Teachers for Teachers | Mentor Teaching Moves: Getting Your Evidence to Match Up #T4TMoments #itsallaboutthebooks
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Mentor Teaching Moves: Getting Your Evidence to Match Up #T4TMoments #itsallaboutthebooks

Are you ever shocked when you get to the last page of a book?  Do you ever realize what you thought to be true was not?  In this moment, right at the end, we come to a whole new understanding.  When this happens, we linger on the end for a bit.  We slow down and think about what surprised us and the connections between the beginning and the end of the book.

The same thing happens to our students.  Their best ideas about a book often come when they finish the text. This can be a source of frustration when they are preparing for a book club conversation or writing a response.   As they look over their notes about the book, they realize that what they wrote doesn’t match their new insights.  It is at this moment that some students become stuck – rather than lingering, they run away!  They don’t have evidence from the text to support their new ideas and they don’t want to reread the entire book to find it. (Not that we blame them.  We don’t want them to reread the entire text either.)  How can we help students who want to talk about the text with their book club or write a response about a book when their notes do not reflect their new thinking?

We teach students a process to help them track an important idea back through a text.   In this example we use our notes from the book Crossover by Kwame Alexander to help students learn a few different strategies to deal with this common problem readers face:

Step 1:  Reread the ending (last chapter or last few chapters) with your big idea in mind and record important words or phrases from the text.  Here are the lines from the last few chapters of Crossover that stood out to us:

True champions learn to dance through the storm.”

“The only thing that matters is that out here in the driveway shooting free throws I feel closer to Dad.”

“You earned it, Filthy, he says, sliding the ring on my finger.”

“I watch the ball leave his hands like a bird up high, skating the sky, crossing over us.”

Step 2:  Now look over the table of contents and read the chapter titles.  Decide which chapters you should reread to support your evidence?   If the chapters in your book do not have titles, read the beginning paragraph of each chapter to remember what happened.  Then ask yourself, “Does this chapter contain information about my bigger idea?”  If the answer is yes, reread portions of the chapter.  If the answer is no, go to the next chapter.

We looked for chapter titles in Crossover that might have information about the father’s health or the importance of family.   Here are the chapters we decided to reread and take notes:

  • Basket Ball Rules – #1-10
  • Mom doesn’t like us eating out
  • Hy-per-ten-sion
  • Mom calls me into the kitchen
  • The main reason I can’t sleep
  • No pizza and fries
  • My-o-car-di-al-in-facr—tion

Step 3: If you read the text on a digital device, think about the keywords in your new idea and search for these words.  This should help you find possible places in the text to support your thinking.

Here is how we used the search feature on the Kindle to find evidence to support our thinking about Crossover:

Key Words:  Basketball rules, hospital, doctors, hypertension

Results:

Great writers push our thinking and touch our hearts.  We want students to know that all readers revise their thinking as they read and that often our best ideas come as we read the ending of a book.   We also want them to know strategies for how to find evidence to support their ideas so that they can have thought-provoking conversations and write meaningful reflections about their books.  If you want to read more ideas on how to use books to engage and instruct readers, check out our latest book, It’s All About the Books.  We are donating all of our royalties to the Book Love Foundation.  The Book Love Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving classroom libraries and putting books in the hands of students.

We would also love to learn from you.  How are you helping students find evidence to support their ideas?   What are some different ways your students take notes as they read?

 

 

 

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