In the Trenches

Thoughts and Ideas from a Classroom Teacher

Readers Relate

on February 13, 2012

I picked back up today with my review of things that good readers do. Today’s focus was the idea that good readers relate. They relate what they read to themselves, to other literature and to the world. I often use a graphic organizer like the one below to have students think about connections to all of these areas.

Today, we just focused on relating a story that we read to one with which the students are very familiar. Our school is focusing on Native American writers in the month of February, and we are fortunate to have scheduled some amazing author visits as part of this month. I get to do a small group session with Joseph Bruchac next week, and I am SO excited! But, that’s another post.
Today, the students read “The Sky Woman” which is the Onandaga myth of creation. As I teach on the Qualla Boundary at the Cherokee Elementary School, most of my students are of Cherokee descent. Our school teaches culture as part of our core classes, and the students know many of the traditional Cherokee stories, including the Cherokee creation story. As the students read “The Sky Woman” they were already verbalizing ways that it was similar to the Cherokee story. After lunch, I decided to have the students dive in deeper. We created the following chart to analyze the story elements.

This chart helped the students to be more clearly organized as they moved into creating a venn diagram to compare and contrast the two creation stories.

They did wonderfully and were able to articulate differences and similarities with ease. As we study more Native American literature throughout the year, We will be able to expand our study of creation stories and make more complex venn diagrams and charts of story elements.

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