Quarter Response Writing
Main Subject Area: Language Arts
Additional Subjects: Art, Science, Social Studies
Duration of Lesson: 30 minutes
Additional Subject Area Standard(s):
A chalkboard/dry erase marker board
Chalk/dry erase marker
Pencils/pens and paper
Coins Used in Lesson:
Grade Level(s): 3-5 6-8
2. The teacher will explain that this is a money-based activity, and while the students are going to be handling coins, all coins should be returned at the end of the project.
3. The teacher should take out an unopened roll of quarters and break it open.
4. The teacher should then explain to the students that they are each to be given one quarter to examine. The students will choose partners, and will also examine their partner's quarter.
5. The teacher should then explain that as soon as each student gets a quarter, he/she should write a short five-sentence paragraph which explains "what just happened"--meaning that they should explain the process of watching the teacher come around the room, taking a quarter, examining their quarter, selecting a partner, looking at the partner's quarter, and writing about what just happened. The students will spend at least three to five minutes writing their short paragraphs.
6. Next, the teacher should ask student to share their paragraph with their partner. Have them read their paragraphs aloud to each other and compare paragraphs, noting that they will likely be very similar.
7. When the students have finished sharing (after about two minutes), the teacher should write the words "Plot Summary" and "Summarization" on the board.
8. The teacher should then call the students to attention, and explain that what they have just done is called summarizing. They retold the story as it happened. Often students will write this type of response to something they have just read. While it is good to good to know what happened in a story, this doesn’t explain how the reader felt when they explored the piece of literature or other published work. Also, as the students observed in their quarter paragraphs, summary writing often results in lack of originality and can make one student's paper seem just like another.
9. Now the teacher should explain to the students that there is a different way that they should approach writing responses to a reading selection.
10. The teacher should write the words "Critical Response" on the board and explain to the students that it's more important that they express how they feel about a subject, rather than to simply explain what the subject is. They can do this by asking themselves and answering the questions, "How does this make me feel?” and “Why does it make me feel this way?" This causes them to connect emotively and intellectually with the piece. This kind of demonstrative writing is called "Response."
11. The teacher should ask the students to try and write a short paragraph which demonstrates how they feel about the quarter they have, and why they feel that way.
12. The students should then share their paragraphs with their partners by reading them aloud to each other. The students should discuss how the second set of paragraphs are different from the first paragraphs that they wrote. The students should also identify any specific "feeling" words that are in the second "Response" paragraph.
13. Finally, the whole class should share experiences and impressions of the activity to ensure that all students understand the difference between the two writing methods.
Assessment / Evaluation:
Differentiated Learning Options: