Miss Nelson Has a Field Day

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SWBAT retell a story using key details

Big Idea

Students sometimes learn the most from each other! In this lesson, students retell stories and critique each others’ work.


5 minutes

Since we have previously worked with the other stories in this series, I activate prior knowledge by showing the cover and reading the title. I ask the class what they think this book is about. When they answer they have to tell me why. I ask who they think the characters are going to be and what they story is going to be about.

Guided Practice

25 minutes

Key Details and Story Elements

I have a lot of visual learners in my class. The pictures I posted help act as a reminder for my students to attach a visual to the key elements of a story.  I found these resource pages as a free download from a blog. I have a chart that we had been recording the key elements of the Miss Nelson stories. I have added the visuals to the chart, and will continue to use them with future charts until my students solidly know it. As I read Miss Nelson Has a Field Day I stop and ask key questions about what is going on in the story.

Retelling and Student Engagement

Retelling is important in determining a student’s ability to comprehend the story. Students learn the elements in a story as they read, and they should be able to convey what happened in the story if they've comprehended it afterwards.

To keep students engaged in the lesson I am using the “Tell Me Tower” stick. When a student is passed the stick they have a visual reminder of the sequence and elements of retelling a story.

After reading the story Miss Nelson Has a Field Day, I pass the stick to a student and have them retell about the first item on the stick. We continue passing the stick until all the parts of the story have been retold. They use the stick to help remember the order they should retell. I remind them to use their own words to retell the key details from the story. Students love holding the stick and are paying attention in case they are passed the stick.

We make sure we hone in on these key details:

  • Characters (students need to use their names if they have names)
  • Setting (should be specific - not just "outside")
  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Events in order

I used the recording page, the last page of the downloadable resource, as an independent activity (see independent activity section).

Independent Practice

60 minutes

During centers I allow my students to work on independent activities while I meet with reading groups. I meet with reading groups every fifteen minutes. Students can work on an activity for as long as they need, but know that they must finish all the activities for the day. They know the expectation is that each activity shouldn't take them longer than the time I am meeting with a group, but if it does then they need to work faster.

I choose my literature centers to reflect we are working in class. I choose activities that are similar to ones we have completed during guided practice. I meet with all 4 of my reading groups each day. So students have 3 centers to complete individually or with a partner, depending on what the activity warrants.

Partner Retell

They will meet with a partner and read one of their independent reading books to their partner. Then retell the book to their partner. Their partner will take their book while they retell, just like I do when they take their formal benchmark assessments with me. They will complete the Retelling Rubric for their partner. Then they will switch.

Students are taking responsibility for their learning, and becoming more independent with using the skill. Student-centered learning is a push that the Common Core standards emphasize.

There are many ways you can have students choose partners or you can choose partners for your students. I aim to maintain a safe environment in my classroom where we have our reading and math levels displayed in the room. I have had many conversations and role playing sessions about choosing proper partners. Students know just as well as I do who will be a good partner for them in different activities. They understand when to choose a partner on their level, or a partner that is above or below them. In this instance I let them choose their own partners, and have their partner write their name on the back of their partner's paper. This way if I need to meet with the students I can meet with them both.

Online Quiz

Another activity they will complete is the online comprehension quiz for the story. I have 4 desktop computers and 2 tablets that they can take turns using.

Writing Center

The third activity they will complete is a writing activity. We have been working on writing complete sentences and finding interesting words in stories. They are going to start their own story starring Miss Nelson using some of the interesting words.

Teacher Led Group

There are only three activities because I meet with each of my groups everyday. So the next 15 minutes they are meeting with me. During this time I work with groups on certain foundational skills they are weakest in. Each group is composed of students who all need work on that skill. Some groups are working on different phonics skills while others are working on comprehension or decoding strategies. I choose the skills and groups based on tests and read-alouds that the students do. 



5 minutes

Students turn to each their elbow buddies and tell them one key detail  from Miss Nelson Has A Field Day that was interesting to them and one that surprised them. Then I have a few students share with the class. They are surprised to see that some of their classmates have the same answers.