Summer School: Day 6

As we read—quickly—through Number the Stars, we preview each chapter by looking at a list of comprehension questions. One of the questions for Chapter 8 asks students to give (and, presumably, support) their opinion:

Why, when his sister and nieces were visiting, would Uncle Henrik spend the whole night on his boat?

After reading the chapter, the students attempted to answer the question. Their answers were varied, ranging from fanciful (but amusing) to thoughtful. The former included:

So he won’t be in a house with all ladies.

He probably doesn’t want to be irritated.

Because he was scared of them and he could not let his sister push him around.

Because he don’t get along with his sister and his nieces don’t like Henrik.

Among the thoughtful responses were these:

So he can get things ready for taking Ellen to Sweden, and get there for a safety [sic] trip.

The soldiers might steal his boat.

…so he could keep an eye out to see if it is safe to go to Sweden…

Hearing the sea slap against the side of the boat.

I think it’s worth returning to the question tomorrow and asking the students to point to evidence in the text that supports their position. (“Specifics!” I can hear my high school English teacher saying. “Give me specifics!”)

How else are they going to learn to think?

Posted on June 8, 2010, in comprehension, summer school, thinking. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The one vocabulary word ALL my students learn, regardless of what class they take with me, is “specificity.” They think it’s a word I made up, but it doesn’t take them long to realize that I’m serious about their using text to support their answers. Since I teach in a small charter high school with a VERY permissive boss, I’m allowed (though certainly not encouraged) to tell my kids to “back your shit up.” THAT, they understand.

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