All Ways

play by David Hill , illustrated by Aśka

Learning Intention:

I am learning how to use text processing strategies to monitor meaning in a text so that I can read a drama script with appropriate fluency and expression.

Success Criteria:

  • I can explain what the text processing strategy ‘monitoring meaning’ refers to.
  • I can implement this strategy when I am reading a text.
  • I can use this strategy to read a text with fluency and expression.

Essential Knowledge:

This play personifies three different thinking processes in the brain (Noway, Everyway, Whichway). You may wish to conduct a Perspectives activity using the Digital Learning Selector resources to frontload the concepts of an individual having diverse viewpoints.

To encourage students to experiment with vocal expression, play the game ‘Say it Another Way’. Give students a range of prompt cards for the way they should deliver the nursery rhyme ‘Humpty Dumpty’. For example, ‘say it as if you are in a hurry’ or ‘say it as if you are reading the news on the television’.

Prior to reading the text, explicitly teach the students the metacognitive comprehension strategy ‘monitoring meaning’. This strategy requires students to keep track of what they understand as they read the text and, conversely, what they do not understand. As students read, they should be monitoring whether they can identify the main idea, outline the arguments presented, or in the case of the play ‘All Ways’ explain the differences between the characters Noway, Everyway and Whichway. Explain to students that good readers can identify when they are confused by a text and have a range of strategies to remedy this confusion.

Read the play aloud with different class members assuming roles. After reading, call on volunteers to distinguish between the three characters. Students are likely to find this a challenging task after only one read-through of the text. This is because the characters’ different perspectives are only expressed through short sentences about vague topics. There are no specific events in this play, nor are the characters described as being different in their physical appearance.

Provide students with a range of strategies to monitor meaning. Choose strategies that suit the needs of your class. Suggested monitoring strategies include:

  • Re-read the text. As students read, they have three columns, one for each character. They write down adjectives that describe their character traits. For example, Noway could be described as rude ‘Goodbye’ and difficult ‘Don’t want to’; Everyway could be described as positive ‘You’re so right’ and open-minded ‘You’re both right’; Whichway could be described as confused ‘About what?’ and not a very good listener ‘Is what right?’
  • Re-read the text. As students read, they highlight the key words that indicate each of the character’s personalities in a different colour. These colours could represent the overall tone of the character (Noway could be red for aggressive, Everyway could be yellow for positivity, Whichway could be grey for confusion).
  • Re-read the text. As students read, they draw your impression of the character with a focus on their facial expressions and body language.

Once students have conducted a monitoring strategy, conduct another class discussion that identifies the differences between the three characters.

Finally, break the class into groups of six. This will allow each group member to adopt a role in the play. Using their knowledge of the differences between the characters, students adopt the appropriate tone of voice to reflect their characteristics. For example:

  • Brainwave is likely to speak slowly and with a deep voice.
  • The hosts are likely to be upbeat and engaging.
  • Noway is likely to have a sharp, negative tone of voice.
  • Everyway is likely to speak with a fast pace with an upbeat tone.
  • Whichway is likely to speak with a slow pace, confused tone and possibly an upwards inflection.