Unit of Study: Literary Essay: Writing About Reading_______________________ Date: _______________________
Title of Minilesson: Session 6: Developing Provocative Ideas: “How Does This Story Intersect With My Life?” pgs. 81-94
Intention: Writers draw on their life experiences to understand and develop ideas about texts.
Connection: (pg. 82)
• I remember a student who was reading about the author Walter Dean Myers. In the biography, Meyers said,
“The book that changed my life was…” This student said to me, “I don’t get this. How could a book change
• I read the book Shogun by James Clavell and I remember thinking, “I wish I were Japanese” because there was
something about the culture that captivated me.
• Have you read a spiritual or religious text that has had an impact on you? An inspiring biography?
You can become aware of issues in your life by rereading your notebooks, looking for the topics and themes that
Some people can just say, “What are the issues in my life?” and those issues pop into their heads.
Other writers need to go on a search for those issues. We can find them if we look back through our writer’s
notebooks, glancing at the personal narrative and personal essay entries we’ve written, thinking,
– What’s this really about?
– Is that a big topic, a big concern in my life?
Active Engagement: (pg. 84)
• Let’s pretend that you’ve already read over your notebook and found that one of the issues that is huge in your
life is the pressure that so many of us feel to fit with the in crowd and to be popular. So now you think, “How
does Rylant’s story help me deal with the issue of feeling pressured to fit in and be popular? I’ll give you a
minute to think about that.
• You could think, “Rylant’s story isn’t about a kid and his friends – it doesn’t really speak to the issue of peer
pressure.” but if you give things a chance, I bet you and your partner can find that Gabriel struggles with some of
the same pressures to fit in that many people feel, and he’s made some choices that might teach you.
• Would you turn and talk with your partner about how Gabriel and this story could perhaps help you, or someone
else who is struggling with feeling that the only way to be popular is to remake yourself to fit in with everyone
When you reread your notebook, grasp onto a life issue, and then think, “How can this story help me with an issue in my
life?” Notice the details others would pass by, and then write an entry in which you linger over a description of one thing
you see in the story. Then write, “The thought I have about that is…”
Share: (pg. 87)
Teacher’s choice of student writing
Table groups share with each other
Table groups share then nominate exemplars to share with the whole group
Whip around (everyone shares) a best word, best line,