I’m a big fan of the gradual release model: modeled instruction, guided practice, independent practice. It removes the mystery, gives students a chance to practice in a risk-free way, and then lets them go it alone, once they’ve built some confidence.
Last week I wrote about the “tortoise and the hare” approach that I’m taking toward teaching my Pre-IB class to write strong literary essays. Well, we’re still plodding along on their way to a completely independent (and hopefully ah-mazing essay).
We’ve just competed the first eight chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird, and have discussed the various lessons Lee has been teaching: you need to climb in someone’s skin to understand him, sometimes it’s ok to bend the law, and your class does not define who you are. I decided, on the fly this morning, to use this as an opportunity to do some gradual release.
We had worked on the concept of “bending the law” yesterday, and had collected examples of how and why Lee suggests that this is ok. I wrote a semi-complete paragraph and uploaded it to Google Drive/Classroom. I also added a bunch of instructions: