A. Answering Text-Dependent Questions (10 minutes)
- Distribute Rain School to students. Remind students that they have already heard or read Rain School three times (in Lesson 2): the read-aloud for enjoyment and to get the flow of the story, once on their own and with groups to get the gist of it and find unfamiliar vocabulary, and then with groups to find and record important details and think about the story’s message or lesson.
- Tell students that today they are going to be reading the story Rain School on their own and in groups again. This time, they will answer questions whose answers can only be found inside the text.
- Tell students this process happens in two parts. The first part is finding the evidence in the text that will help answer the question. Discuss the word evidence: “Evidence is something we use to prove an idea we have.” Remind them that yesterday they practiced being reading detectives, and that detectives look for evidence: clues, details to help them figure something out.
- Display the A Question from the Text anchor chart. “How will school be different for Thomas when he starts again in September?” Tell students you will read the whole text, keeping this question in mind, and when you find evidence, you will underline it. Model this process. This can be done by silently reading Rain School in front of the class. Consider exaggerating the reading, scanning with eyes and a finger, whispering some parts aloud, etc. Invite students to read along silently on their own copies. Consider telling students to give a silent signal, like thumbs-up, if they think they found evidence to answer the question.
- Read aloud the section: “Come September, school will start over. Thomas will be a big brother then, leading the children on their first day of school.” Think aloud: “Aha! This part is talking about September, which is in the question. Does it say how things will be different? Well, it says that he will be a big brother then, which will be different for him, because in the story he was the little brother. So I am going to jot down this evidence.” Model writing a paraphrased version of the evidence on a sticky note. Tell students that they will now try this with a few questions on their own.
- Distribute Rain School: Questions from the Text and sticky notes and allow students to begin working independently. As students begin to work, remind them that they should read the questions first, and then jot evidence when they think they have found answers. They are not actually writing answers yet. Circulate and assist students as needed.
- After students have worked for about 10 minutes, pause them and ask them to discuss as a group the evidence they found for each question.
- Remind students that they will be thinking and talking a lot together this year. Tell them that today you will be listening in to see how they are doing with their discussion skills. In the interest of time, consider assigning each group one specific question to discuss.
- Tell students that they will now be using this evidence to write an answer to the questions. Model this process for them by thinking aloud the answer while writing it on the chart. This may sound like: “The question says, ‘How will school be different for Thomas when he starts again in September?’ Well, I’m going to use the words in the question to begin my answer, so I will write, ‘School will be different for Thomas because . . .’ ” Refer back to the evidence in the text: “Oh yeah, the text says, ‘Thomas will be a big brother, leading the other children.’ So I can finish my sentence with: ‘he will now be a big brother instead of a little brother, and he will lead the other children.’ ”
- Direct students back to their Rain School: Questions from the Text, inviting them to try writing answers. Remind them that the first part of the answer came from words in the question, while the second part of the answer came from the evidence in the text. Circulate and support students as they write.
- In this lesson and future close reading lessons, students are directed to write on sticky notes on the text to record unfamiliar words and the gist.
- Consider pairing struggling readers with a stronger reader for this task. Alternatively, consider pulling a small group of students who may not have the fluency, language, or decoding skills to do this task on their own.
- When doing Think-Pair-Share, it is helpful if students are already sitting near a peer with whom they can work well. It is also engaging to add movement to this protocol: an exaggerated gesture of finger on the forehead and eyes closed for thinking and putting bodies knee to knee when pairing up.
C. Vocabulary (20 minutes)
- Students will now work with the words they listed during their second reading of Rain School. Gather students in a circle and tell them that they will now be learning a strategy for when they come across an unknown or difficult word while reading. Read the third learning target, “I can determine the meaning of a word using clues in the text around it.” Ask students if this learning target gives them any ideas of what they will be doing with unknown words. Share ideas as a whole class. (Listen for comments like: “I will try to figure it out from other stuff on the page.”)
- Return to the projected copy of Rain School used in Lesson 2. Remind students about how you had written down the word sapling because the word was unfamiliar. Tell them that you will now go back to that word and try to figure it out its meaning. Tell students that one way to figure out the meaning of a word is to look at other words in the sentence and think about clues the sentence gives you, and then try to replace the word with a word they know.
- On one side of an 8.5” x 11” sheet of white paper, write the sentence: “He gathers grass and saplings with the other children, and they make a roof.” Circle the word sapling. Think aloud the process of using clues in the sentence. “So, Thomas gathers the sapling, so it must be a noun, because it’s a thing he can pick up. Also, he picks it up with the grass, so I’m guessing it might also be a plant. They use it to make a roof, and I’ve seen roofs in pictures made of grass and branches from trees. So I’m thinking that sapling must mean something like branch or small tree.” On the back of the 8.5” x 11” sheet of white paper write “branch” or “small tree.”
- Distribute a 3” x 5” index card to each student. Tell them that they will now choose a word from the unfamiliar words they wrote to repeat this same process. Give students 5 minutes of independent work time to do this with one word. Remind them that on one side they write the whole sentence that the word is in, circling the unknown word. On the other side, they are to write two possible words that it might be similar to.
- Gather students back in the circle. Tell them they are going to play a quick game called Quiz-Quiz-Trade. In this game they will partner up with another student. When the teacher says “quiz,” one student will show their sentence with a word circled. Their partner will then try and guess one of the two words on the reverse side of the card. When the teacher says “quiz” again, the other student will show their sentence. Finally, the teacher will say “trade” and students must trade partners with someone near them. Consider modeling this with one student. Allow students to play Quiz-Quiz-Trade for 5 minutes.