Welcome to pirate week! This set of five lessons is part of a larger, six week unit my district has implemented, called "Inspired by the Sea". My students have loved reading about all things ocean, informational and fiction. This week, they're excited to join the ranks of cap'n Prejna, and read fictional stories about pirates. We'll be focusing on reading closely for understanding, text structure and illustrations, and story elements. Many of my lessons integrate multiple standards within one lesson.
At the beginning of the week, we focus on our close reading skills using Melinda Long's How I Became a Pirate, but then we dig into other pirate stories of different reading levels. Knowing I was going to need a lot of different fictional pirate stories this week, I enlisted the help of my school librarian, and visited two of my local libraries. I'm thankful to have lots of help in collecting stories in various levels to meet the needs of all of my readers!
Please watch this short video to see some of the highlights of my lesson. Thank you, and godspeed (goodbye and good luck in pirate speak!)!
Enrolling Activity: To get my students excited about our week, I invite my lads and lassies to the carpet area in the back of our classroom. In my best pirate voice, I tell them that we are setting sail today, as we voyage through pirate week! As a token of our "Bon voyage!" I pass out pirate words bookmarks. I invite the students to read through their bookmarks and give the words and sayings at try. We read through the bookmark together and discuss new vocabulary. I tell my crew that words like these will make the structure of our reading selections special this week. Text structure is one of the things we'll be focusing on as we read our shared reading selection. To put the bookmarks together, I copied them onto tan card stock, cut them out, and then put a slightly larger piece of black card stock in between the front and back pieces. I had them laminated for durability, then finished them off by punching a hole, and putting a small piece of red ribbon through the top. I'm thankful to have great parent helpers who assisted with putting our bookmarks together! (See Resource File: Pirate Words and Sayings Bookmark)
Vocabulary: To prepare the students for reading our shared reading selection, How I Became a Pirate, we begin by previewing vocabulary words in the story. I like to make sure my crew is using skills to determine the meaning of new vocabulary words, so we preview our words within the context of the passage before confirming the meaning on my chart. I ask them for evidence to support the meaning they come up with. If they can't determine the meaning of a word from the context of the passage, illustrations, word parts, or other textual clues, we use a dictionary to find out the definition. This approach really helps me meet the foundational standard RF3.3 for applying word analysis skills, but also is just a good strategy I want readers using all the time. (See Resource File: How I Became a Pirate Vocabulary)
Predictions: We make predictions based on a picture walk of the book, as well as the front and back cover. I ask the students for predictions about characters, events, genre, and more. I find it helpful to ask them why they have a particular prediction. Sometimes they have schema, other times it's something they see within the text, and other times it's a combination of both! As we're reading, we'll revisit our predictions, using the text to confirm if we were accurate, or not. I find it very helpful to use the word "evidence". Asking students for evidence makes them examine closely, or synthesize with their own ideas. We also discuss anything special we notice about the structure of this text. The students notice quotation marks, enlarged words, lots of punctuation, and "pirate speak" words similar to what they have on their bookmarks.
I send me mateys back to their seats for the reading of our story. They'll need to utilize our SMART Board for today's lesson.
Revisit Standards: I want my crew focusing on reading closely to understand the text, analyzing the text structure in this story, and identifying how the illustrations enhance the story and support the text. Wow! Those sound like a lot to focus on, but they easily work together well with this great book! Keeping the standards front and center, I remind the students about our standards charts on our wall. "Today, we'll be reading a fictional text. Let's read through our Illustrations, Read Closely, and Text Structure posters for literature." My students also have smaller copies of these on rings in their desks. I really, really, encourage rereading. I model it frequently, even when reading things like the posters on our walls! I find that the first, and even second time through a passage, students are focusing on decoding text. It's not until the second, or subsequent readings, that I notice them focusing more on the meaning and their own connections, to a text. (See Resource Files: Read Closely Poster, Text Structure Poster, and Illustrations Poster)
Reading and Presentation: I've created a SMART Notebook file to highlight some of the places we'll be stopping while reading How I Became a Pirate. This presentation will help reinforce the goals of our standards of reading closely for comprehension, and special things about the text structure and illustrations in this story. Each of my students has a copy of the presentation and will be adding notes that are revealed about close reading (slide one), inferring about text (slide two), creating pirate speak (slide three), and identifying special text and illustration features in this story (slide four). Having students complete these notes while we're reading will help keep them on task, and keeps them focused on our standards for today. I've included the SMART Notebook file, and a PDF of the presentation with the interactive elements removed in case you don't have a SMART Board. (See Resource File: How I Became a Pirate Close Reading Notebook File and PDF)
This is a great book to model phrasing and prosody. It contains a lot of character dialogue, including questions and exclamations, where you can change the intonation of your voice. Having students turn and read a page to their neighbor after modeling is a way to practice fluency. It also gives them a chance to talk and be interactive with the text and one another.
By the time our shared reading is up for today, our crew makes it through the first few pages of the book. We mark the point where we stopped with our pirate words bookmark, and will finish our close reading and note taking tomorrow.
Review: Before we head to the carpet area for our read aloud, I have the little scalawags reread through the notes we've taking on our presentation with their table groups. They also turn and share their favorite illustration from today, and how it has enhanced the text.
Read Aloud: I'm integrating a pirate themed read aloud this week. Pirate stories are some of my favorite stories to model prosody for my crew. I also know that later in the week, Wednesday through Friday, I'll be asking my crew to compare and contrast our shared text, How I Became a Pirate, with a fictional pirate story of their choosing. My read-aloud will offer the perfect time to model comparing and contrasting two pirate stories. Today, I'm beginning Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies. As I read aloud, we compare and contrast characters, setting, plot, theme, text structure, illustrations, problem and solution, and genre with our shared text How I Became a Pirate. I keep a copy of the Venn diagram (the resource in this section) taped to the easel in my read aloud area, which helps lead our conversation as I read aloud. After reading about half of the book aloud, we add a few things to the Venn diagram. We'll finish Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies tomorrow. (See Resource File: Pirate Compare and Contrast with How I Became a Pirate)
We weigh anchor until tomorrow!
Here are some additional resources you may find helpful to use with your lads and lassies during a pirate, or ocean week. I try to integrate materials to support the standards within our literacy centers, language arts time, and at home practice .
Journal Writing: To practice routine writing, have your students complete pirate-themed journal entries each day (W3.4, W3.10). Display this pirate journal document each day and let your students choose their entry. If your students have individual devices, such as Chromebooks (we're not there yet :), have them type their journal responses onto a collaborative document to make a class book of journal entries for later reading. My students have composition books where we complete our journaling activities. Ask your crew to have their pirate speak bookmarks out while writing their journal entries for authentic pirate talk! (See Resource Files: Pirate Themed Writing Prompts)
Pirate Themed Organizers: I've included some pirate-themed graphic organizers that focus on asking and answer relevant questions for comprehension (RL3.1 or RI3.1/RI3.7, and L3.2), character (RL3.3), and comparing and contrasting texts (RL3.2, RL3.9, W3.4). If you are working on different standards than I have highlighted in my lessons, or are looking for additional practice, some of these may be helpful. I like to use organizers like this to differentiate. Not all of my readers read at the same level, so it's nice to offer practice that can be used with different texts. You'll notice how there is a "Title of text" line on all of the graphic organizers here. (See Resource Files: Character Map; Pirate Question Stem Ask and Answer Practice; Pirate Compare and Contrast)