As I learn more about Common Core and how students are going to have to read across multiple texts as well as think critically about what they are reading. I have decided that I need to start small and take baby steps. At the same time I don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water, so I am building on what I have done in the past that has been successful and integrating some new ideas with Common Core into our persuasive writing unit.
The first thing I do is share several favorite pictures books that are excellent mentor text including Alex and the Lemonade Stand. Next we looked at a few mentor text wonders at Wonderopolis. Both of these examples set a strong foundation for students building their knowledge about what does persuasive writing look like and sound like.
To get my feet wet and start weaving some Common Core ideas, we looked at several articles from different sources on the Smart Board. The students came up to the board and underlined important facts, statistics, BIG names and quotes that supported the article. We had already discussed the specific criteria that makes a persuasive article strong. Next the students pulled sentences out of an article and wrote it on a sentence strip. We used these as mentor sentences and labeled them.
Finally the students read their own article, took notes and then we shared as a class. As we discussed the writing across several texts, I noticed the conversation got richer because students would refer to the pictures books, wonders or articles as examples. For example, "I remember in..." or "Don't you remember when we read...." "Hey isn't it neat how all of the articles include data to support the argument."
I am positive that they have a much stronger base to start their research this week as they choose their "HOT topic."