Tuesday, September 27, 2016


In 5th grade we have been exploring the way that certain genres address theme. We have spent several days reading books with a common theme. The first activity that we did was a collaborative post-it activity. They traveled around the room in their teams, read stories, and independently wrote the theme on a post-it and gave evidence to support their claim. After the independent part, they used the Showdown Kagan Structure to share their thoughts and then collaboratively created a written response that represented all of their thinking. This was simply an introduction to the BREAK OUT activities that we have been doing this week.

In our Break Out activities, the kids have worked as a team to determine how to open locked boxes. In the beginning, they are given a story to read. After reading the story, they have to figure out what information they need from the text to open the first locked box. Once they have opened the first box, they have to take the next story which is inside the box. As a team they have to read the second story, compare and contrast it to the first story, and then figure out what clues are given in the text to open the second box. Waiting for them inside the second box is their certificate which they need to begin the activity the next day.

The skills that the students are working on are directly related to the Common Core Standards. One of our priority reading standards this quarter addresses how authors within a genre approach the same theme or topic. The students were given pieces to read, told to determine the genre of the pieces, and then asked to find a common theme. As an extension to this activity we will be taking this process a step further by asking them to pull information from the text to support their claim. We will be constructing written responses drawing on evidence in the two stories to support our claims.

Here are some pictures from the Break Out:

The kids have been incredibly engaged and supportive of each other throughout the entire experience. It has been incredible to watch these students improve their reading skills in such a unique way!

Check out this video of the girls opening the locked box.

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