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!)!
We continue with our reading and note taking from yesterday.
Review: I ask the students to take out their copies of the SMART Notebook presentation from yesterday. We review the parts we completed, as well as revisit our goals for today. (See Resource Files: Read Closely Poster, Illustrations Poster, How I Became a Pirate Close Reading Notebook File and PDF)
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. Each of my students has a copy of the presentation and will be adding notes that are revealed about close reading (on slide one), inferring about text (on slide two), creating pirate speak (on slide three), and identifying special text and illustration features in this story. Having students complete these notes while we're reading will help keep them on task, and keeps them focused on our standards for today.
We finish where we left off, yesterday.
Complete Story Questions: Time to practice our skills! After we finish reading How I Became a Pirate, the students complete a set of questions and activities related to the story. I ask the crew to reread as they complete their assignment. I walk around the room and assist as needed. Some students need help with sentence structure, while others need help inferring answers. I find it helpful to ask a student to provide some evidence if I see there on the wrong track. This helps them to see that their answer can't make sense. (See Resource File: How I Became a Pirate Comprehension Questions)
This assignment requires students to infer and use the skills we worked on while reading aloud together. I wanted to be sure to integrate questions about special features of the text and illustrations. Creating questions that require the students to use their own ideas, and those in the text are the kind of questions I try to ask most often. I also like to create open ended questions, such as number six, where multiple answers can be posed.
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. We review the skills covered today, and share answers from our assignment. Our class has a quick debate about the illustration or text feature that really made the story. Some of the students identified the "big" words when the crew was speaking, others said the colorful illustrations made them feel like they were in Bora Bora, and overwhelmingly the most students agreed that the "pirate speak" dialogue made this story very special.
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, we're finishing 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 finishing the book, we add a few things to the Venn diagram. Tomorrow, we'll talk more about the Venn diagram and paragraph during our lesson. (See Resource File: Pirate Compare and Contrast with How I Became a Pirate)
The students have noticed the collection of pirate stories waiting for them over on the counter and are eager to dig in tomorrow. 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 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)