The students and I are wrapping up our launching unit in reader’s workshop. Last week, we finished our class novel (Wonder by RJ Palacio), discussed some of the BIG Ideas/ Themes by thinking about what the story was REALLY about, and explored symbolism(which is prevalent in this book). At the same time, students have been learning to think deeper about their books. We have talked about the difference between literal comprehension and interpretation and how we can use writing to move from giving a basic summary to commentary (which is demonstrating an ability to interpret a text).
Last week, we began daily 10 minute write about reading sessions. Students can write about their independent texts or our class read aloud. In order to get kids more excited about writing about their reading, we have started a class reading blog. Each day, 5 students have the option to blog as opposed to writing in their notebooks. This also gives them an opportunity to view someone else thinking and provide feedback and engage in digital accountable talk.
This week, I introduced them to a writing strategy that will help them construct arguments about the books they are reading and support those arguments with examples and evidence from the text. Today, students chose a theme or symbol (from our class charts) that really stood out to them and applied the PEEL strategy. This strategy encourages deeper, more powerful thinking and shows students the importance of supporting their ideas with text-based evidence and examples.