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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kristel A., Jay H.S., November 17, 2009

On Tuesday, I visited Kristel A. at Jay H. S. during her English class. 

Kristel was introducing a new book, Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah. 

Kristel had spent a great deal of time, looking at this book through the eyes of her students, identified challenges the books presented for them, and then formulated supports to assist them in their reading/comprehension.  The class began with a quick write dealing with any type of abuse students had experienced at the hands of an adult.  Kristel modeled, after students wrote, sharing their experiences with their classmates. This was linked to the main character in the book, providing a way students could relate - building a bridge between two different cultures and beginning to develop a universal theme.

Next, the class moved to the end of the book and the historical context for the story.  Each student was given a different event from the story and asked to place it in the correct chronological order in a timeline created on google documents and displayed on an LCD. This helped students clarify the sequence of the story in order to navigate the heavy historical element and later link the two, providing a springboard for inferring.

Finally, Kristel introduced a double entry journal for students to use in order to highlight key points of the first part of the story.

The pace was brisk and moved from group to individual work seamlessly.  The frontloading and support offered to the students certainly made the book more accessible while increasing the engagement of the students.

During our debriefing, Kristel and I discussed her choice of text.  She spoke  passionately about her desire to instill in students the love of reading and the necessity to get them hooked on "good stories" with universal, accessible themes.

Bravo, Kristel.  You have clearly achieved your goal.



sherry hooker said...

Hi Kristel. This looks like a great class. I'd like to know more about the process by which you identified challenges and constructed supports for the students. Another question I have is whether there were any issues with students who had not read the materials when it came time for the assignment of events and the construction of the timeline.

Anonymous said...

I love your book choice! I too was wondering if you had any issues with students who had not read the text.
How did you introduce the text? Do you read any of the text in class?
It sounds like this class was paced well. You use multiple strategies (connecting the text to self, looking at historical context, plotting key concepts/events, and DEJs) which bring depth to the lesson and (I'm certain) richness to the text.

Melody said...

Hi Kristel. I would have LOVED to have sat in on this lesson. I'm I'm psyched to read this book, I've never heard of it. I'm curious how you do your quick writes over such personal topics such as this one. I have always done quick writes (or journal writing, as I call it.) In the past I've had huge success with it and kids have really enjoyed it and shared some really personal writing. However, I currently struggle with getting kids to really take quick writing seriously this year, especially really serious topics. And then sharing is even more impossible, at times. What's your secret?