Common Core Connection:
Making predictions is not a new first grade skill, but what is new is the depth and rigor of the level at which CCSS expect first graders to be able to perform this skills as they relate to the Key Ideas and Details standards. Much of the rigor stems from teaching students to ask questions that are based on text they are reading and to use evidence from the text to answer those questions will help them fluency and comprehension. As the text takes center-stage, we need to teach students to ask and answer more and more sophisticated questions about what might happen next in a text (predictions) and what is going on in a text (inferences). We also have to use sophisticated enough texts to make the endeavor interesting and worthwhile for our students to engage in.
In this lesson I read a-loud Duck for President and had my students think about the clues the author gave them to make logical predictions. They then worked in pairs to read a short story that was more on their level and predict the ending using the author’s clues.
I began this lesson by reminding my students this week we were learning about making predictions and inferences, and I reminded them that a prediction was a good guess about what or why something will happen next based on what they knew from the text already. I also reminded them that when they make an inference they use what they know from the text (or see in the picture) to decide what is happening right now. In today’s lesson, I told my little ones, we would practice more with making logical predictions - or predictions that made sense.
Before I started reading Duck for President I displayed the Make the Prediction: Whole Group Guided Practice chart on the Promethean board, and, to activate prior knowledge, I also had my students’ partner share about what it means to be responsible. When they were finished sharing I used the magic cup (Demonstration: Magic Cup) to select a student pair to share their interpretation of what it means to be responsible. These students shared back that to be responsible means to listen to the teachers and follow directions, be safe, and to respectful, which are the most fundamental rules at our school. The rest of the class showed me they agreed by showing me a thumb up (Demonstration: Thumb Up, Thumb Downs). I wrote their response on board, and then we turned to the Make a Prediction: Whole Group Guided Practice chart.
I continued by having my students think about what their responsibilities as students were. As my students called out their responses I added them to the student section on the chart. The responses included: follow the school rules, follow the class rules, listen to the teacher, finish all work, turn in homework, return library books, keep the playground clean, be safe, and don’t play in the bathroom. When they were finished telling me their responsibilities I stated that we all have responsibilities and jobs to do.
I then introduced Duck for President and stopped after reading the first page. I pointed to the farmer section on the chart and asked my students what responsibilities do farmers have? As my students called out answers that included: grow food, take care of animals, milk cows, and live on a farm, I wrote them on the Promethean board. I then asked: Do you predict Duck will be happy being a farmer? After giving my students a moment to think about this, I had the ones who predicted yes stand up so I could count them. I added the words yes and no to the chart and wrote the corresponding student numbers next to the added words. Having the students who said yes, I asked them why they thought Duck would like to be a farmer. Their responses included: farmers had a lot of pets and grew food. I did the same with the students who said no, their responses included: the farmer gets dirty, it is hard work, and he smells bad. I noted that these predictions were mostly based on things we know about farmers from outside the text, but that we'd have to read some of the text to get a better idea of what will happen in this story to help us make good predictions about this duck in particular and whether he likes farming or not. In this way, I reminded my students that good predictions are based on evidence.
I read until I came to page 17 ("Running a farm is very hard work ..."). After reading this page I stopped and pointed out that Duck was not happy being a farmer, and I asked my students: why not? They all responded he was not happy because the work was too hard. I read the next page and pointed to the governor section on the chart and asked my students what type of responsibilities governors have. I have found in the past most students do not know about state governors, so I tell them, as I am writing on the Promethean board, governors are in charge of the state; they go to meetings about how to spend the state’s money to make the state a better place to live. I then had my students predict if Duck would be happy being the governor. This time fewer students said yes. I followed up with the students who responded no, and they felt Duck would not like it because it would be a lot of work. I praised the students for thinking about what the text had taught them about Duck. Then I said, "Let’s find out ..."
I continued reading to page 25 ("Running a state is very hard work ..."). After reading this page, I asked: was Duck happy? My students called out no. I then pointed to the president section and asked what types of responsibilities does the president have? I wrote my student’s responses as they called out: goes to meetings, spends money, is the big boss, lives in the White House, and has a pet dog. This time when I had them predict if Duck would be happy being the president, only a few said yes. The reason these students gave, it would be fun to live in the White House. The students who predicted no were sure Duck would not like all the work and it would be too hard. Again, I praised these students for thinking hard about what the text had already taught them about Duck. Then I said, "Let’s find out ..."
I continued to read page 31 ("Running a country is very hard work ..."). At the end of this page I asked my students if their predictions were correct about Duck being happy being the president. This time they answered yes. I pointed out that at the beginning nearly all of them said Duck would be happy being a farmer because he grew food and had lots of pets. However, as we continued reading and learning about Duck, we started to see that he was not happy because he did not like the hard work or being dirty. I said that we got better at making predictions as we went because we were thinking more and more about what the story had taught us about Duck. For example, for the students who predicted that Duck would not like being governor, they already knew Duck did not like running the farm because it was a lot of work, and they used that information to predict Duck would not like running the state for the same reason. I pointed out that at the beginning of the reading they had very little information to use, so at that time predicting yes or no was reasonable. However, as they got more information, predicting no was more reasonable.
In this activity I wanted my students to partner read a short story and make their own predictions about what would happen next. To do this I displayed the What Will Sam Do? Activity sheet on the Promethean board and instructed my students they would work with their partner to read the story and make a prediction. I also showed them the stopping place (I marked the stopping point with a post-it in each of their books ahead of time) and made sure they knew to stop there. On the back of the activity sheet they needed to write what clues they found that helped them make that prediction.
To make sure they understood, I then had my students partner share with their table partner what the directions to this activity sheet. When they finished sharing I used the magic cup to select a partner pair to restate the directions to the class. When I was satisfied they understood the directions I had them stand up to find their partners. Once they were teamed up with their work partner, I directed them to sit at the partners desk they were closest to. As I passed out their activity sheets I reminded them they needed to look for the clue that the author gave them that would help them make their prediction.
As my students began to work I circled around to each group to make sure they were working and finishing their activity sheets.
At the end of 10 minutes I used the magic cup to select three student pairs to share their work with the class. As the class listened they showed me a thumb up is they agreed with the predictions the selected students made.
When we finished this activity we transitioned into the independent part of the lesson.
During this time my students are in their leveled reading groups and rotate through independent activities. Journal writing is one area I include to give my students more practice developing the skills they practiced during the guided practice and collaborative activities. In today’s journal I wanted my students to focus on the fact that they make their predictions from author clues. The prompt I put on the Promethean board: What clues did the author give you that helped you make your prediction that Duck would not be happy being president?
For a sticker my students worked in pairs to answer this question: How does the author’s clues help you make reasonable predictions?