Close Reading, Vocab in Context, Writing Prompt: "My Mother, the Scientist"

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INFORMATIONAL TEXT ~ Full Lesson Plans (5 days) for Middle Grades ELA
CCSS: Close Reading, Text-Dependent Questions, Vocabulary in Context, Writing Assignment/Assessment

TEACHER MATERIALS INCLUDE:
~ Overview
~ Lesson Plans for:
---- Close Reading (article embedded within plans)
---- Vocabulary
---- Syntax
---- Student-Led Discussion
---- 2 Writing Assignment choices
~ Vocabulary List with definitions
~ Academic Vocabulary List (with paragraph numbers indicated – definitions to be determined in context)
~ Additional Extension/ Enrichment/ Cross-Curricular Activities (and possible pairing with Richard Feynman’s memoir “The Making of a Scientist”)

STUDENT MATERIALS INCLUDE:
~ Article [5 pages] (with definitions for vocabulary that cannot be defined by using context alone)
~ Text-Dependent Questions for Close Reading
~ Student-Led Discussion Handout
~ Vocabulary List with definitions
~ Academic Vocabulary List (with paragraph numbers indicated –definitions to be determined in context)
~ 2 Final Writing Prompts

SUMMARY:
Learning Objective
The goal of this week-long lesson is to practice the reading and writing habits they’ve been learning in order to examine Charles Hirshberg’s recollections of his mother. By reading and rereading the passage closely, and focusing their reading through a series of questions and discussions about the text, students will identify how much the mother’s struggles and accomplishments meant to both the author and the world at large. An additional goal involves writing about the passage in order to further explore Hirshberg’s use of the mixed genre memoir/biography, and what inspires major life choices.

Text Selection
The subject of this text is the scientist Joan Hirshberg. The subject’s son wrote this article for the 2002 Mother’s Day edition of Popular Science magazine . He writes about his mother’s determination to be a scientist in the face of adversity. The compelling stories (memoir-like vignettes mixed with biography) offer vivid and concrete avenues for exploration and close reading.

Reading Task
Students will silently read the essay —first independently and then following along with the text as the teacher and/or skillful students read aloud. Students will then reread specific passages in response to text-dependent questions to examine the meaning and structure of Hirshberg’s prose; rereading is deliberately built into the instructional unit.

Vocabulary Task
Students can discover the meaning of most of the words in context after careful reading. Where this is not possible, underlined words are defined for students to the right of the text in a separate column. Also, high value academic (‘Tier Two’) words are in bold on the teacher’s version with instruction suggestions.

Sentence Syntax Task
Students will occasionally encounter syntactically complex sentences. Suggestions are included for a close examination of such sentences to help students discover how they are built and how they convey meaning.

Discussion Task
Students will discuss the text in depth, performing activities requiring a close reading of Hirshberg’s piece. The goal is to foster student confidence when encountering complex text and to reinforce the skills regarding how to build and extend their understanding of a text. A general principle is to always reread the passage that provides evidence for the question under discussion. This gives students another encounter with the text, helping them develop fluency and reinforcing their use of text evidence.

Writing Task
Students will paraphrase different sentences and paragraphs of Hirshberg’s memoir and then write an informal explanatory essay detailing how one of the interactions between Hirshberg and his mother illustrates a deeper lesson.

Outline of Lesson Plan
This lesson can be delivered in five days of instruction, teacher- and student-led discussion, reflection, independent work, and written work.

Standards
The following Common Core State Standards are the focus of this lesson plan, as well as additional standards from grades 6, 8, and 9:
RI.7.1, RI.7.2, RI.7.3, RI.7.5, RI.7.6; W.7.1, W.7.2, W.7.4, W.7.9; SL.7.1.




Total Pages
31
Answer Key
Included
Teaching Duration
1 Week

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Close Reading, Vocab in Context, Writing Prompt: "My Mothe
Close Reading, Vocab in Context, Writing Prompt: "My Mothe
Close Reading, Vocab in Context, Writing Prompt: "My Mothe
Close Reading, Vocab in Context, Writing Prompt: "My Mothe
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