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Teaching Point: Readers analyze the language and meaning of a text.

Once
they have understood its meaning, strong readers evaluate texts for validity.
Objectives: Students will be able to articulate the meaning of the poem as a
whole and the significance of a particular self-selected section. Students will be
able to evaluate the applicability (or lack thereof) of the text to their lived
experience.
Common Core State Standards:
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the
text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the
cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g.,
how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal
or informal tone). (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4)
Interpret, analyze, and evaluate narratives, poetry, and drama,
aesthetically and ethically by making connections to: other texts, ideas,
cultural perspectives, eras, personal events and situations. (CCSS.ELALiteracy.RL.9-10.11)
o Self-select text to respond and develop innovative perspectives.
(CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.11c)
Processes:
Introduction:
o Teacher introduces herself, invites students to do the same
throughout the lesson. Teacher establishes expectations for
respectful classroom conversation.
o Teacher distributes (perhaps with student help) copies of the poem.
As students are receiving the text, teacher polls the class as to
whether they are familiar with this particular poem. If so, teacher
elicits existing knowledge.
o Teacher adds to existing knowledge: this poem was written by
Rudyard Kipling (you may know him as the author of The Jungle
Book) in 1910 for his son. The poem is composed of a series of if
statements
Shared reading of the text:
o Teacher invites student volunteers to read the text aloud. As there
are four stanzas, teacher chooses four students (pausing to ask for
names), each of whom is assigned one stanza to read aloud.
Teacher guides students to read along and pay attention to the
way the poem sounds as their classmates read aloud.
Independent reading:
o Teacher instructs the students to read the poem once more,
silently. Now that theyve heard it once, they are to consider the
main idea as they read. Teacher prompts their reading by asking,
If someone fulfills all these ifs, then what will happen?
Partner share:

Comment [TC1]: This particular lesson


was designed as a sample demonstration
lesson for my Supervised Teaching of
English class. Having read the Joyful
Learning text, however, I see that the lesson
could have been improved with a more
accessible hook for all students. If I were to
do the lesson again, I would insert the Group
Resume activity at the beginning. Not only
would this have given me a benchmark of
the breadth of experiences represented in
this classroom, but it would also encourage
students to be actively engaged in the topic
of study (namely, what it takes to be
successful) and invite all learners to reflect
and participate as they are able.
Comment [TC2]: I would be sure to equip
students with copies of the text that
highlighted or clarified words that may have
been difficult. While I think that there is
certainly value in having students identify
unfamiliar words and practice diverse
strategies to make sense of them, that
objective is outside of the scope of this
lesson. In their work, Tighe & Tomlinson
(2005) highlight the importance of
backward planning and keeping long-range
goals central to our daily decisions. As such,
it is the teachers responsibility to
accommodate students with the supports
needed for maximum success in
interpretation and analysis. Although
differentiating for content can be difficult, it
might be plausible in this venue to have
three different versions of the text in order
to support diverse learners: one with
footnotes for any potentially unfamiliar
vocabulary, one of with footnotes only for
truly unusual vocabulary, and one with no
footnotes at all. In this, there could be value
in self-selection to keep all learners
engaged.
Comment [TC3]: On principle (both
general and special education inspired), I
would rethink the prompt suggested in the
independent reading section. I find that it is
never a great idea to ask questions to which
there is only one finite response. This
invites only minimal rewards for students
who successfully regurgitate information
and precludes participation for those who
may struggle to access the response or to
feel confident in it, and is therefore at odds
with Lotans emphasis on equitable
classroom structures (2006).

o Students discuss the main idea of the poem with a partner.


Together, partnerships determine what the poem is all about.
Teacher listens in on conversations to assess students
understanding.
Whole group collaboration:
o Teacher calls the students back together and gives shout-outs for
strong thoughts that she overheard from partnerships in the room.
Teacher elicits student responses to develop a shared
understanding of the poem.
Directions and modeling:
o Great! Now that we know what the poem is all about (essentially,
advice on how to become a man, or more broadly, an adult), lets
zoom in a little closer.
o Teacher instructs students: with your partner, choose a set of lines
from the stack. Together, make sense of those lines. What do they
mean? What is confusing about them? Translate the meaning of
your lines on the back, as if you were speaking with a student
younger than yourself.
o Before sending students off to do this work, teacher models her
thinking process with the last four lines of the first stanza,
projecting under the doc cam if possible
o Teacher pauses for questions / clarifications before sending
students to work with their partners. Teacher circulates to offer
assistance and further students thinking.
Mid-workshop interruption (if necessary / as time allows):
o Having circulated to monitor student progress, teacher chooses an
exemplar of successful student work and invites the partnership to
explain their thought process to the class as a whole.
o Teacher encourages students to continue working toward this level
of mastery. She reinforces that students should not be afraid to
consider multiple interpretations, even if things are unclear.
o For students who are satisfied with their translations, teacher
offers an extension: with your partner, begin to discuss the extent
to which you buy Kiplings criteria for what it takes to be a man.
Is the topic he discusses in your section an essential part of
growing up? Why or why not?
Closure:
o By this point, teacher should have used the color-coded cards to
determine for herself whether all sections have been represented.
This way, she can make allowance for any unchosen sections by
offering interpretive assistance.
o Teacher leads a guided discussion, section by section. Students
who have become experts on each section offer their
interpretations.
o If time, teacher opens discussion to whether or not we buy it.
Was Kipling correct in the qualities of adulthood? Are they still
relevant in 2014? Why or why not?

Comment [TC4]: This approach invites


multiple intelligences because it allows the
teacher to highlight status characteristics of
students / readers who may not be
conceptualized as academically strong by
their peers in general (Cohen, 1994).

Comment [TC5]: In the section where


students are given autonomy to choose the
lines upon which they want to focus, I would
be conscientious in my use of planning time
by printing each section on a different color
of paper, thereby giving myself a visual cue
as to the difficult of selected passages and
allowing me to focus my individualized
attention where necessary. (This was
actually part of the original lesson but
becomes more powerful viewed through the
lens of differentiation.) Not only would this
streamline the discussion by allowing for
multiple voices as experts, but it would also
afford me the flexibility to match two
partnerships with a common passage in the
event that I surmised such collaboration
would be helpful. Again, assigning
competence is crucial and could be
accomplished, if time allowed, using the
Carousel activity advanced in the Joyful
Learning text.
Comment [TC6]: Here, I would want to be
certain to continue in the spirit of Lotans
suggestions by assigning competency to
students with multiple intelligences
(Howard Gardner), being deliberate about
not just rewarding a singular form of
interpretation, but drawing on the strengths
of diverse learners to illuminate the various
approaches to a work of poetry.
Comment [TC7]: Tighe and Tomlinson
(2005) discuss the amount of time and
forethought that goes into successful,
productive routines for differentiated
instruction. While this frontloading is
demonstrated here on a scale potentially
difficult to replicate everyday, the rewards
pay dividends and are worth the effort.

Continuation / Context:
I envision this lesson as being situated within a larger curricular arc. In
that case, this activity could be used as a means of establishing
guidelines for classroom conduct. Students could collaborate to rewrite
Kiplings guidelines into their own language, adding criteria they feel to
be missing from Kiplings list. The student-generated list would then be
hung on chart paper alongside the original text as a reminder of goals
for maturity toward which to strive throughout the year. It would also be
productive to revisit this activity at the end of ninth grade as a means
by which students could reflect on their own growth both as people
(their ongoing trajectory toward adulthood) and as writers (how
successfully they are able to articulate their adaptations at the start of
the school year as opposed to the end).

Comment [TC8]: This is a place that I feel


has seriously potential for Universal Design
for Learning tenets to shine. Situated within
its larger context, the lesson is part of a unit
that incorporates multiple modalities /
representations (spoken, heard, written,
read, drawn), means of expression
(personal connection, literary
interpretation, oral sharing, writing), and
engagement (listening, relating experience,
evaluating, revisiting, moving, teaching).
Offering these varied approached not only
creates access points for multiple learners
as they enter the classroom, but challenges
them to exercise their abilities in less
familiar arenas in a low-stakes setting.

References
nd

Cohen, E. (1994). The dilemma of groupwork. In Designing groupwork (2

ed.

Pp. 22-38). New


York: Teachers College Press.
Lotan, R. (2006). Teaching teachers to build equitable classrooms. Theory into
practice, 45(1), 32-39.
Tighe, J. & Tomlinson, C. (2005). What really matters in learning (content) p.
24-37 In Integrating
differentiated instruction and understanding by design: Connecting
content and kids.
Udvari-Solner, A. & Kluth, P. (2008). Joyful Learning: Active and collaborative
learning in inclusive
classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.