All By Myself

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Objective

Students will be able to share information about themselves either verbally or written while practicing phonetic writing skills (inventive spelling) and sight word recognition.

Big Idea

Telling others about things they can do themselves helps students practice verbal and written communication skills.

INTRODUCTION

15 minutes

Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.

In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.

The students then clear their space and walk to take a seat on their assigned spot on the rug.

 

Once all of the students are seated on their spots, I ask the students to think about some of the things they can do for themselves. 

"Room 203 I want you to put on your thinking caps and think about some of the things that you can do all by yourself without any help from a grown-up."

I let the student think for about 10 seconds. 

"Okay everyone should have an idea of one thing they can do all by themselves in their head. I am going to pull out five fair sticks and those people can share something they can do all by themselves."

I use the Fair Sticks to select five students. As each fair stick is pulled out I allow that student to share with the class what they can do without any help. 

I only select five students because this is just a quick introduction to our topic and I do not want my audience to be sitting too long or I may lose my audiences attention. 

When the five student have shared their skills with us I say, "Those were all great responses. Do not worry if you did not get a chance to share what you can do all by yourself because you will be able to tell me about it at one of our work stations today after the story."

"Now I want everyone to get comfortable and put their listening ears on because we are going to read a book about a little critter who is going to tell us what he can do all by himself."

ACTIVITY

20 minutes

I show the students the cover of the book and read the title.

“The title of this book is All By Myself. If the book is called All By Myself, what do you think this book is going to be about?”

I select two or three students to express their predictions to the class (I only select two or three students to share their prediction so the rest of the class does not get bored and cause a disruption). Ask the students who answer to explain why they think their answer is right. For example, “Why do you think the book is about someone who can do something by themselves?”

Next, I tell the students the person who wrote this story is Mercer Mayer. "If Mercer Mayer wrote the words what is she called?” Hopefully a student will raise their hand and say “An author.” If no students are able to answer the question I tell the students, “The person who writes the words in a book is called an author.”

Repeat this process by saying, “Mercer Mayer also drew the pictures. If she drew the pictures what is she called?” Hopefully a student will raise their hand and say, “The illustrator.” If no students are able to answer the questions tell the students, “The person who draws the pictures in a book is called the illustrator.”


Now I go ahead and read the story to the students.
While I am reading the book I check in with the students by asking them if they can do the same things the main character can do. You can do this in two ways;

  • ask the students to raise their hands if they can do the same thing as the main character, or
  • ask the students to raise their hand if they can do the same thing as the main character and tell you about it when you select them. If you choose to do (b) then only select two or three students each time so you do not lose your audience through boredom.

 

When the book is over I tell the students they will be able to share two things they are able to do themselves.

"Room 203, today at one of your integrated work stations you will be making your own book which tells the reader two things you are able to do all by yourself."

"At this station you will find a little book which looks like this one (I hold up an example for the students to see). It will be your job to firstly write your name on the cover and then draw two things you can do; one on each page." 

All by Myself master

"Room 203 once you have drawn two things you are able to do all by yourself I want you to go ahead and be the author by completing the sentence at the bottom of the page."

 

 

Show the little book you made ahead of time of three things that you are able to do yourself.
Explain to the students how you wrote your words phonetically using your skills with letter sounds and sight words. Of course this will make sense to your higher functioning students, but you will need to assist other students.  
Go over the sight word “my.”
Remind the students to take pride in their work by drawing and writing carefully so other people can use their illustration as a picture clue like we do when reading our books. 

 

 

Once I sure the students understand the expectations I send the students over to their seats a few at a time to maintain a safe environment in your classroom.

"Station number one go have some "I can" fun.

Station number two you know what to do. 

Station number three I hope you were listening to me.

Station number four shouldn't be here anymore."


Allow the students about 15-20 minutes to complete the task.

 

The importance of Phonetic Spelling

CLOSURE

10 minutes

When the timer goes off I tell the students it is time to clear their space and put their work in the correct location. Completed work goes in the finished work bin and uncompleted work goes in the under construction bin. Work in the under construction bin can be completed by the student later in the day when the student has some spare time or just before free choice center time. 

"Boys and girls, when I say "Go," I need you to place your work in the correct bin, clean up your space, push in your chair and use walking feet to take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go." By saying "walking feet," the students are reminded to use walking feet in the classroom which helps maintain a safe environment for all students. 

Sample of student work with teacher support

Sample of student work with inventive spelling

Sample of student work where student copied words from dictated response

Sample of student work with inventive spelling

Once the students are seated on their spots I tell them that their exit ticket for today is to twll me one thing can do for themselves. 

"Room 203 your exit ticket to get your snack today is to tell me one thing you can do all by yourself without any help from a grown-up. You need to be able to tell me in a complete sentence which makes sense. For example I might say, "One thing I can do all by myself is brush my teeth." Does everyone understand?"

Once I am sure the students understand the expectation I use the fair sticks to determine the order of the students. After the student has told the class what he/she can do for themselves, he/she is able to sue the hand sanitizer and go to get his/her snack.  

If a student has difficulty coming up with something they can do for themselves, I have him/her wait on the rug until all of his/her peers are gone and then we work on coming up with something he/she can do for themselves. 

This exit ticket process allows me to assess if the student can respond to a question using a complete sentence and it reinforces the activity we just completed. 

ASSESSMENT

5 minutes

Take pictures of the student work or keep a copy of the student book for their portfolio and for your record of the student’s ability to phonetically spell or not.

Have the students come over to you one at a time during either work station time or free choice center time.

Show the student the sentence, “I can _________.” The students should be able to read the sight words to you and verbally complete the sentence so it makes sense. Based on what you observed in the student work book you can ask the student to write their own response or you can act as a scribe for the student.

Ask the student to write the word “my.” Record the result for the student’s work portfolio.  

EXTENSIONS

Ask the students to think about what happened the first time they tried something new like doing a jigsaw puzzle, or writing their name. Where they able to do it right away? What did they do if they failed the first time? Tell the students that if something is too hard to do the first time, they can take “baby steps” to meet the challenge. Explain that “baby steps” means to do a little bit at a time.

Ask the students about something they would like to be able to do at school. For example, remember their lunch number or tie their shoe. Write the elected goal/task on a goal card titled “I can do it!” Have the students’ brain storm the “baby steps” it will take to complete the task. Record these “steps” on a set of cut out bare feet.  For example, write “tie my shoes” on the end goal card. Step 1 – tie a granny knot, step 2- make bunny ears for the loops, step 3 – cross the bunny ear loops over each other, step 4 – tie the loops, and step 5 – pull the loops tight. Place the step cards like footprints going up the side of a bulletin board and place the goal card at the top.

As each student masters a step they could write their name on a sticky note and put it next to the correct “step” until they reach the goal card. Then you could give them a “You did it!” certificate in recognition of their accomplishment. 

Baby Steps Resource