Fourth Grade Journeys Lesson for My Brother Martin

Loosely based on another fantastic Pinterest find, I created an anchor chart for Journey's 4th grade Unit 1, Lesson 2 objective, finding the author's purpose.  The name of the selection is "My Brother Martin," and it's a biography that Martin Luther King's sister wrote about her brother, including humorous accounts of the early years!  (I think Journeys has GREAT selections for their whole class lessons).  Well, the chart was a hit!  I used the same layout, but noted those details Kristine King included about her brother to infer what she wanted us to know about him.

Since there is a LOT of text on here for a 4th grader to take in, I didn't just tack it up on the wall and read it to them.  Instead, I kept it rolled up and only unraveled down to the top 3 blue inferences I made.  The kids had to go back into the story with a partner to find evidence to support my inference.  After sharing, we did the same thing for the next two, and then for the bottom 3.  The kids were very engaged, not only finding relevant evidence, but also asking meaningful questions about civil rights.  They were practicing a usually difficult task, and getting excited with the suspense of seeing the entirety of the poster.

The lesson that followed involved the kids making their own inferences about the author's purpose.  It was obvious to them that "My Brother Martin" was supposed to inform us about what MLK's early years.  However, to help them make inferences about what various authors were trying to convey, I gave them a list of character traits (that's right, more Pinterest inspiration) to describe characters in their independent choice books.  This was a huge success!  Instead of hearing "this character is nice" and "that character is good (or happy.  Or friendly)," kids chose words that they were familiar with (just not part of their productive vocabulary) and found evidence to support their inferences.

Once they were able to think critically about the characters, the fact that (most) of their authors had the same purpose: to entertain, became clear.  All in all, a really successful lesson!  If you want to try it with your class but you don't use the Journeys Anthology, you can get a copy of My Brother Martin here (affiliate link).

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  1. I have been on your site for about an hour and am only stopping because my eyes are so tired!! Thanks so much for sharing all of your hard work and creativity - I'm excited about using the anchor charts for author's viewpoint and power sentences as well as the vocabulary techniques. Thanks for making my life easier!!

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Diane! I love being able to help (and learn from) teachers all over. :) I hope your kiddos find the charts engaging.


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