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Friday, December 20, 2013

Drawing Conclusions


When children discover how much they love to read (and realize they are good at it), I just love witnessing the palpable enthusiasm. I know these same readers will be forced to take standardized tests to demonstrate to higher powers that they can identify a metaphor or determine the main idea. And so, when I guide them through a mini-lesson with a book, I intentionally name things I know they will encounter on such tests. Today the term was drawing conclusions, and the book was Yoon and the Jade Bracelet by Helen Recorvits. After explaining a brief definition (and reiterating that it is not a summary), I asked them to focus on one specific character as I read aloud and to draw a conclusion about her. 

They were immediately engaged in the story of Yoon's birthday. Her wish for a jump rope was not granted by her mother, yet Yoon gratefully acknowledges the book she is given, a Korean story about a trickster tiger and a silly girl. Then her mother gives her the jade bracelet that was her own mother's. Yoon's own name is engraved in it in Korean letters. Enter the mean girl. She invites Yoon to jump rope at lunch recess, but she also tells her American children share things if they are friends. Then she demands Yoon's jade bracelet. Fierce looks appeared on the faces in front of me as I read about how the mean tiger girl would not return the bracelet to Yoon. Eventually, her teacher and her own determination come to the rescue. 

The readers in my audience had much to say about the mean girl. They drew many conclusions and perfectly articulated them. And, as always, they begged me to leave the book in the classroom for them to reread later. I love it when that happens.

4 comments:

  1. Ah, what a wonderful teacher you are! Planning ahead for the children's encounter with standardized tests is a gift to them. PS. Enjoy the first day of winter!! This Saturday is the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, marking our shortest daylight period and longest night of the year. Have a lovely week=end!

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  2. Disappointment often hit Christmas morning, but soon it was wiped away by the bounty. Never got a jump rope though.

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  3. I've read this book to kids at CES; first graders, I think. Maybe I'll try it with second grade this year, and use your ideas. Though as I recall, the first graders did fine with it. But labeling the skill...that's cool.

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  4. As always, I'm just so touched by the way you engage your readers...(& me). Again, lucky & blessed, all of you!

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