Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What's important about fiction? *Chant/Song!

So last year, we had a few kids in fifth grade who didn't pass The Test. And by a few, I mean a lot. In Texas, fifth graders take The Test once in March and then the kids who failed get another opportunity to retake in May. So in the meantime, we had to make some things happen for these kids. 

After talking to the kids about what areas they struggled in, and after talking with Rachel Reyna of Fisher-Reyna about some helpful strategies for comprehending, we realized our kids didn't really know what to look for when they read different genres. Their previous experiences (K-4) hadn't really been genre-based, and they were struggling to navigate different genres and know what to focus on. 

At this point, we put together some strategies to help them focus on the structure of the genre first, to improve their comprehension. We started with fiction.

Fiction is special because in fiction, we have characters. As I mentioned in my previous post, Fiction is all about CHARACTER. Our kids were lacking that understanding. So my teaching buddy, Chris, and I  put together several tools for them to help them focus on this. 

They worked so well and really gave kids an "anchor" to hold on to, so we're now using them during our fiction unit at the beginning of the school year in grades 2-5. 

First, we wrote a chant. It's to the tune of a cadence, or sound-off.

Fiction Summary Chant

Main Character you know the best
You see them most throughout the text.
Motivation towards their goal
Their actions unfold as the story is told.
Fiction …. Summary
Using …… Strategies
Fiction, Drama, Poems, DETAILS!

The conflict comes from want or need
Becoming the problem, yes indeed!
The conflict must now be resolved
Their solution begins to evolve.

Fiction….. Summary
Using…… Strategies
Fiction, Drama, Poems, CONFLICT!

Once the story begins to unfold
The outcome may be very bold
The character will surely earn
An important lesson learned.

Fiction…. Summary
Using …. Strategies
Fiction, Drama, Poems, THE THEME!

We chanted it every day and added gestures to represent the important pieces we wanted the kids to know:
Main Character: frame the face
Motivation/Goal: hands over hear (cause it's what you WANT)
Conflict: fists pushing towards each other
Resolution: hands folded together
Lesson Learned: finger to head as if thinking

Click back tomorrow to learn about how we helped kids fiction process text with a pocket chart!
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