Today, my sixth grade students analyzed two texts comparing and contrasting the protagonists in each, which were Emily Dickinson’s “I’m Nobody, Who Are You?” and the first two pages of the novel, The Skin I’m In. The goal was for the students to think and answer, “What were the protagonists trying to say? What did they want the reader to understand about them.”
In developing writers, as a writing teacher, I believe it’s important to lay a foundation of–it’s not about me–the teacher–it’s about you–the student. I don’t question in a way that even hints toward an answer. Why? Because I am not the answer giver. I am not the vessel that they need to extract answers from–they need to look inside and find their voice. Once, that begins to procure–writers form.
So, as we discussed and filled in the Venn Diagram in this lesson, I did not question, I just asked for observations and personal insights. Then, I wrote what they said. As a result, every class was different in their interpretations, which was exactly what I hoped for.
Tomorrow, they will turn their written observations into a more formal constructed response with supporting evidence from the text.
These two texts offer excellent groundwork for writing and discussion as we begin the novel, The Skin I’m In, next week.