The lessons housed within this unit all provide practice on specific skills or strategies. Some lessons were written to see what students remember and/or can do at the beginning of the year. Others were used to re-teach groups of students who hadn’t quite mastered the chosen skill when it was first introduced. Still others were designed to give students meaningful practice while I conducted required testing.
All lessons used texts that were familiar or easily decodable so that students’ energies were spent on skill practice rather than trying to just make sense of the text itself. Many lessons include reproducibles that were made with graphics from Kevin and Amanda’s Fonts, Teaching in a Small Town, and Melonheadz Illustrating.
This lesson marks our third experience with Officer Buckle and Gloria (Rathman, P. (1995). Officer Buckle and Gloria. New York, NY: Putman Publishing Group). Students practiced both visualizing and inferring on the previous days’ lessons. Today’s focus is demonstrating understanding of the text.
I ask students to join me in the meeting area so that I can explain today’s task. I tell students that they will spend much of the period working with a partner while I conduct much needed conferences. First, students will reread the text with their partner. It doesn’t matter to me how they choose to read it - paragraph by paragraph, page by page, etc. - as long as both get to read.
When they finish reading, the students will return to their tables to complete comprehension task cards. I show students an example of cards, which I’ve laminated and placed on a ring. I explain that there are two sets of cards on each table. They can decide which card to start with and in what order they will complete the set. On each table are response sheets upon which they will record their answers. I remind students that their answers should be in complete sentences and show evidence of thought and support from the text. I encourage students to return to the text in order to find support rather than relying on memory for their answers. Since we’ve read the text multiple times, it would be very easy to feel confident in your memory of it. However, I want to build habits of going back into texts, locating support, and recording it on our page. If they can’t find support, then they must re-think their answers.
After taking questions about today’s assignment, I set students to work. They are to work with their reading partners, but can choose any place in the room to work. Because each partnership reads at a different pace, there is not a designated time for reading of the text. Rather, students are expected to move onto the response portion of the lesson as soon as they finish.
While students work, I conduct conferences with a few students who struggled to complete yesterday’s lesson.
Students turn in their completed work to the appropriate trays when finished. Any unfinished work is placed in their binders for completion later this week. I use these to help guide instruction for the next week.