Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Wretched Stone and "Turn Off the TV" Challenge

Today, we read The Wretched Stone by Chris Van Allsburg. Our lesson started by discussing how authors use symbols and/or create problems in literature that are related to real-world experiences.  (EQ: What is symbolism and how do authors use symbolism in stories?) As we read, we made connections and also discussed how the story is written as journal entries. When we came to the page that reads:
     "It is a rock, approximately two feet across. It is roughly textured, gray in color, but a portion of it is flat and smooth as glass. From this surface comes a glowing light that is quite beautiful and pleasing to look at."

The students discussed the visualizations with their "dicussion partner". I listened as students discussed what they thought the stone might be like in the real-world. At first students, we guessing flashlights, magnetite (lodestone), mirrors. I had to continually re-read and direct their attention to what the item looked like. Finally, someone guessed the symbolism relationship--a TV. While reading we continued to follow and discuss the crew's reaction to the stone during the story. After reading the book, we discussed how sometimes people in the real-world are like the crew in the story making meaningful text-to-world and text-to-self connections.  I proposed a "Turn Off the TV Day" Challenge. We expanded the idea to electronic devices. We discussed and made a word splash of other things that we could do. Then, the students created a schedule of times with events for tomorrow WITHOUT television. Last, the students signed the promise.

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