Common Core Connection
In this lesson, students will be describing the character using details from the text. The Kindergarten version of RL1.3 is to describe the characters, setting, or events with support. The second grade version of RL1.3 is to describe how the characters respond to major events. In thinking about these subtle differences, I am really stretching the skill to get my students to analyze how the pig responds to the events caused by the wolf. I hope doing so will help build the bridge from the first grade version of the standard up to the second grade version.
We focus on this analysis of characters through guided practice, partner work, discussion, and a presentation in this lesson. In the guided practice, I read The Poem of the "Three Little Pigs" from You Read To Me, And I'll Read to You by Mary Ann Hoberman. Then the class describes a character and justifies it with text evidence. In the partner work students work to answer a question that I propose. In the end of the lesson students present their work as their peers evaluate their work.
To engage the class I ask the students to describe the pigs and the wolf from the Three Little Pigs. They talk to their partner and I gather formative assessment information about the students' ability to meet the standard, RL1.3. I want to know if the students can describe the character, setting, and events. Once I know this information I know how much support I need to provide and how much scaffolding I will need in the lesson.
I explain the lesson plan so my students know what to expect. Then I ask the class to chant: "I can describe the characters and events in a story."
Just for fun and to give a little background knowledge, I play about one minute of the You Tube Video of The Three Little Pigs. I try to remember that not all cultures may tell this story, and some of my students may not know the story.
Then, we echo read (Example of Echo Reading) the story and stop at the end of each page for analysis. The students discuss with their partner the illustrations and the details that describe the characters (comments I expect: "The wolf looks mean ..." and "The pigs look sweet and innocent ..."). Then they must tell their partner the evidence they have to support their thoughts. I listen and share the conversation of a group that is exemplar. In addition, I listen to help and question the thinking of struggling learners. I write the details on the board. We repeat this for each page. On the last page, I allow the students to write the detail, and their text evidence on a piece of paper (Pig Description).
Then I read the four details that are on the board. I ask them to work with their partner to create a statement that describes the pig and one that describes the wolf. They often offer ideas that are not supported by the selected details. This is when I explain that these details must come from this text.
The students go to their desk and write another ending to the story using their understanding of the character details. In the version we read, the pig boiled the wolf, which we decided was extreme. We discuss some alternatives as a group ("He could have sued the wolf."). The class generates some more ideas, and I write them on the board to help students to spell the harder words. They pick their own solution and write about it. There is a rubric on the question sheet to guide the students: Answer the Question:Propose Another Solution.
This is the time in the lesson when I ask several students to practice their speaking and listening skills. So, to be proactive I say, "Sit criss cross apple sauce pockets on the floor hands in your laps talking no more." Sometimes they say it with me. But, I also say, "Look at the speakers eyes and evaluate what they are saying. Do you agree or disagree? Why?"
After each speaker reads their work to the class, I allow the students to give them feedback. This is academic, specific, and is supported by evidence or a reason. For example, "I agree that another solution to the pigs' situation is to throw some food out for the wolf. Then the wolf would not be hungry and want to eat the pig."
This is the time I like to do some formative assessment to see what my students learned. To continue working on speaking and listening I ask the students to describe one character and event from the version of The Three Little Pigs we read today. I listen to assess their knowledge and plan my future lessons around this data.
We chant three times: I can describe the characters and events in a story. Repetition builds memory and it helps the students focus on the lesson skill.