The lessons housed within this unit all provide practice on specific skills or strategies. Some lessons were written to see what students remember and/or can do at the beginning of the year. Others were used to re-teach groups of students who hadn’t quite mastered the chosen skill when it was first introduced. Still others were designed to give students meaningful practice while I conducted required testing.
All lessons used texts that were familiar or easily decodable so that students’ energies were spent on skill practice rather than trying to just make sense of the text itself. Many lessons include reproducibles that were made with graphics from Kevin and Amanda’s Fonts, Teaching in a Small Town, and Melonheadz Illustrating.
In these next seven lessons, we tackle identifying fictional elements, describing main characters, summarizing, and making connections between texts by comparing and contrasting characters. The texts we are using are The Pain and the Great One (Blume, J. (1985). The pain and the great one. Bantam Publishing: New York, New York.) and My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother (Polacco, P. (1998). My rotten redheaded older brother. Simon and Schuster: New York, New York.).
All week long we have used the text, The Pain and the Great One, to examine characters and discuss fictional elements. Today, I introduce vocabulary task cards and six important words from the text.
Included in the resources are the vocabulary word list used with students, a work mat, and the vocabulary task cards. You can use the list several ways - leave copies in your word work station for students to use with task cards, give each student a copy to cut and match terms to definitions, post on your word wall, include in your homework packets, etc. The vocabulary task cards are generic and can be used with any list. I make two copies of these on cardstock, laminate, put on rings, and place in my word work center.
Because this is the first time using the cards, I complete this activity in partnerships and small groups before placing in a center. Each student gets a copy of the list and work mat along with one task card to share with a partner. They read the card together and complete their work on their given sheets. I give them about 15-20 minutes to work on their task.
When their time is up, I have each partnership get up and find another couple so that 4-5 students are now sitting together. Each partnership gives their card to the other and then read the card given to them. One group shares their work while the other keeps an eye on the task card. The group listening decides if the group that shared completed the entire card or just part of it. Then they reverse roles and the second group shares. If students find that a group hasn’t completed the entire card, they offer suggestions for how their work could be fixed so that it answers all parts of the card.
I allow the small groups to work for roughly five minutes each. I don’t give them so much time that they become bored or restless, rather they get just enough time to talk and reflect. When the five minutes are up, students repeat the activity by going with their partner to join a new partnership. I allow this to continue until students have met with about half the class.