Welcome back to the second part of my series where I’m giving readers a closer look at lesson planning in Room 213. Yesterday, I shared a spoken word poem by Matthew Foley to get my students thinking about being truly “present” in class – as well as to see what they knew about word choice and using mentor texts. We also discussed the logistics of starting reading and writing workshop.
Now, let’s look at the next lesson for my first week of school:
I start with a mini-lesson on how authors use opening lines to draw readers into their books and read the opening paragraphs from some of the books I want to book talk.
This serves two purposes: the paragraphs act as mentor texts for us to discuss as well as a way for me to show the students some of the texts on my shelves.
Next, students read for ten minutes and then respond to a writing prompt where they will be asked to reflect on the opening lines of the novel they are reading and to describe the technique(s) the author uses to pull them in.
I’ll ask them to share this with a partner after they have finished. We do a lot of turn-and-talks to build speaking and listening skills, but this is also a great way to spread interest for other books.
After their chats, they will do another writing prompt, this time, writing the opening lines to the book of their life – or a chapter of it. They might begin at their birth or, perhaps, their first day of high school, or any other significant event in their lives. And I encourage them to use the mentor texts – and the techniques the writers used – as inspiration.
The ideas they generate with this prompt may get used for the beginning of the narrative essays they will have to write in a few weeks. Whether they use it or not, the ideas that we discussed will help them write an engaging intro to the narrative when the time comes.
Next, we’ll revisit yesterday’s writing prompt and use it to start to write a letter to themselves to be read in June. They did an initial reflection on what it means to be truly “present,” and I will ask them to use it as a jumping off point for the letter. This will become a baseline assignment that they will submit to me on Google Classroom and we will use as a reference during our final conferences in January.
You can get all of the details for how that works on this post. Because I’m using it as a baseline, I’m not doing any lessons on word choice yet – I’ll just remind them of the things we discussed yesterday with Matthew Foley’s poem. Most of them won’t finish the letter during class, so I’ll assign it as something that has to be submitted in a few days.
What’s up for Wednesday? Click here to find out!
If you’re interested in the lessons I mentioned in this post, you can get more information by clicking the following:
Literary Elements Mini-Lessons
Reading Workshop Bundle of Activities
Writing the Personal Narrative