We are working hard at our close reading in our room, and I truly see my students become better thinkers and “discussers” about the texts we are reading. I have been looking for more and more short texts to use with them…even first pages of novels, articles, and so on.
This week we are going to use a short story by Cynthia Rylant called “Slower Than the Rest”–you may be familiar with it. It’s a meaty story but its central ideas are still really accessible to fourth graders.
To shake things up a little bit since we are still in school when all the neighboring districts are on break, I thought we’d put a little fun into it! I divided the text into 7 sections, each one to three paragraphs long. I generated a list of open ended questions that I thought would fit this (and other) texts–none of them are specific to this text because I want them to start to internalize these questions and to have them in the back of their mind ALL the time when they read.
I have one or two questions for each of the seven sections of text, and I then cut them into strips and stuffed them into plastic eggs.
I tossed them all into a spring-y basket and we are ready to roll! I put the questions for section one in pink, two in orange, three in yellow (thanks, Roy G. Biv) so I know which eggs to grab for each section.
I am going to have the students work in pairs to read each section, then I will pull out the egg(s) that match, have a student read the question, let the pairs discuss, share out a bit as a whole class, then move on to the next section. After we work through the text, I am going to ask my students to do some reflective writing about the story so I can see what “deep thinking” stuck with them. It’s nothing elaborate–just a fun twist on close reading. Hope you all have a great week…stop back Wednesday for Math is Real Life!