I stepped into this placement at Forest City Middle School while my eighth grade students were in the middle/end of reading Hunger Games. This was a difficult spot to enter, but I squeezed myself into the lessons by reading aloud to the students and helping with scaffolded notes.
Right now, the eighth graders are working on making inferences and citing textual evidence to support those inferences. To help, I read aloud to them sections of the book, stopping along the way to ask them what they thought narrator, Katniss was feeling.
Before reading, I gave them each a blank sheet of paper and told them to draw a line across the middle, hot dog style. This would be their middle of an emotional timeline, a content feeling–not happy, not sad. Anything above the line would be a positive emotion and anything below would be negative.
I gave the students each a small set of sticky-notes. They were to write their inferences on the notes as we went along, and stick the notes on their timeline based upon their inferences.
We did two together, then I stopped and gave them time to also work independently. This was my first time working with eighth graders and I have to say I enjoyed it. They’re very literal-minded, finding one idea in the text and going with it without considering other perspectives. Oftentimes I had to prompt them to think even more deeply, which was a challenge, but fun for me!
Being able to scaffold their notes and learning was fun! I’m excited to plan a few more inference-based activities for this novel before we’re done reading!
Here are two student examples of the scaffolding emotional timeline notes: