Saturday, April 7, 2012

"Crack open" a line

     This week we tried out "cracking open" lines authors write. We learned that to analyze is to examine details carefully, break open the pieces to dig deeper. Analyzing is pausing to think about what you read, the heart of analyzing in my opinion is discussion. We talked about how in books there are many lines that the author puts in to show you something, to reveal something to you, in other words to urge you to THINK BIG!
      We read John Henry by Julius Lester. (Great book for figurative language!) At the end we found the line we knew we had to analyze, to "crack open" and discuss meaning.

"But whether it was a whisper or a thought, everyone had the same knowing at the same moment, Dying ain't important, everybody does that. What matters is how well you do your living"

We discussed and jotted what we thought this line meant together. The students had to bring it back to the text and describe what in the book happened that made them think this. 

It was a great discussion and we will continue to "crack open" more lines together. I hope students will find these lines in their own books to think deeply about and write their thinking about. 


  1. Amy,
    What a thought provoking post. I love the idea of "cracking open" a line to think more deeply about what the author is trying to say. I'm thinking your students will likely be finding lines in their own books to crack open --- and perhaps writing lines in their own stories for others to crack open. Thanks for sharing your chart and student work samples.


  2. I like the way you are teaching your students to read like writers; looking at how one sentence can be used to say a whole lot more. Your lesson is a great example for teachers on how they can examine writer's craft with their students.