Making Shadows with Foreshadowing While We Predict!

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SWBAT use questions, illustrations, words and background knowledge to make a prediction and describe how rhyming and rhythm add meaning to the text.

Big Idea

There are "shadow’s" of meaning that help us predict – pictures, words, and what you already know!



I chose these books because the kids love them and I consider them classic literature. The kids all know about the 'spider version' but it was fun to read these other versions. The illustrations are excellent and very conducive to predicting. 

This is one of the lessons in the middle of my prediction unit and my students have used the SEE/KNOW/READ strategy and are familiar with questioning. For more background on these strategies, take a look at Peek Inside and Predict (Lesson 1 of 2)Peek Inside and Predict (Lesson 2 of 2)Predict the Ending - It Goes Around and AroundPredict the Ending and Use the Characters' VoicesPredict Using Characters' Action and RhythmGo Figure with Figurative Language and Tie it Together with Transition Words.

Let's Get Excited!

5 minutes

Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics.  The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary.  My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words.


Gain student interest

  • “Today we will be predicting the end to a story.  We're going to see how an author uses foreshadowing.”  Put that word on the board.  "What word do you see in that word?  Pause … "That's right- shadow!"
  • "I brought some shadows today."  Put up on the powerpoint and show slide by slide.
  • "See if you can predict what we are going to read about from the shadows!"

Teacher's Turn

20 minutes

Preview the task

  • "We are going to read a story about a snowman today." Show the book.  "I love this author because she has LOTS of great illustrations, and it's fun to predict the ending!"
  • "The snowman picture that we looked at demonstrated foreshadowing. Authors use foreshadowing in books with illustrations and words to help us predict and build excitement."
  • "Foreshadowing involves asking questions, looking at the illustrations and reading the exposition-beginning of the book.  Here's the whiteboard with these foreshadowing ideas.  


Review the strategies

  • "Before we predict, we need to do some pre-reading.  We've done this before-take a look at the chart on the board." If you have not introduced SEE-KNOW-READ, take a few moments now. 
  • "What do you SEE on the cover?  Ask yourself some questions - Who is that? What is happening? …We can use the illustrations and questioning  to help us find information.  Let's write down some of your ideas."  Take ideas, prompt with the characters, setting...write them on the chart.
  • "What do we KNOW about this character?  Some of you said that you had read books by this author?" Take ideas and write them down on the chart.  "She swallows lots of silly things….  There are sounds - We call those sounds onomatopoeia. " Introduce or review that word as necessary.
  • "I'll READ the first 2 pages. Let's ask a few more questions.  Why is she doing this? ….?"  prompt for ideas and write on the chart 
  • Here's the completed chart on the whiteboard.
  • "Did you notice how I am reading? The sentences sound like a song. That's called rhythm.  What about the words 'scarf' and 'barf'  and 'snow' and 'know'? Yes, those words rhyme.  This author uses rhyming and rhyme to give us meaning in the story!" 


As students use rhythm, rhyme and onomatopoeia, they are describing how words and phrases supply meaning in this story. (RL.2.4) They are interpreting words and phrases as they are used in the text purposefully by the author. This figurative language shapes meaning and tone in the story. This kind of close reading with a focus on figurative language and wording is a shift in learning based on the Common Core State Standards.


Demonstrate the prediction

  • "Let’s predict the ending!  I'll look at my clues that foreshadow the end. I'm going to use black paper and a white crayon because black is the color of a shadow.  Each time I find a clue, I'll write in on the black page in a list." 
  • "Now let's read up to the marked page."  Read the story, adding single words on a list on the black page, such as pipe, coal, scarf, hat ... Stop at the marked page (right before the picture of the snowman. Here's the list that I had for the inside of the project.).
  • "Now I have lots of ideas and I’ll predict.  I think that the old lady"... guess it a little bit wrong by saying I think she'll become a snowman. "I'll write that idea on the bottom of the list and circle it, because it’s my prediction."
  • Read the last pages.  "I was almost right with my prediction.  I'll cross it off and write the correct ending and circle that.  Now I'll make a snowman, since that's what was at the end." Draw a snowman on the white paper (as tall as the list) - and add some simple details.  Here's my front of my project.
  • "I'll cut the 2 pages together into a snowman shape and staple the black page on the back of the white page.  Now the snowman has a shadow, because there was lots of fore'shadow'ing in the book!"

The Students' Take a Turn

20 minutes

Explain the task

  • "I brought some books from the same author for you to read. You'll be using  the foreshadowing to predict the end."  Pass out black paper and white crayons.
  • "Read your books in a group and write down clues that foreshadow the ending. You can take turns reading or one person can read the story. Let's review the rules for group work.
  • "Use the rhythm and rhyming to help you understand the meaning better. Look at the illustrations and words to get ideas.  I'll be walking around to hear you questioning. Who..what..when..where.. why... how.  This questioning helps us to understand better and predict more accurately."
  • "Each person should add clues to their own black paper.  Remember to write down the middle of the paper only. Stop at the end of the book where I put the marker and make your prediction. Try to use the clues to better understand the characters, setting and plot.”
  • "Write your prediction and circle it on your paper. Then raise your hand and let me check it before you look – don’t peek !! After I check your prediction, then you can read the rest of the book."
  • "You have 10 minutes to use foreshadowing to predict the end of the bookl" Give your kids 10 minutes and a one minute warning to finish. 


This focus on asking and answering questions to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text (RL.2.1) helps students read closely to determine why at the text says explicitly and make logical inferences form it. They are citing specific textual evidence to support the answers. They are also using information gained from the illustrations and words to demonstrate understanding of the characters, setting and plot. (RL.2.7) As they integrate and evaluate the content presented visually and in words, I am encouraging the students to draw on their own abilities to discover answers by themselves rather than relying on adults to supply the answers. 


Supervise and prompt

  • "Wow, lots of good ideas!  Now use your white paper and draw a picture of what you predicted from the top to the bottom of your paper in the middle (so it matches the list).  Come up and get it stapled when you're done.”
  • “Great job predicting with foreshadowing today.  You used illustrations, as well as what you could SEE/KNOW/READ to get lots of clues.  The foreshadowing in this book really helps you to predict.  We'll be doing more predicting in the future!!"

Apply It!

10 minutes

Share the ideas

  • "Now that you have all done such a GREAT job predicting, lets share.  I need a volunteer group to come up and tell us your foreshadowing clues on the black paper. We can try to predict the ending to your book. Show us one good illustration from the book and tell us if there was rhythm and rhyming words.  With good illustrations and words, we can better understand the characters, setting and plot of the story!”
  • Have the groups come up and share their clues.  Let the class guess and then let the kids share their projects.
  • "That was great fun!  I love this series because it’s so fun to predict!!  The foreshadowing, rhythm and rhyme makes reading the story more enjoyable!"


Scaffolding and Special Education:  This lesson can be scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.  

For students with lesser academic abilities, the group work should allow them to have others read but give them a chance to contribute ideas. The books have great pictures, but they may need another student to read and help with vocabulary. 

For students with greater academic skills, they should be challenged to really use the rhythm and rhyme in the stories and make some inferences. These books are full of humor and underlying ideas (there are extra characters in the pictures that can help the reader infer what will happen and they also are doing funny actions that add to the meaning of the story.)