The following lesson exemplars offer opportunities to work with advanced readers in small groups using two texts from the Junior Great Books Sun Series. These small group lessons introduce first grade students to key components of Socratic Seminar and critical literacy, and build foundational text analysis concepts and skills. In this unit, students focus on characters as both readers and writers. Using the prompts for depth and complexity, students analyze details in a text to accurately describe characters, compare and contrast the unique perspectives of characters, describe how characters change over time, and infer the perspective of the narrator. As writers, students use the genre of realistic fiction to develop characters that change over time and use powerful words to describe the unique qualities of characters. Students also experiment with writing in first person and use an advanced peer editing checklist to look deeply into their stories. As always, this unit culminates with a Socratic Seminar focused on author’s perspective with an emphasis on asking questions of fellow readers throughout the seminar.The long term learning targets addressed through these advanced sessions are:
I can ask and answer questions about key details in a text. (188.8.131.52)
I can retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
I can describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details. (184.108.40.206)
I can identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses. (220.127.116.11)
I can identify who is telling the story at various points in a text. (18.104.22.168)
I can use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events. (22.214.171.124)
I can compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories. (126.96.36.199)
I can write narratives and other creative texts that recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, including details regarding what happened, using temporal words, and provide some sense of closure. (188.8.131.52)
I can with guidance and support, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from adults and peers and add details to strengthen writing as needed. (184.108.40.206)
I can participate in shared research and writing projects. (220.127.116.11)
I can with guidance and support, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer questions. (18.104.22.168)
When and where do I teach these small group sessions? Advanced differentiation sessions should flow out of core instruction (i.e. after the mini-lesson), and are ideal for use during guided reading and guided writing time. When you pull a small group of advanced learners, consult these lesson exemplars, which have been aligned with the core learning targets and provide increased rigor through acceleration, novelty, depth, and complexity. The sessions should last approximately 15-20 minutes, with additional time for independent reading and conferring throughout the week. The advanced differentiation small group sessions have been organized by concurrency with the weeks’ worth of lessons from the core. In general, the sessions can be taught anytime within the week(s) with which they align (usually 2 or 3 times per week in most classrooms). You may find it helpful to break some of these lessons down into smaller sessions to optimize your differentiation time and scaffold for students’ needs.