We just wrapped up an awesome Book Advertisement project in 5th grade. I snagged the idea from The Common Core Lesson Plan Book by Gretchen Owocki (buy it here). I took the idea of students creating an advertisement for a book and ran with it. Within the advertisement, I wanted my students to focus more on demonstrating their inferences and analysis of the book rather than a summary of what happened.
One of the requirements for the Book Advertisement was to provide two quotes and provide evidence as to how this was important to the entire story. (This goes back to CCSS RL5.1) Needless to say, this was rather tricky for my students. Students were able to find key quotes in the story, but explaining their meaning, purpose, or importance was rather tricky.
I knew they could tell me why it was important, but what was holding them back from writing it down?? For example, I would sit and conference with my students about the quotes chosen in the story. I would ask why this quote is important, what it means to the story as a whole, and so on.. and they would give me beautiful verbal answers! I would, often, exclaim, "YES! That's it! That's what I'm looking for!! Write that!" Then, they would put pencil to paper and look at me and say, "what do I write again?"
I began digging through the internet to find SOMETHING to help my kids get their thinking on paper. Then I stumbled upon Pencils and Pancakes blog post on providing evidence. She gave her middle school students a simple, but extremely wonderful, foldable to help them stretch their thinking. I quickly changed my lesson plans for the morning (yes this was all happening during my plan time at 8:30 AM), and gave it a-go during reading time. This graphic organizer was very powerful for my students in providing evidence and proving to myself and other readers the importance of specific quotations and parts from the story.
To get my students started with this graphic organizer, I modeled my own thinking using our previous read aloud, "Out of My Mind". That book has come in handy quite often! It was the perfect example because all of my students were familiar with the text and could follow my think aloud.
I'm testing out sharing documents via Google Drive (Google Docs), if you click here you can download the graphic organizer my students used to stretch their thinking.
Later this week, I'll share our Book Advertisement project!
Happy last week before the holidays!