Thursday, September 4, 2014

Close Reading: A Diamond in the Desert

Close Reading
A Diamond in the Desert

        Have you read this book yet?  It's such a thoughtful depiction of what happened to Japanese-Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  It's written by Kathryn Fitzmaurice, who did a lot of research to get it just right.

        This story is written from the point of view of twelve year old Tetsu and his family who are sent to an internment camp in the Arizona Desert after Pearl Harbor because they are Japanese-Americans. When his father is sent to a different camp, Tetsu must choose between his love of baseball and his responsibilities to the family.

        I created a close reading unit to help when reading this book with your class.  It's a great book for grades 4-8.   I formatted the unit as follows. It begins with an explanation of close reading and how to format a lesson. I also included sentence stems aligned to Webb's Depth of Knowledge. Then, there is a summary, themes listed and character descriptions. After that, I created focus questions for each chapter. There are explicit gradual release formatted lessons sprinkled throughout. I included a close reading sheet for each of the explicit lessons. You could use the focus questions to create more close reading lessons using the blank templates or for class discussions. At the end, there is a blank sheet for planning and to use with close reading of different chapters. Finally, I added my version of Cornell Notes, which I use for homework reading. Because this is historical fiction, I did a lot of research for you on important events of the 1940's and created hyperlinks to make it easy for you. I hope your students enjoy it as much as my students did.  It's a great unit to use with your 4-8 grade students.

Twitter:  @Lisa_teacher

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