This lesson continues our unit on weather. In the previous lesson, "Eye of the Storm Close Read," we discussed Hurricane Andrew. To open today's lesson, I ask students to explain to me what is a hurricane and to brainstorm some effects of hurricanes. I put a picture of a hurricane on the Smartboard and have a student point to the "eye of the storm." Students tell me that the "eye of the storm" is a calm area in the storm. Students tell me some effects of hurricanes are flooding, damage to homes and cars, loss of electricity, and death. This lesson is important because although we don't live near coastal areas which often experience hurricanes, I still want my students to have empathy for people who do experience such loss and devastation. Hopefully, the exposure to this information will help them to desire to help those people in areas affected by hurricanes.
The focal point of this lesson is a close read. I first allow students the opportunity to silently read the Scholastic News article, "I Survived the Superstorm" by Laura Modigliani and write any questions they have as they read. Allowing students an opportunity to independently read the article first is effective because this provides them an opportunity to monitor their own thinking. Writing questions as they read helps them become active, insightful readers. We then read the article as a class with several students reading passages aloud. I like to use a microphone for the oral reading in order to make sure everyone can hear what is being read. To begin the reading, I read the first paragraph to model fluency. As we read, I call attention to the Tier 2 vocabulary words (on the attached Powerpoint) as we encounter them in the text. This allows students to use context clues to decipher the meanings of these words. In order to build up students' reading stamina, we read the whole article and then discuss student-generated and teacher-generated questions afterwards. The lesson was not only a language arts lesson, but it was also a science lesson focusing on weather and a geography lesson in which we identified the northeastern states of the United States affected by Hurricane Sandy.
I tell students one of the text structures we see the author used is chronology or time order. This is evident from the description of what is occurring before, during, and after Hurricane Sandy. The author also uses several instances in which she tells exactly what time of evening events are happening in the story. This leads us to our reading skill for this lesson - sequencing. I instruct students to work with a partner to use the timeline graphic organizer to list 5 events in sequential order as they occur in the story. I tell them to remember time order words such as first, second, next, then, and last.
To close the lesson, students read the events they listed on their timelines. All students managed to keep the events in the proper order in which they occurred in the story. I think me allowing students to work with a partner kept them on track and accountable to one another. It allowed some scaffolding through peer tutoring.
Be sure to continue the unit with the next lesson - Constructed Response Assessment on Weather and Climate