Last two weeks of school…enjoying reading and preparing for Grade 6!
As our Grade 5 students prepare to exit the PYP and enter the MYP, we are focusing more on narrative books and literary devices. The last few weeks of school are often the most difficult for students to feel motivated…teachers as well! To remedy this, I decided to launch a 4 week reading focus during our EAL pull-out time. I consulted a few MYP English teachers to find out what literary devices and strategies they would be exposed to next year and decided to start the transition now. So far, our Literature Circles have been a relaxing and productive way for students to apply the skills they’ve learned this year in English, while looking ahead to new terminology for Grade 6.
What is Literature?
On the first day of our EAL Literature Circles I asked them to look at the word ‘Literature’ and share what came to mind. I was in for a big surprise when a few of them made the connection to the word ‘lit’ and asked if it had to do with electricity! I knew then and there we had a lot of work to do these last four weeks. I created booklets to scaffold their learning and document the process as they gathered more information about terminology and strategies in reading.
We started from scratch and I asked them to google the word and see what images came up and very quickly they formed an understanding of ‘literature’ to do with words, reading and writing.
Students designed their own book covers to illustrate this. I developed this booklet to guide them through common Reading Strategies & Literary Devices. Students also had a space to reflect on ‘Why we Read’ and a space to document the books they read and practice self-questioning (stop & think pages) as well as prepare a writing task at the completion of each book.
What key features of Literature can we focus on?
As new students to English, very few have been exposed to English narrative texts. Therefore we started by discussing reasons why people read and what ‘good readers’ do when they read.
Literary Devices & Reading Strategies
Students have a place in this booklet to ‘log’ each book they read. They also practice making predictions (based on the cover) and practice questioning skills using a ‘stop and think’ sticky note, where they pose 3 open and 3 closed questions about their book so far. These may seem like very rudimentary strategies for 11-year olds but as many of them have come from Asian (Korean) education backgrounds they have not been exposed to thinking about texts in this way.
New Vocabulary from the Text
Students also have a page called “Words That Wow” where they can add new words, translate them into their mother tongue, and define them further in English.
Open-ended Writing Task to Accompany the Text:
Students then complete a section where they add any key describing words or sentences for the characters or setting.
Finally as a writing task, they can choose from the following:
Sharing their Written Task:
Guided Learning = Effective Learning for EAL students
Students have now been exposed to critical vocabulary for MYP Language A & B English classes next year. We used a video from Brainpop.jr to explore basic components of plot. We then used a plot diagram to understand key literary devices such as EXPOSITION, RISING ACTION, CLIMAX, FALLING ACTION, RESOLUTION. On the sheet we used students also learnt about PROTAGONIST and ANTAGONIST.
Students used this Plot Diagram from mshyde.net to map out their stories. Students used PM + and Sails leveled reading books based on their most recent DRA reading scores. This allowed the text to be used for instructional purposes of deconstructing the text into its 5 main elements. Students are then recreating the plot diagram by hand as a visual representation of the text.
These 3 books were chosen for students based on their most recent DRA reading score. Students were grouped by threes/fours so they could work together to build understanding and share questions about the text.
Student-created Plot Diagram (in-progress)
Presenting Books in a Creative Way
To follow on from this activity students will prepare a ‘performance piece’ where they will choose one activity as a platform for sharing their book.
Students have really enjoyed this change in our regular EAL program. They feel more empowered to work at their own pace and have enjoyed reading books and deconstructing them in a new way. This is the first time I am finally seeing what independent workers they are becoming! It is an encouraging and purposeful way to finish the year.