Always Running is a GREAT book to read with 11th or 12th grade Continuation School Students. My school is located close to the setting of this Los Angeles Coming of Age story. In Rodriquez' intro he states that this is the book that non-readers, read-I personally can confirm this is true. He also mentions that this is the most stolen book from libraries, I can attest to this too.
This memoir speaks to my students as they are able to compare themselves to the main character. although many of my students have not quite lived such a abused upbringing...some of my students have. This book is the perfect mix of high interest, medium - high text complexity, figurative language and imagery, and tons of opportunities for close readings.
A colleague and I decided to beef up our prior lesson plans and decided to include some Close Readings and a "Smarter Balance like" assessment of the close reading.
This was our first time, and we plan on tweaking a few things, but I thought it was worth sharing. We focused on the "The Long Run: New Introduction to Always Running" We felt that this gave a good overview of the Luis Rodriquez' writing style, intentions/audience, and the structure of the novel. Not only did it give students a taste of what to expect, but it explained the "why". Why it is an important story to write, why it is a necessary story to read, why this story is relevant to the world we live in today. Within these truths are beautiful metaphors, complex vocabulary and wonderful imagery that allows students to think and get buy-in...as if they needed extra buy-in, they were hooked in the first paragraph.
First we typed up important parts of the introduction for ourselves so we could write all over it. We needed a blank canvas to begin to really make a good lesson and unit plan. We highlighted key vocabulary and came up with a key concept. We bundled this concept with the documentary G-Dog, and since we are in Los Angeles we are lucky enough to take a field trip to Homeboys industries.
Key Concept: Adversity Essential Question: What does overcoming adversity look like?
Literary Elements we wanted to cover: writing style, figurative language, imagery, symbolism, repetition, citing evidence, and authors purpose
Direct Instruction Vocabulary for the Introduction: Adversity, thrive, accolades, insular-minded, nuance, transcendent.
View our Annotations and focus on Quotes from the Introduction. For students using a text book this can be done with Post-its, half sheet that refer back to paragraph numbers, or typing up of key paragraphs for students to write on. My close readings will be available on Teacherspayteachers.com really soon!
For more ideas on teaching Always Running I am going to post my lessons on Teacherspayteachers.com very soon! Stay tuned!
This past year has been an exciting one! I was pregnant with my second child which unfortunately left me bedridden for much of the pregnancy and then the past 7 months I have been devoting all of my time to caring for my infant and giving my attention for my quickly growing 7 year old. As I am getting more sleep, I am back to posting great strategies for Alternative Ed and At-risk students.
If you are a teacher or work at a California Continuation school the CCEA conference is a MUST. You can register at http://cceanet.org/http://cceanet.org/ If you are interested in seeing some new strategies that work for alt ed. come see my presentation on Saturday: Best Practices in Alt. Ed by Jamie Alarcon. I look forward to seeing you there!
Our newest member: meet Jimi