Sunday, February 28, 2016

Studying "Turning Points" of a Text

We are always in such a hurry, aren't we?  We push, push, push all day long--moving from standard to standard--assessing where important.  Sometimes I think we need to just slow down and let our students explore our content through a new lens.

We have been working hard on identifying "turning points" in our books so we really studying texts we have read and looking for these key events that dramatically impacted how a story unfolded.  We have had some fantastic discussions and what COULD have happened in these book had these "turning points" not occurred.  Historical fiction book clubs got back together the other day and discussed these key events in their texts.  I then asked students to select one of the key events to do a VERY quick writing task on...their directions were simply to write a topic sentence that clearly stated the turning point of their book and then another one or two sentences to prove their "thesis".  This is a gentle warm up for our upcoming unit on literary essay writing!
 After students write their turning point and got it checked with me, I sent them back into their texts to reread the section and to really visualize what was happening.  They then worked to create an illustration to match their mental picture...they looked for key words and phrases the author used to help "paint" a picture in the readers' minds--and they we painted our own versions of them!

Students then worked to type up their "turning point" writings...printed them...and we got ready to create a fantastic hallway display!  Here are a few of my favorites!

The students absolutely loved the process-and in just one hour, we wrote, we read, we discussed, we drew, we painted...and all totally related to our language arts standards.  We CAN continue to bring creativity and joy into our teaching!

Want to watch a Periscope video replay about this lesson?  Click the image below!


  1. Love this!!! What did u use to paint??? I think this is a great little activity to do. Did you let them choose a book they had read themselves?

    1. Awwww...thanks, Jaclyn! We just used our sets of watercolors. We illustrated turning points from the historical fiction book clubs we just finished.

  2. I loved watching your periscopes on literary essays! We are working on them, too! My students are pretty good at writing a thesis statement and supporting it with one or two pieces of evidence, much like you did here. Then we seem to hit a wall. I have trouble getting them to go much farther than that and elaborating more. Any advice?