Using Non-Print Texts and Argument to Teach Difficult Text Sara Spachman English Teacher Curie Metro High School Chicago, IL “It was the eve of Progress-Stage Six, and the daily message had prescribed Stage Five Ecstasy Formula. Everyone, from 000 to 999, in Community Home 8051, for Premating Males in Progress-Stage Five, was experiencing the formula‟s balanced emotional heightening. Everyone, that is, except G17-AZ(q):444,801,735, category male, known familiarly as 735.” -- from “Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful” Helping the Reader Succeed Pre-Reading – Front-load key concepts and terminology* *(similar to PreP activity) – Tap into visualization before reading through pictures; this can give students who will struggle “seeing” something difficult or foreign a jump start • Key Point: Remember your audience! Incorporate pictures that reflect your students‟ knowledge-base and interests. Pick words/phrases with which they are already comfortable. Photo-Word Montage Which pictures/words don’t “belong”? perfection utopia beautiful made for each other Which pictures/words don’t seem to “belong?” Anyone pick: • Even though some seem to go together better than others, all the words and photos in the montage are related to the story we‟ll be reading. • Take another look at the montage. This time, make a prediction about what the story will be about. Make a prediction about the story: perfection utopia beautiful made for each other Students’ Predictions • A prediction from Robert, a student who always wants to “get it,” but often has to try and try and try again: “I think the story is about a world full of perfection. The people will probably be obsessed with their looks, plastic surgery and botox, face lifts, and adult problems like my favorite TV show Nip Tuck.” Students’ Predictions • A prediction from Krista, a shy student who often “gets it” but has difficulty expressing herself: “This story is going to be about a utopia that is perfect and everyone is beautiful. There happen to be a few who are not as beautiful and who are miss fits in the utopia, they don‟t belong there.” Students’ Predictions • A prediction from William, an ELL student who has trouble motivating himself to do anything that doesn‟t involve a computer: “It‟s going to be making people „perfect‟ and keep everyone happy. It‟s going to have no conflicts and make some people look like other people.” Helping the Reader Succeed • During Reading –Don‟t forget pre-reading work! • Whenever possible, re-visit pre-reading materials to maintain, increase, or change students‟ comprehension. –Add steps to the reading process that promote “conflict” and use of the text. • Honor all interpretations that are supportable and prompt students to be the “checks” on others‟ interpretations and (mis)readings. Which picture/word fits this paragraph? “It was the eve of Progress-Stage Six, and the daily message had prescribed Stage Five Ecstasy Formula. Everyone, from 000 to 999, in Community Home 8051, for Premating Males in Progress-Stage Five, was experiencing the formula‟s balanced emotional heightening. Everyone, that is, except G17-AZ(q):444,801,735, category male, known familiarly as 735. 735 stood in a small, mirrored, harshly lighted meditation chamber, cut off from the goodness of the Community Mind. Under the plastiskin contours of his perfect features he felt a flush of shame on his own imperfect face; he couldn‟t master the formula.” -- from “Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful” Which picture/word fits this paragraph? perfection utopia beautiful made for each other Helping the Reader Succeed • More During Reading – Tap into the power of peer collaboration. Utilize pairs or small groups. • Take about 2 minutes to read the next paragraph. Pick a picture or word from the montage that “fits” that paragraph and discuss your choice with a partner. Helping the Reader Succeed • Even More During Reading – Create opportunities for students to approach a text in multiple ways. This can involve: • Taking a classmate‟s interpretation they don‟t agree with and finding evidence to support it. • Taking on the POV of a character in the story and trying to understand things from his/her perspective. Half-Way Point: A Quick POV Activity • Half-way through the story (to the ) I asked my students to get into the mindset of the main character, category male 735. – Based on what you understand about 735 at this point, choose a picture from the montage that captures how he‟s thinking and/or feeling. What my students had to say: Laurel picked this picture because “Even though he looks good, he isn‟t feeling good. The ugliness he felt [at the beginning of the story] hasn‟t gone away. It‟s worse now.” What my students had to say: Robert picked Antonio Banderas because “both 735 and Antonio seem to be having deep, dark thoughts. And Antonio looks as though he‟s searching for something, just like 735.” Reinforcing “Predicting” • Also at this point in the story, I asked my students to make a new prediction, this time about what will happen to category male 735. – From Jessica: “I believe that 735 will try and make everything be unperfect so that he does not feel like an outcast and can be able to [feel] let in.” – From Robert: “By the end of the story I think that 735 will finally solve the mystery with [female] 735, and he will forget about the perfect world.” Helping the Reader Succeed Post-Reading – Follow through! Give students a chance to reflect using steps and materials used in previous parts of the process. Possibilities: • Students can craft statements including the phrase “Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful” that express male and female 735s‟ sentiments about those words. Then students can argue about whether the 735s‟ thinking was “right.” • Students can create a new montage of their own that better reflects the end of the story. Students’ Post-Reading From Robert: “The couple 735 believes that non-perfection is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. The way I see was that since the two weren‟t perfect, they still had each other and that meant the world to them. Even though their home was washed away and they were hungry, just because you aren‟t perfect [doesn‟t mean] you can‟t still be happy. And to 735 and 735 the last thing in their minds was „perfection.‟ But it was still good.” Students’ Post-Reading From Alexandria (who swore on her life that she just “didn‟t get this story”): “I agree that imperfection is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I agree with this because if everyone looked the same and was perfect, they really wouldn‟t stick out as being beautiful. I think that beautiful is when there is something about you that sticks out, is noticeable, or is unique. So if people have imprefections like 735, they are beautiful because they are striking and not like the next person.” Students’ Post-Reading From William: “I said that the 735 characters thought that everything was beautiful. By that I mean that they both thought each and every thing about themselves and others was unique and wonderful in their own way.” Students’ Post-Reading From Benjamin: “My statement was that the couple 735 believes that imperfections make people beautiful. I slightly agree with this statement because imperfections make people unique in their own way. [However,] the ugliest person in the world will not go out with someone who is only slightly better looking than him… People want to end up with someone beautiful, someone that looks hot. I also guess that it comes down to what your likes are. Some person‟s imperfect person might be another‟s most beautiful person. So imperfection is beautiful but you have to find the kind of imperfect for you.” • “Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful” by Stuart Friedman can be found in: – Worlds of Tomorrow, ed. August Derleth, Pellegrini Cudahy 1953. – Fifty Short Science Fiction Tales, ed. Isaac Asimov & Groff Conklin, Collier Books 1963. – Worlds of Tomorrow, ed. August Derleth, Four Square Books 1963. Our PowerPoint presentations can be accessed on-line through the following website: http://www.spachman.net Thank you for joining us today!
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