To begin the class today, I start by making my rounds through the room with my trusty stamp. I look over the vocabulary assignment for Reading Assignment 1 that is found in the Novel booklet. Once I have stamped all of the assignments that were complete, I walk the kids through a brief review. I want to be sure the students have the correct concept and understanding of each of the terms before letting them get too far removed from them. In reviewing the first section, I ask the students to share what evidence/context clues in each sentence led them to the definition/meaning they believed to be true. For the second section of the activity, I like to project the crossword on the SmartBoard and have the students fill it in, without using their booklet as a reference. By taking away the safety net from them, they are forced to more quickly commit the terms and their use(s) to long-term memory. They make connections between the terms and meanings in the context of the activity, in addition to their previous interaction with each term. I read the clue and hand a student the marker so they can write the answer for themselves. It is easy for any kid to simply remember the order things were in for the short term, but I am looking for them to become increasingly familiar with the terms and their meanings.
I give the students the remainder of the class period to continue and complete Reading Assignment 1. I do not go over any of the reading questions at this time because each of the students is most certainly at a different place in their reading process. I do not want to simply give information away to my slower readers as that would detract from their experience, and this is the student group that most needs to process this information and practice with comprehension on their own, in my opinion. While students are reading, I take my own copy of the novel and I sit down at various tables and read a bit at a time before I move to another table. I find this does two things:
1) It establishes proximity which helps some of my more "squirrely" students to remain on task and focused while reading.
2) It lets me act as a model.
As students finish up their reading assignment, I ask them to get to work on the homework which is independently answer the comprehension questions in their booklets for Reading Assignment 1. Students are expected to respond in complete sentences and use specific and relevant evidence from the text whenever possible.