Summary and Context
This is the first year for my second graders with the CCSS, and this is the first time they will be experiencing close readings. For this reason, I am dividing the story of David's New Friends into three parts. As we read the first pages of the story, I will ask text dependent questions that ask explicitly what the text states in order to help my students look closely at the text. Later we will do deeper analysis-level questions, but for today, with our first read, understanding key details is enough. I will provide guidance as to how to go back into the text to find the evidence in the story to answer the questions. The word evidence is a new term/concept for them and I will provide assistance to with how to understand it.
After reading, my students will respond in their journal about the main character, David. Doing so will help them synthesize their learning.
I start with students on the rug and I share the objective of the lesson. Then I ask them to think about what makes a good friend. Next, I ask them to turn to their carpet partner. I ask them to sit knee to knee and eye to eye. I ask them to choose what partner will be asking first. Then, I ask them to repeat the question they will be asking of each other, which is: What makes a good friend? Asking them this question focuses on the topic we will be reading about for the next few days with the story, David's New Friends.
After they share with each other, I have a few share out loud to the whole class. Then, I transcribe their response on a circle map. I like for my students to know that I value their knowledge, and writing up their response helps show them that.
I dismiss the students to their tables. I ask them to go to the table of contents and find David’s New Friends. I know my students learned this skill in first grade, so this is good practice.
As I noted in the previous section, this is the first story that we have read closely using text dependent questions, and, for that reason, I am breaking up the reading into three lessons. I am going to go slow to make sure I establish a solid foundation for them in asking and answering questions, since this is the first year for them with the CCSS.
The story is 16 pages long. We are reading the fist six pages which includes the title page too. Here are the text dependent questions I am asking: Text Dependent Questions for David's New Friend. Most of these questions revolve around understanding key details about the main character, David. I also want them to pay attention the setting(s) he finds himself in. I develop more questions than I need and use. I do this intentionally, so that I have plenty of questions ready in case I need them.
We begin reading chorally as a class, with frequent pauses to discuss the questions and text evidence.
One of the routines I will be using throughout the year is called Brain Break. It will involve stretching exercises to reenergize the brain. I recommend spending no longer than 2 minutes so as to not waste too much learning time but still get the full energizing effect of the stretching. Here is a list of moves that I use: Brain Dance Movements. Using them all takes about 5 minutes. But I pick and choose, which keeps this practice fresh too.
After the brain break, my students are ready to independently reread the first part that we already read together. Why do I ask students to reread what we already read? I teach English Language Learners, and repetition is key in helping them understand what they are reading. I seek to build their reading stamina too.
During this time, I walk around to monitor their behavior. Those who finish early can reread the pages again.
Once students are done, I give them their writing response task, which will help them synthesize and reflect on the key details they learned from the story today.
This lesson takes place in the first weeks of school, which means I am constantly juggling priorities, from academics to management. I have found that it's important that routines be predictable to create a sense of safety in the room. One routine I use to get their attention is holding up an owl Popsicle puppet and saying the words, “Eyes on Me." Once I have their attention, I can give directions.
Today, in their response journal, I ask them to choose a detail they learned about David from the text (I suggest that they hone in on something he said or did), illustrate it, and write one sentence about it.
I explain the term evidence and I let them know what is being asked of them now. Because I seek to seek to make my students successful with the new skills they are being asked to learn, I keep then writing task simple. I invite you to think about the needs of your class and plan accordingly.
I give them a sentence starter: “On page _____, David _____________________.”
Here are some of their examples:
Here is a compilation of their work: All About David.