Common Core Connections
The standard that this lesson focuses on requires the students to retell stories and demonstrate an understanding of the central message. They need to not only understand the central message but be able to analyze how the central message develops and cite supporting details. Exposure to a wide range of texts that are highly complex and guided practice are two tools that I find useful in teaching this standard.
The lesson begins with the student seated because the image is on the Promethean board. As the lesson progresses, the students get a chance to work in collaborative groups of two or three at the center tables to complete their partner work. Last, they move to the lounge area for reflection and closure.
I show the picture of the lesson image and ask the class to discuss with their partner what they think we will be reading about today. Asking a question that involves making a prediction based on an illustration is a fun activating strategy that gets my students thinking. Then I tell my students that we are going to read a fictional story that takes place during the winter.
I explain that the beginning, middle, and ending of a story are like a roller coaster. I made a Plot Poster that is in the resources. I label the beginning, middle, and end. I use a roller coaster because it is something interesting and fun. Students can connect to a roller coaster.
I read the story stopping periodically to identify the characters, the setting, and the events. I remind students to create a movie in their mind as I read. It is difficult for many students to develop listening comprehension, because many people are very visual. The illustrations are discussed in detail as we get to each page. Some questions include: How did Poppleton feel when his friend and mother did not like his icicles? Why did Hudson not like them? How do you know that is Poppleton's house? How do you know Poppleton is nice? I put these questions on a post it in my book ahead of time to ensure I read them at the right time and don't forget anything. If students are unsure after I ask questions I reread the text. When I do this they listen for the specific details and are usually able to answer the questions. After chapter one I ask them to give me a mini summary or simply retell me the story. If they struggle I will show them the pictures in the text as they are explaining.
We do a graphic organizer for chapter one. Students discuss the beginning with their partner. Then one volunteer shares his or her idea. I write the idea on the graphic organizer on the board. Students then write one sentence about the beginning of the chapter. We look at the first picture and I read the text. In the upper half they can create an illustration if they finish early. Then I show them the middle of the chapter. Students discuss the middle, one student shares, and I write the idea on the graphic organizer on the board. They write middle on the next slit of the organizer. We repeat the steps for the ending.
The graphic organizer can be found at the Florida Center for Reading Research in K-1 Comprehension Activities.
I am very fortunate to have had several Donor's Choose Projects funded. In one project I selected Poppleton in Spring and Poppleton in Fall. So, I have a set of 3 of each book. I also have a classroom set of Poppleton in Winter. I try to keep the subject or character similar to the guided practice. I usually do not allow the students to use the text I used in the model, but this is their first experience doing a big comprehension and writing task. I am scared that it is too hard and they will get frustrated, but I want to challenge my class. So, I allowed them to choose the book from the guided practice if they wanted to.
I allow my students to get into their collaborative groups of two or three and go to the center tables. I have the materials set up there. Each group creates their own graphic organizer. There is a video showing a Partner Work their work in the resources. Members can take turns writing or one person can write. Each group gets one text.
The students move to the lounge and I create an opportunity for them to work on their speaking and listening skills. I ask each group to present their graphic organizer to another group. I just match up groups. I give them a number and say one go first. Then I say okay twos go. Communication between groups enhances comprehension and builds a supportive classroom community.
Students tell their peanut butter jelly partner one thing they learned. These are heterogenous partners that I assign. Students collaborate frequently with this assigned partner throughout the day.
I restate the objective. I can retell a story. Students echo, repeat, and say it again. Repetition builds memory and telling a friend makes learning personal. I think it is important to restate the lesson objective often so the students understand what they are supposed to be learning.