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.).
Today we get to read the second text in our unit! You can’t go wrong with Patricia Polacco - especially when she’s writing about siblings who can’t get along. Almost everyone can relate this story in some way!
We begin by reading the text in its entirety. I let the kids know that this book is very similar to the Pain and the Great One. While I’m reading, I want them to search for ways the siblings are the same as the siblings from the first text.
Kids are always shocked when they hear the siblings call each other names like “twerp” or when the sister tells her brother that she can’t stand him. Which always makes me laugh because I’m pretty sure they’ve said a lot worse to each other! But I play along and really play into their disbelief.
When finished, we return to their packets and begin working on page four together. I chose to use the older siblings for this page. You can choose to use whatever combination you’d like: younger siblings, the sets of siblings with each other, etc. Students talked with their tables about ways the older sister from The Pain and the Great One and the older brother from My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother were the same. I walked the room listening to their answers. I had a few groups share their answers and we decided on one to write as a class in our packets. We then focused on proof. Again, students discussed with their tables about what could serve as proof to support their answers, we then discussed a couple as a class, and agreed with the one that best fit our first answer.
At the bottom of the page, we wrote a comparing sentence that showed how the two older siblings were alike. I directed their attention back to our compare and contrast anchor chart that listed various comparing words and asked them to work in their tables to come up with a great sentence. I once again circulated to eavesdrop on students’ conversations. I asked a few groups to share and as a class we voted on our favorite, which we recorded in our packet.
Students pull their fiction texts out of their book boxes and begin their independent work. Today they are to:
1. Write a response to today’s story - show how they connect to the story in a personal way through their own life experiences.
2. Begin reading their independent fiction text. Look for ways to compare characters within their text with each other, other characters in books they’ve read, or themselves. I remind them to find textual support for their answers and that all work should be recorded in their readers’ notebooks.
While students work, I conduct independent or small group conferences.
At the end of the work time, students share their work with their reading partners. As students talk, I walk the room looking for great examples of both types of responses that can be shared with the group as a whole.