Students will be able to identify an author’s main idea in an informational text.
This past Saturday my husband and I were at Walmart shopping for the Super Bowl (i.e. we had a cart full of beer) when one of my students passed us with her dad. She said, “Hi Mrs. H!” I said hello back, and we kept walking our respective directions. On Monday in class, she walked in and said, “I saw you at Walmart this weekend!”
This wouldn’t be a big deal, except that I was pretty darn certain this student hated my guts. She’s one of the group who I keep returning papers to because she only does 70% of the work. Literally, she will sit and calculate how many questions get her to pass, and she only does those – knowing she’ll get all of them right. She sighs heavily and rolls her eyes and says, “Really? Do I have to?” a lot. The point being, she could have easily walked by me at Walmart and not said hi, and I wouldn’t have even seen her. But she said hi. And then mentioned it in front of people on Monday. If she really hated me, then she would have been too embarrassed to admit to seeing me outside of school. But she didn’t; this was actually a highlight of my weekend. In addition to finally taking down our Christmas decorations – before Lent starts.
This week we’re busting into informational texts – woo hoo! Actually, this has become rather my pet project. I often listen to talk shows or am reading the internet or the newspaper and I find something I think is really cool and I want to share it; however, I’m not a huge fan of sharing things on Facebook (especially political things), so I now have a new venue: my 132 students. Monday they read a really neat Wall Street Journal editorial detailing the formation of the militia in the 1770s, within the context of the current debate on the second amendment and gun control. My favorite part of the article detailed a militia contract from 1774 in Kent County, RI; the author summarized the contract as saying, “You and Bill and I hereby agree to make an army, and let’s meet at Bill’s house to practice.” Basically members of a militia became a militia due to a social contract – they weren’t members because they had guns, or because the government told them they were members. Students read the article first, then tried to state the main idea the author was trying to make.
We also read through President Obama’s 23 Executive Orders he signed last week; everyone assumed the main idea was that he wanted to take away everyone’s guns. It turns out that most of his orders regarded information sharing or campaigns for gun safety. The point was, students have to read everything all the way through to know the main idea. This applies on the standardized tests, but it also applies a LOT in life – the students correctly pointed out that misreading a contract can get you in a lot of trouble. We ended class with a math lesson detailing the importance of discovering what your “No interest for a year” interest rate actually means, and what could happen if you stop paying a car loan, or quit the army before your contract is up, or leave a job before a probationary period is done, or sign for student loans and don’t graduate…et cetera. It was a pretty long lesson to reach the objective, but I think it was valuable nonetheless.
|My students continue to think I’m a flaming liberal…just because I demand their evidence for their derisive statements about our president. “Because he’s a communist,” is never good evidence.