So let's talk patterning.
To start, I usually assign patterns for students. Each small group gets one pattern to trace all the way through the book.
When we read Beloved, I gave them groups like:
- Empty/Full, Hungry/Satiated
- Colour & Light (and dark)
You can see that those groups are pretty conceptual and also loosely defined. Part of the fun of patterning is figuring out what does and doesn't fit into the pattern. And the students in each pattern group get to make the call of whether it fits or not, so long as they can justify it (claim-evidence-commentary!).
The way this looks in class is that as we read, students highlight anything that fits their pattern groups. Then at the end of each chapter, they choose what I call "Crystal Quotes" - the ones that they think are most important from that section.
To add extra fun to the process, I also choose 1-3 quotes from each pattern group ahead of time that I think are the most important. Then groups get a few extra points if they choose the same ones I did. It forces them to think critically and articulate more clearly how their quote fits their theme.
The beauty of this model is that students ALREADY HAVE THEIR EVIDENCE FOR ANY WRITING YOU WANT THEM TO DO. They have TONS of evidence and just have to choose from all their crystal quotes. But they also can write about a different pattern because they have all of the crystal quotes from the other groups too.
Here is a link to an example chapter from Beloved. I'm excited to try it digitally this year instead though.
Just not with Beloved. 6th grade is definitely too young for that.