Standards and Objective
Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
- A digital recording device or an app that can record a story told by a student. Audacity, Audioboo, or AudioMemos are inexpensive options.
- A copy of the graphic organizer for persuasive writing, the Hamburger
- The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda begins with a mystery. A student who is described as “a loser” seems to have wisdom coming from an unknown place or force. Dwight can’t seem to earn the respect of his classmates, but he doesn’t seem to care. Mike, Tommy, and Kellen debate whether or not the paper wad Dwight created is real. Well, it is real, but does it have powers? Is the power authentic? It seems unlikely that a paper puppet can give accurate advice, but it seems even harder to believe Dwight has that ability.
Listen to the first few chapters of Origami Yoda to hear three points of view on whether or not the puppet has powers. In each case, there is evidence to consider. Listen for details and the unique experiences of each of the three boys in the beginning of the book.
Play: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. Stop the recording at 31:18, after Mike’s story.
Working in pairs of groups or three, have students explore the Hamburger Model. The topic will be whether or not the Origami Yoda is real.
Have students write a complete sentence stating their point of view. For example, “There is no way the Origami Yoda is actually giving the advice. It has to be Dwight.”
Under each of the three “reason circles” (or layers of the sandwich’s ingredients) write about Mike, Tommy and Kellen’s experiences with the Origami Yoda (on the baseball field, at the dance, and in the restroom, respectively). Include, briefly, what Yoda said and what the outcome was.
In the final conclusion, decide if you, or your group, believe that the Origami Yoda is real or not and state your analysis in complete sentences. Either way, explain what is driving the paper puppet to give such wise advice, and be certain to use clear and concise communication.
Summary: Take a vote among the class to see which students think the story will end with Yoda being real, and possibly powered by the force, or if they think Dwight is consciously trying to trick them. Discuss how you predict the story will end (if this is the first exposure to the tale) or how you would like it to end. What is motivating Dwight to suddenly give this advice, if he is the one doing it? Why do the students seem to be interested if they really don’t like Dwight? The students may choose to listen to rest of the story to find out what other characters, like Sara and Harvey.
Extensions and Variations
The hamburger model can be recreated to look like a Star Wars vehicle called the Tie Fighter (flying on the side). The introduction and conclusion could be the wings, and the main body of the ship could be the reasons. Students who are highly motivated by the Star Wars theme may be more engaged in the lesson if they filled in a “Tie Fighter” instead of a layered hamburger for their graphic organizer.
The author was insprited by a complex origami figure called Furniaki Kawahata’s Origami Yoda, but created a simpler version. Tom Angleberger keeps directions for folding the figures in his books on his blog.
About the Common Core
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) lay out very specific listening requirements, by grade, as part of a dedicated strand for speaking and listening skills. The standards specify the use of ‘other media’ within the standards, e.g., “CCSS.ELA-Literacy 3.2 Determine the main ideas and supporting details of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.”
Listening is placed on equal footing with reading, writing and speaking. And for those tempted to just pair audio with visual text, that approach is common and valid with emerging readers, but not what the standards intend.
The CCSS also requires students to comprehend texts of steadily increasing complexity as they progress through school. Audio books can act as an important scaffold that allows students to read above their actual reading level.
Learn more at www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy.