Common Core Connection
With a complex standard like RI.1.9, I find it helpful to break the standards down into small lessons with objectives that my students can achieve in about one hour. The first lesson is just finding similarities in two animals in one text. The next lesson is about finding similarities in two text. The third lesson is this lesson and it is about finding similar and different information in two text. This lesson does attempt to get the students thinking about the author's perspective, but I really just expect students to learn to identify similar and different information. Later in the unit, we move on to he authors' perspectives in two text about the same topic.
So, in this lesson the students actually learn information about apples as they determine the similarities and differences in two text. They are expanding their content knowledge as well as developing comprehension skills, which is one of the key shifts in CCSS.
This lesson begins with the students in the lounge area. I have found that my first graders need to move or transition (Transitions) about every twenty minutes. We are at their desks for guided practice and at center tables for partner work. The student reflection and guided practice are back at the lounge.
Also in this lesson, students will work in heterogeneous ability groups (Peanut Butter Jelly Partner) at their desk and center tables. Common Core promotes peer collaboration and students learning from each other. This also creates a positive classroom environment.
I seat students on the lounge and ask them to discuss with their peanut butter and jelly partner how they are similar to or different from their friend. Then I expand on what I heard one group say. Basically I am assessing their knowledge of the terms similar and different. I say, "I am similar to Mrs. Black, because we are both female, but we are different in the way we look." I share that even books have similarities and differences. I say, "repeat after me: I can locate the similarities and differences between author's perspective on two text." They repeat, tell a friend, and say it with me. Repetition builds memory and telling a friend makes it personal.
I read the class both of the exemplar texts that I got from Donors Choose about apples. I use Apple Grow and Change by Gail Gibbons and Giulio Maestro and Apples:And How They Grow by Laura Driscoll and Tammy Smith. Both text are about apples growing from a seed, to the tree, and then the fruit develops.
So, I break the text down into three sections: the seed, the plant, and the fruit. We analyze each section to determine the author's perspective: Apples go through important and necessary steps before we see them at the grocery store. I ask them to discuss what the author's perspective is in the text. I say, "What is the author thinking and wanting us to learn first?" So, I hold up the first picture in each text of the apple seeds. (The author's want us to see that apples begin as a seed). One student shares their idea and I write it on the graphic organizer in the resources (Graphic Organizer). The learners discuss the author's perspective about what happens to apples next. This is when I hold up the pictures in each text of the tree. (The seeds grow into a tree.) I listen and then restate what I heard one group say. I add it the graphic organizer. Next, I turn to the page in each book where the apples are shown on the tree. (The fruit grows on the tree limbs.) The students discuss the author's perspective about what happens to apple in the end of the text. One volunteer shares and I write it in the appropriate place on the graphic organizer.
Basically, my strategy is to use the illustration to show the student the author's similar perspective on the important things that happen in the development of an apple.
Students move to the center tables to work in groups of three. I already have their supplies set up there, and they have more space to work. The center tables also make it nicer for a group of three.
The students are given two books on apples. These are different books than I used in the guided practice. I like to keep the subject the same to create some consistency and to expand on their vocabulary related to a topic. When we read a variety of text on one topic the students understand the content better and learn to use new vocabulary.
In their groups, the students complete the same graphic organizer that I did on the board using the new texts. Keeping the topic and graphic organizer the same helps me bridge the gap to independent work. They are not ready to do this completely by themselves. If I did not provide a lot of support, students could become discouraged. This standard has been very challenging for me to teach, and increasing the support is one way we get around the challenge.
I walk around and listen to discussions. I try to help students stay on the right track without telling them the answers, but sometimes it helps them to show them the answer. I do this as a last resort, but I am clear to explain the answer and the students are more likely to do it independently the next time.
We move to the lounge and I allow the students to practice their speaking and listening skills. I go over these rules for myself and for my students. We chant, "Criss cross apple sauce pockets on the floor hands in our lap talking no more." Then I say, "Remember to keep your eyes on the speaker, think about what they are saying, and be prepared to give them feedback. It keeps me from having to correct any behavior. I ask volunteers to present because I know this lesson was challenging. I want students that feel confident to serve as a model. This creates a positive environment in the classroom.
Students write two things that were similar in the books they read on a sticky note and place it on the exit ticket poster. I always say if you have no idea just put a happy face. This creates the atmosphere where they know I am okay with their honesty. This is a lesson that I remind students we learn more from our mistakes than what we get correct. I find that a great deal of positive support makes learning new and challenging things possible.
I remind the class that this is a skill they will continue to develop for years using complex text. I say I can determine the similarities and differences in the author's perspective in two text. The learners echo, tell a friend, and say it with me.