At some point during the close read (and I’m very strategic about this because this is one of the ways that I introduce skills), we pause and do a quick write. A quick write will directly interact with the text, will be timed, and will either introduce a skill or practice a skill we’ve already learned. Here’s an example from the folktale The Wind And The Sun:
I try to use graphic organizers as often as possible to support the students. I also find that it helps the students to see and process lots of different graphic organizers that represent lots of different types of connections. (An added bonus to using lots of different graphic organizers is that it prepares them for end of grade tests as well as mClass TRC written questions. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to use those question stems as your guide here.) An activity like this would last 3-5 minutes, depending on how quickly my students seem to be finishing. At 5 minutes, we’re done regardless. The timer really focuses the students.
If I wanted to introduce a topic, I would probably ask the same question like this: “What did the man do when the wind blew against him?” When students found the answer, we could launch from there into a very short (a couple minutes) mini-lesson on cause and effect. Then, when we picked up the close read again, I would model cause and effect with the sun shining on the man and him taking his cloak off.
The quick write is a formative assessment tool for me. It allows me to see where my students are with a skill. It also serves as a first exposure or exploration for my students.