Title: “Free Response”
By: Krystal Billeck
Edited by: Stephanie Martinez & Heather Miller

Textbook Definition: active involvement or participation in reading through discussion or writing that includes inferential, evaluative, and analytic thinking about a book based on the reader’s response (Pg.416)
Description of the Lesson: Students take turn reading a paragraph out loud, and the teacher asks questions that encourages thinking and providing opinions in the classroom.
When it was Observed: September 22, 2011
Grade Level: 5th Grade
Objectives of the Lesson: The students will enhance their reading and comprehension skills.
Materials Needed for the Lesson:
  • Reading Material
  • Highlighters

Procedure: The teacher informed the class that they were going to be learning about “women during the Civil War” She had the students take turns reading paragraphs from the handout that covered the women that participated and contributed during the Civil War (Clara Barton, Louisa May Alcott, Mary Owens, Sarah Edmonds).
After the reading, Mrs. Brown instructed them to highlight specific facts from the text that they needed to remember. She explained why the facts were important and why they needed to remember it. She then asked them questions and for their thoughts on their readings.

Supporting Documents:
women_in_war_1.jpg
women_in_civil_war.jpg

My Observations of the Lesson: The students seemed to enjoy taking turns reading from the given text. None of the students had to be told when it was their turn to start reading. When one student was done reading his/her paragraph, the next student immediately began the next one. Also, when Mrs. Brown asked for the students’ thoughts on the reading, they all seemed to have their own views and opinions. Providing each child with an equal chance to read from the text keeps them alert, and giving them texts that are interesting to them will invoke thinking.
One of the questions Mrs. Brown asked them was, “Do you believe women should be soldiers in the army? And why or why not?”. This brought about some good ideas and some humorous ones. One student said that women are more fragile than men. Another student replied that women would only slow them down, and men and women just do not get along. One little girl thought that women are just as capable as men to be qualified soldiers. I thought Mrs. Brown’s questions were effective and thought-provoking for the lesson.

Benefits of “Free Response”: Implementing “free response” into the classroom…
  • promotes active student involvement
  • utilizes inferential, evaluative, and logical thinking
  • makes use of diverse opinions or emotional reactions from students

Drawbacks of “Free Response”: There are no drawbacks to "free response." Students should be encouraged to provide their thoughts and opinions on what they read.