Preparing to Write about a Literary Text: Gathering and Organizing Evidence | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G4:M1:U2:L3

Preparing to Write about a Literary Text: Gathering and Organizing Evidence

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RL.4.1: Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • RL.4.3: Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).
  • W.4.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • W.4.2a: Introduce a topic clearly and group related information in paragraphs and sections; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

Daily Learning Targets

  • I can describe what inspired Jack to write poetry using evidence from his thoughts, words, and actions. (RL.4.1, RL.4.3)
  • I can write a focus statement that clearly states what inspired Jack to write poetry. (W.4.2a)

Ongoing Assessment

  • Gist of each page on sticky notes in Love That Dog
  • What Happens and How Does Jack Feel about It? anchor chart (RL.4.1, RL.4.3)
  • Focus statement (W.4.2a)

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Reading Aloud and Finding the Gist: Love That Dog, Pages 73-86 (15 minutes)

B. Analyzing a Model Paragraph (15 minutes)

C. Guided Practice: Writing a Focus Statement (15 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Back-to-Back and Face-to-Face: Sharing Our Work (10 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt and respond in the front of your independent reading journal.

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards:

  • In this lesson, students finish reading Love That Dog and begin planning an informative paragraph to answer the question: "What inspires Jack to write poetry, and where can you see evidence of this in his poetry?" (RL.4.3). In Work Time B, students analyze a model paragraph using the criteria from the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment prompt (W.4.2). After examining the model, students craft a focus statement for their paragraph (W.4.2a).
  • In this lesson, the habit of character focus is on working to become an effective learner. Students are reminded of perseverance as they analyze an informational paragraph for the first time.
  • Students practice their fluency in this lesson by following along and reading silently as the teacher reads excerpts from Love That Dog in Work Time A.
  • The research reading that students complete for homework will help build both their vocabulary and knowledge pertaining to poetry and what inspires people to write. By participating in this volume of reading over a span of time, students will develop a wide base of knowledge about the world and the words that help describe and make sense of it.

How it builds on previous work:

  • In Unit 1, students began thinking about what inspired Jack to write poetry. In this lesson, students continue thinking about that and begin to plan an informative paragraph about what inspired Jack.
  • Throughout Unit 1, students were introduced to various total participation techniques (for example, cold calling, equity sticks, Think-Pair-Share, etc.). When following the directive to "Use a total participation technique, invite responses from the group," use one of these techniques or another familiar technique to encourage all students to participate.
  • Continue to use Goal 1 Conversation Cues to promote productive and equitable conversation.

Areas in which students may need additional support:

  • Students may need additional support with developing a focus statement. Consider providing a sentence frame (e.g., "Jack was inspired by _____, and you can see this in his poetry.").

Assessment guidance:

  • Listen to student book discussions to identify common issues that can be used as whole group teaching points against the criteria recorded on the Discussion Norms anchor chart.
  • Consider using the Writing Informal Assessment: Writing and Language Skills Checklist (Grade 4) during students' writing in Work Time C. See the Tools page.

Down the road:

  • Students will use the focus statement drafted in this lesson to write a paragraph as part of the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment in the next lesson.
  • Students will choose evidence to include in their paragraphs from the What Inspires Poets to Write Poetry? note-catcher before taking the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment in the next lesson.
  • The color-coding that students use in this lesson is the same as the colors they will use in The Painted Essay (r) in the second half of this unit.

In Advance

  • Review the Thumb-O-Meter and Back-to-Back and Face-to-Face protocols. See Classroom Protocols.
  • Post: Learning targets, Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart, and What Happens and How Does Jack Feel about It? anchor chart.

Tech and Multimedia

  • Work Time A: Students annotate the text on a word-processing document--for example, a Google Doc.
  • Work Time A: For students who will benefit from hearing the text read aloud multiple times, consider using a text-to-speech tool such as Natural Reader, SpeakIt! for Google Chrome, or the Safari reader. Note that to use a web-based text-to-speech tool such as SpeakIt! or Safari reader, you will need to create an online doc, such as a Google Doc, containing the text.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 4.I.B.6, 4.II.A.1, and 4.II.A.2

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs by repeating the pattern of analysis of Love That Dog using the What Happens and How Does Jack Feel about It? anchor chart. In preparation for the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment, students analyze and color-code a model paragraph and craft a focus statement to use in the assessment that describes Jack's inspiration for writing poetry.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to analyze a model paragraph in Work Time B. Encourage them to persevere as they read and think about the paragraph. Turn this into a kinesthetic activity by copying the introduction and focus statement onto a piece of chart paper and the details and evidence sentences (underlined in yellow) onto separate sentence strips. Include a distractor sentence, such as Jack writes a lot of poems. Read each sentence aloud and invite students to paste the sentences that provide evidence for the focus statement onto the chart, and to crumple up the sentence that does not provide evidence.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • During Work Time A, challenge students to generate questions about the key sentence from Love That Dog before asking the prepared questions. (Example: "What questions can we ask about this sentence? Let's see if we can answer them together.")

For heavier support:

  • During Work Time A, consider providing students with the gist of the first three journal entries on sticky notes. As partners read and discuss, invite them to match the gist represented in those journal entries, and to write the gist in the last four journal entries.
  • During Work Time A, turn the What Happens and How Does Jack Feel about It? anchor chart into a kinesthetic activity. Copy descriptions for each section of the chart onto separate strips. Students can paste the descriptions into each column on the chart.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiples Means of Representation (MMR): In the basic structure of this lesson, you will color-code sections of the model informational paragraph to help differentiate each component. Consider carrying this visualization tool into the guided practice section by color-coding the paragraph created by the class. This will help students to generalize their skills.
  • Multiples Means of Action and Expression (MMAE): Because this is the first time students write informative paragraphs, consider how to reduce the complexity of the tasks. For instance, during the guided practice portion, some students may benefit from identifying focus statements versus generating them on their own. Consider providing examples and non-examples of focus statements where students need to circle the examples.
  • Multiples Means of Engagement (MME): Some students may feel frustrated or overwhelmed because informative paragraph writing is a new skill that they are developing. Remind them that they will have multiple opportunities to practice and build their skills over the unit. You do not expect them to be perfect right away but to show effort and growth.

Vocabulary

Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T); Vocabulary Used in Writing (W)

  • persevere, analyze, focus, focus statement (L)

Materials

  • Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart (begun in Lesson 1)
  • Love That Dog (from Unit 1, Lesson 2; one per student)
  • Equity sticks (class set; one per student)
  • Sticky notes (eight per student)
  • What Happens and How Does Jack Feel about It? anchor chart (begun in Unit 1, Lesson 2; added to during Work Time A)
  • What Happens and How Does Jack Feel about It? anchor chart (example, for teacher reference)
  • Mid-Unit 2 Assessment prompt (one per student; see Assessment Overview and Resources)
  • What Inspires Poets to Write Poetry? note-catcher (from Unit 1, Lesson 10; one per student and one to display)
  • Model informative paragraph (one per student and one to display)
  • Annotated model informative paragraph (for teacher reference)
  • Red, green, and yellow markers (one of each per student)

Assessment

Each unit in the 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

  • Direct students' attention to the learning targets and select volunteers to read them aloud:

"I can describe what inspired Jack to write poetry using evidence from his thoughts, words, and actions."

"I can write a focus statement that clearly states what inspired Jack to write poetry."

  • Remind students that throughout Unit 1 they considered what inspires Jack to write poetry. Tell students that today they will finish reading Love That Dog and begin to plan a paragraph that explains what inspired Jack to write poetry.
  • Direct students' attention to the Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart. Ask:

"What does it mean to persevere?" (You challenge yourself and when something is difficult, you keep trying and ask for help if you need it.)

  • Tell students that after they finish reading Love That Dog they will analyze a model paragraph to see what makes it a strong paragraph. Point out that this is the first time they have analyzed an informative paragraph this year, and that it may be challenging so they will need to persevere as they work.
  • Remind students that even though the informative paragraph may be challenging, they will have additional opportunities to practice and improve throughout this lesson. Emphasize growth over relative performance. (MME)
  • For ELLs: Ask students to recall any of Jack's thoughts, words, or actions that show his inspirations for writing poetry so far.
  • For ELLs: Reread the second learning target, underline focus statement, and explain that a focus statement is a sentence that describes a topic. Underline clearly states and ask:

"What is another way to say clearly states?" (describes in a way that's easy to understand)

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reading Aloud and Finding the Gist: Love That Dog, Pages 73-86 (15 minutes)

  • Invite students to retrieve their copy of Love That Dog and turn to page 73. Invite students to follow along, reading silently in their heads as you read pages 73-86 aloud.
  • Read this section of text, including the chapter titles and verse, slowly, fluently, and without interruption.
  • Invite students to turn and talk with an elbow partner, and use equity sticks to select students to share out:
    • "What do you know from this section of the book?" (Responses will vary, but may include: Walter Dean Myers visits Jack's school and Jack is very inspired by the visit.)
  • Focus students on page 73 and read it aloud again, inviting students to read it aloud with you.
  • Invite students to turn and talk with an elbow partner, and use equity sticks to select students to share out:
    • "What is the gist of this page? What is it mostly about?" (Jack thinks posting "My Sky" on the board for his classmates to read will make them feel sad.)
  • Distribute and invite students to record this on sticky notes.
  • Invite students to work with their partner to reread this section and to discuss the gist of each journal entry on pages 74-86. Remind students that the gist doesn't have to be written in full sentences. It can be just a few words to explain what the text is mostly about or sketches with labels, as long as they can read and understand what they have recorded.
  • Circulate to support students in rereading and finding the gist.
  • After 10 minutes, refocus the whole group and use equity sticks to select students to share the gist of each journal entry. Listen for:
    • Page 74: Jack puts his name on his displayed "My Sky."
    • Pages 75-76: Jack finds out Walter Dean Myers is coming to visit his school.
    • Pages 77-78: Jack and his classmates are writing lots of poems and reading lots of books to prepare for Walter Dean Myers's visit.
    • Page 79: Jack is excited about Walter Dean Myers's visit but is worried that Mr. Myers will be offended by his poem.
    • Pages 80-81: Jack loved meeting Walter Dean Myers and was very inspired by his visit.
    • Pages 82-85: Jack writes a thank you letter to Walter Dean Myers.
    • Page 86: Jack writes a poem about Sky that is inspired by "Love That Boy."
  • Focus students on the What Happens and How Does Jack Feel about It? anchor chart.
  • Invite students to turn and talk with their partner about the following questions, and use equity sticks to select students to share with the whole group. As students share out, capture their responses on the What Happens and How Does Jack Feel about It? anchor chart. Refer to What Happens and How Does Jack Feel about It? anchor chart (example, for teacher reference) as necessary.
    • "What happens in this section?" (Walter Dean Myers visits Jack's school.)
    • "How does Jack feel about it? What can you infer from what he says?" (Jack is very happy to meet Walter Dean Myers and is inspired by his visit.)
    • "How do you know?" (He writes, "...all of the blood in my veins was bubbling and all of the thoughts in my head were buzzing and I wanted to keep Mr. Walter Dean Myers at our school forever" and writes, "Thank you a hundred million times for leaving your work and your family and your things-people-have-to-do to come and visit us in our school in our class.")
  • Tell students they are now going to use the Thumb-O-Meter protocol to reflect on their progress toward the learning targets. Remind them that they used this protocol in the previous lesson and review as necessary. Refer to the Classroom Protocols document for the full version of the protocol. Direct students' attention to the learning targets and read them aloud.
  • Guide students through the Thumb-O-Meter protocol using the learning targets. Scan student responses and make a note of students who may need more support with this moving forward.
  • Provide differentiated mentors by purposefully pre-selecting student partnerships. Consider coaching the mentors to engage with their partners and share their thought process. (MMAE)
  • For students who may need additional support with reading comprehensive: Consider doing a think-aloud of one example to show your thought process before having students work in pairs. (MMR)
  • Consider reducing the complexity of this initial task by providing students with pre-written sticky notes that they can match to the appropriate column instead of generating the answer on their own. (MMAE)
  • For students who may feel uncomfortable sharing their progress on meeting the learning targets publicly: Minimize risk by providing students with a sheet of paper where they can select a color for each learning target in private. This provides you with useful data for future instruction and helps students monitor their own learning. (MME)
  • For ELLs: Ask students about the meaning of chunks from a key sentence of Love That Dog, pages 80-81. Write and display student responses next to the chunks. Example:
    • "Place your finger on the sentence: 'All of the blood in my veins was bubbling and all of the thoughts in my head were buzzing and I wanted to keep Mr. Walter Dean Myers at our school forever.'" Read the sentence aloud as students follow along.
    • "What is the gist of this sentence?" (Jack is excited to have Walter Dean Myers at his school.)
    • "What do you think Jack means when he says all of the blood in my veins was bubbling?" (Jack feels the excitement under his skin and in his body.)
    • "What do you think Jack means when he says all of the thoughts in my head were buzzing?" (He had so many thoughts making noise in his head.)
    • "What does I wanted to keep Walter Dean Myers at our school forever tell you about how Jack is feeling?" (He never wants Walter Dean Myers to leave.)
    • "How does your understanding of this sentence change your understanding of pages 80-81?" (Responses will vary, but may include: It helped me picture how excited Jack was to have Walter Dean Myers at his school.)

B. Analyzing a Model Paragraph (15 minutes)

  • Distribute and display the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment prompt. Read it aloud and answer clarifying questions.
  • Invite students to retrieve their What Inspires Poets to Write Poetry? note-catchers and remind students that they have captured the notes they need to write this paragraph throughout Units 1 and 2.
  • Distribute and display the model informative paragraph and red, green, and yellow markers. Read the paragraph aloud for students. Point out that this paragraph answers the prompt using evidence from Love That Dog.
  • Tell students they will analyze this paragraph to see what makes it a strong informational paragraph. Ask:

"What does it mean to analyze a text?" (to examine or study it closely)

  • Record analyze on the Academic Word Wall. Invite students to add a translation of the word in their home languages in a different color next to the target vocabulary.
  • Focus students on the on the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment prompt and point to first criterion of the informative paragraph:
    • "Introduces the book and the author and briefly explains what the book is about."
  • Invite students to work with an elbow partner to identify evidence of this criterion in the model and to underline it in red marker.
  • Select volunteers to share their response with the whole group and underline it in red marker on the displayed model. Refer to the annotated model informative paragraph (for teacher reference) as necessary.
  • Repeat with the second criterion:
    • "Clearly states a focus about what inspired Jack and stays focused throughout the piece."
  • Invite students to work with an elbow partner to identify evidence of this criterion in the model and to underline it in green marker.
  • Select volunteers to share their response with the whole group and underline it in green marker on the displayed model. Refer to the annotated model informative paragraph (for teacher reference) as necessary.
  • Repeat with the third criterion:
    • "Uses accurate and relevant details and examples to develop the topic, and Includes details from Jack's poems and explains how each detail is evidence of what inspired Jack."
  • Display and focus students on their What Inspires Poets to Write Poetry? note-catcher and explain that all of the information they need to write their paragraphs is included on this chart. As a group, underline in yellow marker the information on this chart pertaining to the third criterion.
  • Invite students to work with an elbow partner to identify evidence of this criterion in the model and to underline it in yellow marker.
  • Select volunteers to share their response with the whole group and underline it in yellow marker on the displayed model. Refer to the annotated model informative paragraph (for teacher reference) as necessary.
  • Repeat with the fourth criterion:
    • "Provides a concluding sentence that restates the focus."
  • Invite students to work with an elbow partner to identify evidence of this criterion in the model and to underline it in green marker.
  • Select volunteers to share their response with the whole group and underline it in green marker on the displayed model. Refer to the annotated model informative paragraph (for teacher reference) as necessary.
  • For ELLs: Display, read aloud, and sketch the criteria for a well-written paragraph to provide written reinforcement. Invite students to color-code each criterion on their own copies of the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment prompt.
  • For ELLs: To clarify, consider asking students about the language of each criterion:

"What does it mean to briefly explain what the book is about?" (It means to use only a few words to tell what happens in the book.)

  • For ELLs: In addition to color-coding each sentence on the model informative paragraph, consider annotating, illustrating, and labeling the model paragraph. Invite students to make similar notes in the margins of their own copies. (Example: Write "Intro: Introduces the book, the author, and what the book is about" next to the introduction sentence.)

C. Guided Practice: Writing a Focus Statement (15 minutes)

  • Focus students on the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment prompt and point out the second criterion of the informative paragraph:
    • "Clearly states a focus about what inspired Jack and stays focused throughout the piece."
  • Underline stays focused throughout the piece. Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:
    • "What does it mean to have a focus in writing?" (to have a topic)
    • "Why should the writing be focused throughout the piece?" (It should be focused so the reader doesn't get confused while he or she is reading, or it should stay on the same topic.)
  • Focus students on the What Inspires Poets to Write Poetry? note-catcher and read aloud the focus question at the top:
    • "What inspires Jack to write poetry, and where can you see evidence of this in his poetry?
  • Explain that writers include a focus statement in the introduction of their writing to tell the reader what he or she will be reading about, and that it is brief and to the point and answers the focus question.
  • Ask students to discuss with an elbow partner, then cold call a few students to share out. As students share out, write their examples on the board:

"What inspires Jack to write poetry?" (Jack is inspired by things that happen in his classroom; Jack is inspired by his dog, Sky; Jack is inspired by other poets.)

  • Display the model informative paragraph and identify the focus statement. Point out that the model paragraph is about how Jack was inspired by things that happened in the classroom. Tell students they will have a choice for the paragraphs they will write for the mid-unit assessment: They can write about how Jack was inspired by his dog, Sky, or write about how Jack was inspired by other poets.
  • Write the focus statement from the model informative paragraph below the focus question on the displayed What Inspires Poets to Write Poetry? note-catcher. Tell students to leave their note-catchers blank for now.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"How can we say this focus statement in a different way?" (Responses will vary, but may include: Jack was inspired by things that happened in his classroom; Jack was inspired by many things when writing poetry, like things that happened in his classroom.)

  • Invite students to write a focus statement for their own piece and to share it with a partner, writing the focus statement below the focus question on their What Inspires Writers to Write Poetry? note-catcher, reminding students that the focus of their paragraph will be slightly different from the model informative paragraph.
  • Circulate to support students as they write their focus statements.
  • After 5 minutes, refocus whole group and tell students that in the next lesson as part of the mid-unit assessment, they will have a chance to use the evidence they have been collecting to write a paragraph explaining what inspires Jack and sharing evidence of his inspiration in his poetry.
  • To enhance comprehension and activate prior knowledge, repeat the color coordination activity from the annotated model informative paragraph (for teacher reference) in the previous section with the paragraph created in the guided practice. (MMR)
  • Before students discuss their focus statements, remind them that the focus statement is color-coded green. (MMR)
  • For students who may need additional support with writing a focus statement: Consider providing an additional activity with examples and non-examples of focus statements where they have to identify the focus statements by circling them. This will help build their skills in order to write one independently. (MMAE)
  • For ELLs: Be aware that ELLs may be unfamiliar with the concept of a focus statement. Point out that the United States places a high value on having and keeping a focus (topic) while writing, and that students will need to do this when they write their informative paragraphs.
  • For ELLs: Ask students about the meaning of chunks from the focus statement in the model paragraph. Write and display student responses next to the chunks. Example:
    • "Place your finger on the sentence: "Jack was inspired by things that happened in his classroom and you can see this in his poetry." Read the sentence aloud as students follow along.
    • "Place your finger on the word and. I wonder why Jack uses this word." (to signal that he is going to tell us more about Jack's inspiration)
    • "Place your finger on you can see this. What does this refer to?" (to the first part of the sentence: that Jack was inspired by things that happened in his class.)
    • "Where can you see Jack's inspiration?" (in his poetry)
    • "Can you say this sentence in your own words? (Jack writes poems about things that happened in his classroom.)
  • For ELLs: Invite more proficient students to create templates with cloze versions of a focus statement. For heavier support, allow students who need prompting or who may be overwhelmed to choose one of the templates when writing their focus statements. Examples:
    • "One of Jack's inspirations for writing poetry is ________."
    • "Jack is inspired to write poetry by ______."
    • "Jack is inspired by ______ and you can see this in his poetry."

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Back-to-Back and Face-to-Face: Sharing Our Work (10 minutes)

  • Tell students they are going to share evidence to support the focus statement they wrote in Work Time C using the Back-to-Back and Face-to-Face protocol.
  • Have students find a partner and stand back-to-back with each other, being respectful of space.
  • Ask students the following question and give them 30 seconds to consider how they will respond:

"What inspires Jack to write poetry? Where is this seen in his poetry?"

  • If productive, cue students to expand the conversation by saying more:

"Can you say more about that?" (Responses will vary.)

  • Invite students to turn face-to-face to share their responses.
  • Have students repeat this process with a new partner, using the same question.
  • Ask students to return to their seats.
  • Tell students they are now going to use the Thumb-O-Meter protocol to reflect their comfort level with answering the focus question ("What inspires Jack to write poetry, and where can you see evidence of this in his poetry?"). Remind them that they used this protocol in the previous lesson and review as necessary. Refer to the Classroom Protocols document for the full version of the protocol.
  • Guide students through the Thumb-O-Meter protocol using the focus question. Note students showing a thumb-sideways or thumb-down, so you can check in with them.
  • Repeat, inviting students to self-assess against how well they persevered in this lesson.
  • For students who may feel uncomfortable sharing their progress on meeting the learning targets publicly: Minimize risk by providing students with a sheet of paper where they can select a color for each learning target in private. This provides you with useful data for future instruction and helps students monitor their own learning. (MME)
  • For ELLs: Encourage students to refer to the What Inspires Poets to Write Poetry? anchor chart when sharing evidence to support their focus statements. Remind them that evidence of Jack's inspirations is underlined in yellow marker on the chart.

Homework

HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs

A. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt and respond in the front of your independent reading journal.

  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with reading and writing: Refer to the suggested homework support in Lesson 1. (MMAE, MMR)

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