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Lesson Design

This lesson, based around the book, When I Was Eight, by Christy Jordan-Fenton and
Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, will develop students ability to make inferences supported by the text.
Students will make a conclusion based on what theyve read of the first half of the book, and the
writing process will focus on using sufficient textual evidence to explain their reasoning. As part
of drafting a solid paragraph, we will also address restating the question prompt and using
transition words.
When I Was Eight provides an introduction to the residential schools that Inuit children
attended, first voluntarily and then by force. To contextualize this autobiographical story, I will
provide further information about the setting and time period at the outset. This story fits in well
with the precedent my classroom teacher has set of read-alouds focusing on marginalized
characters persevering in the face of challenges. In keeping with this theme, students will
continue to investigate character motivation as well as identify obstacles confronted by the
protagonist. We will end the lesson by having students share predictions of how the protagonist
responds in the second half of the story. This connects back to my overarching question of
looking to see how we as teachers might support students in recognizing and building on their
classmates contributions in discussion.

This lesson is broken up into two main parts: a shared reading, and a writing exercise.
The shared reading will focus on the first third of the book. There will be an introduction to the
autobiographical aspect of the book, and we will start the book by students making a connection
to their own ages and development. I will continue reading aloud and making connnections
throughout the reading, stopping for student insight on certain passages. After reading the
question on the handout, and revisiting the relevant section in the reading, students will
collectively come up with a sentence starter for their Main Idea sentence/s. After they have
completed the writing section, students will share out with their classmates, and make and
respond to predictions of what will happen next in the story. This individual writing should be
well supported by the ideas we generate as a group.

This lesson was designed to complement my third grade classrooms current needs and
curriculum. Recently, these third-graders completed benchmark testing for English Language
Arts. In acknowledgment of the many tests that are yet to come, my classroom mentor suggested
that writing a full credit (three point) response to questions similar to the Short Answer
Questions on the PSSAs would be a valuable skill to practice. The question and format
acknowledges grade level standards, specifically CC.1.2.3.B (ask and answer questions about the
text and make inferences from text; refer to text to support responses) and E03.B-K.1.1.1
(Answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the
basis for the answers).
As I wanted to devote the most time to writing, I decided that a shared reading would be
the best approach for this lesson, especially as When I was Eight is just above the current
reading level of the small group I anticipate taking. The book is one that my teacher already
planned to do work in small groups with, and, as stated earlier, by focusing on a very specific

experience, the storytelling allows for universal themes to emerge. The main dream of the
character is actually to learn how to read in English, a perfect set-up for a literacy lesson in and
of itself.
Though the objectives of this particular lesson may be tailored to testing standards, I feel
confident that the story can inspire many meaningful personal connections and conversations. I
believe that a good literacy lesson should be able to meet all standards while still remaining
engaging and in line with the classroom culture.

2. Lesson Plan

A. Goals / Objectives
- Students will be able to construct a short answer response that clearly restates the
question and cites information from the text.
- Students will practice making informed inferences.
- Ideally, students will demonstrate interest (through conversation) in the plight of the
main character and her historical context.

B. Standards (and Assessment Anchors, if applicable)

- CC.1.2.3.B: Ask and answer questions about the text and make inferences from text;
refer to text to support responses.
- E03.B-K.1.1.1: Answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring
explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

C. Materials and preparation

1. Copies of When Im Eight
2. Handouts
3. Writing instruments
4. Chart paper
5. Globe

D. Classroom arrangement and management issues

This lesson will most likely take place in a corner hallway by necessity. There is one
large rectangular table there, with space for two people to sit on each side. The chart can be set
up on a portable easel on one side of the table, or taped up on the wall. Students will remain
seated for the lesson, and the handout can easily be distributed by classmates without getting up.
To proactively encourage on-task behavior, I will ask the students to agree to pay
attention and participate for our time together directly after leaving the classroom and before
finding our place in the hallway. If students get distracted, I will remind them of this
commitment. They should always have a concrete task to be paying attention to either the book
or the handout that I can redirect their attention to.

E. Plan
1. Introduce autobiographical book and setting, identify Banks Island in Canada and ask
for what they know or can imagine about the place based on its location. Highlight
title as important year in characters life, and make personal connections. (What has

been an important event for you now that youre eight?) (Five minutes)
2. Preface shared reading with explanation of learning objective, and model inference
making. Pause during shared reading to model personal connections, make
clarifications, and ask questions. (For example, asking someone to extrapolate what
the team the character refers to is, or ask why they think the school changed her
Inuit name of Olemaun to Margaret.) (Ten minutes)
3. [Stretch break if needed] Pass out handout, framing the reflection to be equally as
important as the reading. Ask for one volunteer to read the question, and another to
re-read the relevant paragraphs in the book. Restate the prompt to allow them other
ways to think about the question (How did he feel? What did he know that Olemaun
didnt?) Brainstorm what a good introductory sentence would look like (Olemauns
dad didnt want her to go to the outsiders school because), write it on the chart
and have everyone write it down. Look through the rest of the handout, pointing out
supporting details (the reasons he did not want her to go), and potential transitions for
them to choose from. (Five minutes)
4. Students look through their books and write their reasoning on the handout, while I
go around and do individual check-ins. (10 minutes)
5. To close, students share out their main inferences and one supporting detail. Then I
will ask one child to share a prediction of what will happen to Olemaun, and ask the
rest of the group to respond.

F. Assessment of the goals/objectives listed above

Some assessment will take place informally, through the one-on-one check-ins and the
oral predictions given at the close of the lesson. The handout will also serve to demonstrate how
well (or not) they have grasped the concept of backing up claims with evidence. Based on what
examples they choose, and how they are stated, this product can help determine what future
lessons will need to focus on. Discussion questions posed during the shared reading will inform
my understanding of their comprehension levels, as well.

G. Anticipating students responses and your possible responses

During the reading, those who need help focusing can either be asked to read a sentence,
or asked to start off by answering a discussion question posed to the group. Students who need a
break from sitting the whole time will be welcomed to stand, and we may take a stretch break in
between the reading and writing portion of the lesson if the majority are looking antsy. Strategies
like choral reading may also be used to re-engage students in the shared reading if they drift off.
If questions begin to stray, or lose focus, we might write them down to think about at a later time
before continuing with the story.
Students will be asked to point to the text when making a claim. Students might respond
to the handout question saying that the father might want Olemaun to stay with him to help work,
in which case they can point to the examples of them working together before she leaves to go to
school, or they might anticipate his concern about the many obstacles she faces at school, which
they can describe. I might also redirect them to Olemauns goal of learning to read, depending on
how tied to the text their predictions for Olemauns future actions are.

H. Accommodations
Students who find the material too challenging may partner with a classmate to see what their

main ideas and supporting details are, before finding their own evidence for it in the text. I can
also provide more sentence starters for them to get started writing. They may also chose not to
focus on the transition words in the writing. Students who finish early will be asked to add on
additional supporting details, if they have them, list two questions about the pages we read as a
group, and/or draw a detailed picture of Olemaun adjusting to her new school.