to look the words up in the dictionary.

-   Tell them what the word means.

  • Words students may struggle with include: arisen, occupied, descended, hurled, footboard, commenced, casing, distinguished, marine, mutual, utmost, and momentarily.
  • Remind students to record new words on their word-catcher.

 

  • Asking students to identify challenging vocabulary helps them to monitor their understanding of a complex text. When students annotate the text by circling these words it can also provide a formative assessment for the teacher.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Analyzing How Emma Burke Introduces, Illustrates, and Elaborates on the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake (10 minutes)

  • Reread the learning target:

*    "I can explain how Emma Burke introduces, illustrates, and elaborates on the 1906 San Francisco earthquake in 'Comprehending the Calamity.'"

  • Introduce the Introducing, Illustrating, and Elaborating anchor chart. Ask students to reread the first paragraph of the excerpt and discuss in triads:

*    "How does Emma Burke introduce the earthquake?"

  • Consider using equity sticks to select students to share their responses. Record responses in the first column on the anchor chart. See the Introducing, Illustrating, and Elaborating anchor chart for earthquake excerpt of "Comprehending the Calamity" (answers, for teacher reference) to guide you in what the completed anchor chart should look like.
  • Ask students to reread the rest of the excerpt again and discuss in triads:

*    "How does Emma Burke illustrate the earthquake? How does she explain the earthquake so that we have a clear idea of what happened?"

  • Select volunteers to share their responses. Record responses in the second column on the anchor chart.
  • Ask students to discuss in triads:

*    "How does Emma Burke elaborate on the earthquake? How does she add more detail to the step-by-step explanation of what happened from the beginning until the end of the earthquake?"

  • Cold call students to share their responses. Record responses in the third column on the anchor chart.
  • Anchor charts are a way to synthesize and capture valuable whole group thinking that can be built upon and referred to in later lessons.

Homework

Homework
  • Read Dragonwings, Chapter 8:  "Earth, Wind, and Water." Use evidence flags to identify three text details from Chapter 8, then answer the focus question in your structured notes using textual evidence:

*    Throughout this whole chapter, the Tang culture and the demon culture intermix as the characters do things together. What are some things the characters learn they have in common as human beings, regardless of their different cultures?

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