In today's lesson I will engage my students in a discussion about being afraid. My students will sequence the story events by drawing pictures on a Beginning/middle/end template. Being able to sequence the story events will help my students give an accurate retell which is important for all grade level reading and writing skills. It is important to lay the foundation of story retell for true comprehension. In later grades, the tests are weighed heavily on the student's ability to refer back to story details to answer questions. I feel that in Kindergarten, I am able to lay the foundation through fun stories that capture their interest and motivate them to want to listen and participate. Listening is not a passive skill. I choose stories that I can be animated while reading it and literally "suck" them into the story. If a student is sucked into a story, they experience it. They connect their experiences to it. They understand it. They become excited to retell it, draw it, write about it or do art projects about it. They have ownership of it. It will be a story they enjoy for ever.
My students are seated on the carpet ready for whole group reading.
"I am going to read a story to you about a Little Old Lady who Wasn't Afraid of Anything?
Afraid, say it; "Afraid".
Hmmm, what does the word afraid mean?"
I call on several students for a definition.
"You are right, it means to feel afraid or scared. I remember a time when I was afraid. I had been sweeping and cleaning my house and I had all the doors open. I walked up the stairs and saw something run down the hall. I crept in slowly and looked, I could not find anything. I called Mr. Adams to help me, under the bed was the neighbors huge black cat! I was so afraid when I did not know what it was. And then we laughed when we saw that it was just a cat. "
"I want to see how many of you have ever been afraid. I have a T-Chart here that I want you to put a little sticky note on either yes or no. If you were ever afraid put your sticky here under yes. If you were not ever afraid put your sticky here under no."
I use the T-chart to establish if my students have ever been afraid. I am checking for understanding of the concept of being afraid hoping to connect their personal feelings with the feelings of the character in the story.
I love the fall and the changes in the weather. I love integrating science and social studies into my reading and writing activities. To me this book is more about FALL than it is Halloween. I try to stay clear from actual Halloween stories so I don't offend some of my families. This book lends itself to fun reading and participation by the students. Because of it's repetition of the events, the sequencing is easily remembered.
"I have a fun story I want to read to you. When I read this story, I want you to help me in some parts. I will tell you when and show you how to do the hand motions. I also want you to watch for the story details and the order they appear in the story so you can retell the story. SHHHHHH! In this story the Little Old Lady says she is not afraid of anything, I wonder if that is true?
Let's read it and find out.
I begin this part of my lesson with what I want my children to be listening for.
"I am going to read the book; The little old lady who wasn't afraid of anything. As I am reading I want you to listen to who the characters are. Tell me, what a is a character? Listen for the setting, where the story takes place. What does setting mean? And last, please listen carefully to what happens in the story. We need to identify the events that take place. What is an event?"
I review character, setting & event because that was our last ELA skill I taught. I am now teaching predictions and story retell as new ELA skills.
"I would like to point out the details of the second picture. Look what I see in the picture, the shoes, the pants, the shirt, the gloves, the hat and the pumpkin. Hmmm, I think you might want to pay attention to see what is going to happen. OHHHh, I am getting afraid just getting ready to read this story."
Reviewing picture details is important because it builds knowledge and vocabulary for the rest of the story. As I read I teach them to say and do the actions which are repeated through out the story. I demonstrate how to perform the actions.
Shoes go "Clomp, Clomp" - I have the students slap their thighs.
Pants go " Wiggle, Wiggle" - I have the students wiggle at their waists.
Shirt goes "Shake, Shake" - I have the students shake forward and backward.
Gloves go "Clap, Clap" - I have the students clap their hands.
Hat goes "Nod, Nod" - I have the students exaggerate a nod of the head.
Pumpkin head goes "BOO, BOO!" - I have the students place their hands around their mouths and shout BOO, BOO!
As each object appears I ask,
"Is she afraid? If so why do you think she is afraid? How do you know?
At the end I ask them who is afraid?
I love using thinking maps and templates. I like using them because they are a visual organizer for their thoughts and ideas. I use the Beginning/Middle/End template which is the same as a Flow Map. I made up my own template because it is hard to find templates that are K friendly. After using this template, it is easy to move on to a First/Next/Last and then a First/Next/Then/Last template for story retell. Using the template allows the students to draw their picture first and get their idea on the paper. Eventually they can look at their picture and write the accompanying sentences. The students find this method of retell easy to use which makes it easy for them to retell the story. It is like magic.
I model using the large "Beginning/Middle/End" poster by drawing pictures. I have the class help me decide what should be drawn for the beginning and I draw it. I have them speak using the sentence frame; "In the beginning of the story .. ". I use sentence frames because they help the my students speak in full sentences that are grammatically correct. Sentence frames make speaking to each other less intimidating. I then draw what we have decided on. If they are off track I act out my thinking skills using the Think Aloud strategy. I say "hmmm, I remember ..... happened, should I draw that or what you have told me? Which one would be best for our story retell? I then ask what happened in the middle of the story. Using the sentence frame "In the middle of the story . . . . " I then draw what we decided happened in the middle of the story. I then point to the last box and ask what happened at the end of the story? Tell me using the sentence frame; "At the end of the story .....".
When the template is finished, we chorally use the sentence frames to retell the story. I show them their template and point to each section for clarification. (It is identical to my template.) What part of the story goes here? The beginning. What part of the story goes here? The middle. What part of the story goes here? The End.
I send them a row at a time to get their pencil boxes and sit at their tables. I move the template to the center of the room so all students can see it. Because I am just introducing this skill, some students will need to copy what I have done. Higher level students do not need this resource and will not refer to it. Later in the year, I will erase the template and they will have to recall the information themselves.
I walk around and assist my lower students with prompting and support. (Some students are still struggling with fine motor skills. So I use a highlighter to draw or write for them and they trace what I drew or wrote.)
When all the students are finished, we gather on the carpet for our individual story retell. I call a row to stand up in front of the class and one at a time each student points to his/her picture and tells the story. We applaud after each retell. This is the magic! This is the true assessment! Did they listen and understand enough of the story to draw the beginning, middle and end of the story? Did they draw the correct parts? Can they orally retell the story? I am always amazed at how well all my students do, from the student with the most limited English proficiency to the one who has the most command of the language.
I like to end my day with a review of the lesson I gave today. Watching a video reviews the content and vocabulary. Because my students have already listened to the story, they look forward to each story event. They pick up on the vocabulary words and act out the parts with excitement. I show the video at the end of the day when they are packed up and ready for dismissal.
I found these flannel board figures that could be made and used for a story retell activity.