More Lessons from Collaborative Inquiry: Using Prediction to select a Novel

I am so excited to observe a lesson study at Woodroffe High School tomorrow. The collaborative ideas have created such an interesting lesson.

The English Department Head, Scott Gordon, identified a problem with student selections of novels to read independently. The would use the images on the cover, or the number of pages as factors in selecting a novel to read. He wanted to encourage them to engage with the story, the content of the novel, before they chose what to read, so he copied the first few pages of each novel and let them read before they could even see the cover or the size of the novel.

This class of Grade 9 students is still at the stage of building their reading capacity, so the amount of text to read in a period is an important consideration in designing the lesson. Courtney Callahan suggested that we have students sort the writing to match with the cover of the novels.

These pictures of the novel covers will be on ledger sized paper and posted around the room. In small groups, students will be given one page from the beginning of two novels. They will read the pages in a group and decide which piece of writing fits with which novel cover.


They will also use accountable talk and sentence stems to make predictions about the novel. These cards are laminated so they can use dry erase markers to write on. We won’t use all of these; instead, we selected a few from “Make a Prediction” so we can begin using reading strategies.

Anne Marie Reid is so open to new strategies and techniques and brings a genuine concern for students to the table. And the experience of Allison Loness gave us insight into the use of large amounts of text in a pre-reading activity. Both of them kept the students in mind during the planning.

We also want to make sure that we are observing the skills required to complete the task. Janice Isaac suggested that we use both quantitative and qualitative observations. She suggested we consider a scale “to what extent” for each of the observable behaviors, and I created this Observation chart. It will be so interesting to see how it worked in our debrief.

Observable Behaviours
Student 1: ______________
Student 2: ______________
To what extent are students engaging in Accountable Talk?
1            2            3            4
1            2            3            4
What is the quality of the Accountable Talk?
To what extent are students able to make a prediction?
1            2            3            4
1            2            3            4
What is the quality of the prediction?
Group interactions:

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