I love working on comparing and contrasting. I decided to do this unit because I knew my students had experience with the traditional Disney Cinderella story. We are just looking at the story under two different lenses in this unit. As a teacher, I know how important it is to build background so my students can gain comprehension. As we read, it was fun to discuss how Cendrillion lives in the Caribbean, where the Caribbean is, and how her life might be living there.
Since I know how much oral language skills affect reading achievement, I have my students talk to each other consistently about the content we are learning. I will be asking my class text-dependent questions today about the story to get them talking and building vocabulary/content knowledge. Students will discuss the content with their partners, following agreed upon rules.
Finally, I am teaching my students to determine the meaning of words they may not understand by using their strategies. For example, Cendrillion wears a turban. Many of my students probably don't know what a turban is. We will discuss strategies as a class so students can decipher the meaning on their own.
For this lesson you will need the story, “Cendrillion” by Robert D. San Souci and Brian Pinkney. You will also either need the Smartboard Cinderella Compare and Contrast Lesson.notebook or Activboard Cinderella Compare and Contrast Lesson.flipchart lesson, the Teacher Questions Teacher Questions for Cinderella Stories.docx to have by your side when working on the circle map, and a globe or map. You will also want to preview the text ahead of time. I looked at the questions I would ask my students and marked the story with sticky notes, so I would know when to stop and ask my students questions.
I switch my partner groups daily. I think it's important that students are able to work with all their classmates, not just their "best friends". I've included several resources for you to help you group students in different ways PartnerPickingCards.pdf, sorting sticks.pdf, and fun_ways_to_group_students.
After I grouped my students, I had partners sit next to each other on the floor in front of the Smartboard. I said, "Partners, you have 20 seconds to figure out who is Person 1 and who is Person 2. Go." When students were done discussing, I stated the objective and gave them an overview of what we would be doing in the lesson. I said, "This week we are going to be reading 2 different Cinderella stories and we are going to be comparing and contrasting those two stories. Today we are reading the first story. It is called "Cendrillion." We are going to read the story and I will ask you questions about the story. You will describe the characters, settings, and major events in the story by telling me details. Then we are going to record those details on our circle map."
I read the first several pages. Then I stopped and said, "We just read where Cendrillion lived. Person 1. Discuss with your partner where Cendrillion lived." I gave the students about 20-30 seconds and then called on a student. I said, "That's right, she lives in the Caribbean. Do you know where the Caribbean is?" I took out my globe and showed the students where the Caribbean was. I said, "The Caribbean is near the equator. What do we know about the weather in places near the equator?" The class discussed that those places are warm. This will be important later when we discuss why Cendrillion might be wearing a turban on her head.
We continued on in this manner. I would read, then stop to ask questions. Partners would discuss and then we would share what we thought. Here are the remaining questions I asked:
I have a video Cendrillion - Discussing Story to Gain Meaning.mp4, showing how my students discussed the story. You will see that at times they are using their inferring skills and using context clues to gain meaning. This video may give you an idea of what this part of the lesson would look like in your classroom.
After discussing the story, I turned to slide 6 on the Smartboard lesson. It was time to record what we had just discussed. This part of the lesson may seem redundant because we had already discussed the answers. However, I wanted my students who struggle with listening, language and comprehension skills to have another opportunity to hear the information and let it "sink in."
I purposely made the teacher question sheet in different colors. This tells me what color to log the answer in on the circle map. This will make more sense to you on our Day 3 lesson because we color code our answers on our double bubble map. The students can locate the correct information on the circle map and where to put it on the double bubble map based on the color coding. Again, the questions were:
After I asked the questions, I had a student answer. I would ask the other students, "Do you agree or disagree? Why? Do you want to add anything?" Then I would record the information on our circle map. I have a video of this part of the lesson Cendrillion - Answering Questions About the Story and Making The Circle Map.mp4 so you can see what this part of the lesson might look like in your classroom.
You will notice there really isn't an independent practice section in this lesson. My focus for today's lesson is to zone in on the comprehension aspect through oral language and vocabulary development. My students will have opportunities in later lessons for independent practice.
I like my closures to be short and sweet. I've always thought the closure part of my lesson was my weakest part of my lesson, so I've been working on this part of my lesson. I found this resource 40_ways_to_leave_a_lesson online so I could find fun ideas for closures.
One of the closures my students LOVE is so simple. Again, I asked the same questions that were on my teacher question sheet. What makes the closure fun is by add a koosh ball into the mix. I ask the first question and throw the koosh ball to a volunteer and then they answer the question. Then I ask the next question and the student who has the ball throws it to someone else. The students love this and it turns an ordinary closure of asking questions into something engaging for everyone. I enjoy it too because it makes me smile to see the students having so much fun as they learn.