This lesson encourages the students to participate in asking and answering questions about the story's key details, participating in the group discussion about the story and writing their opinion about what they would do if they were the grasshopper in the story. The CCSS prepare students to be able to participate in discussions where they speak audibly, express their thoughts and ideas clearly. Most students were able to accomplish this task. This lesson helps lay the foundation for speaking in front of the class and giving an oral report in the upper grades.
I gather my students on the carpet and begin to tell them about what I saw in my backyard.
"Yesterday I went in my backyard and I saw lots of insects. I saw these little black ants, they were everywhere. Some were carrying leaves and food. Hmmm, I wonder what they were doing, do you know?"
I will get many silly answers, but at least one of the students will have the right answer. (YAY)
"Oh, so they are collecting food. I saw some helping each other carry a big piece of a leaf. Does that mean they work together to collect food? Oh. Why do you think they collect food? (someone always knows this answer too) Oh, they collect it to eat later? Oh that is a good idea".
" I also saw a big green grasshopper. It was all by himself. He was eating on a bush. I tried to catch him but he hopped and kinda flew over the fence. The grasshopper was different then the ants. He was alone and was not collecting food for later. I wonder what he eats when the bushes are all dried up in the winter time? "
Let's look at some videos about ants and grasshoppers and see how they are different.
I like to show videos prior to my lesson to build background knowledge about my lesson topic. Videos also pique their interest and hook them into wanting to know more.
"Today's story is about making good choices. We have talked about making good choices so we are happy and that making bad choices can make us sad. We talk about this every day when we chorally chant our behavior expectations. The story I am going to read is The Ants and the Grasshopper. I want you to listen for who made good choices and who mad bad choices."
I am relating the story to our making good choices while we are here at school. I am hoping this will help make sense of the story by relating it to ourselves. We discuss the actions and choices of the ants and the grasshopper. We discuss the ending. How the ants felt sorry for the grasshopper and let him in their warm home with lots of food.
"That was very nice of the ants to share with the grasshopper. I want to do something fun. I want to know what you would do if you were the grasshopper. Would you help the ants? Would you work hard? Would you play? Would you not help? Let's brainstorm our ideas and write our answers on a circle map."
We brainstorm whole group using a circle map about what we would do if we were the grasshopper in the story. I used the name sticks to choose friends to give me their answer. What choice would we make? There were many good suggestions made. I didn't have to do much prompting.
"Look at all the answers you came up with. These are all good choices that the grasshopper could have made and be happy, safe and warm."
I created a writing paper in for my students to write what they would do if they were the grasshopper. I model the writing process using the document camera. I trace the sentence frame and then choose what I would do.
"Your job is to trace the words, write your answer and draw your picture. You will take your answers from the circle map. I choose to write that; 'If I were a Grasshopper, I would collect the food.' Now it is your turn to write about being a grasshopper. Thumbs up if you understand."
"Would my paper passers, please pass out the papers. Girls, carefully walk to your cubbies and get your pencil box. Boys, carefully walk to your cubbies and get your pencil box."
I talk one on one with a few students to make sure they understand what their job is.
I walk around and remind them of details they could use for their pictures. This is a difficult drawing, an ant and a grasshopper. (Oh well, we will see how it turns out.)
When all the students are finished with their writing, we gather on the carpet to read our sentences.
When all my students are finished writing we gather again on the carpet. We gather to read our sentences to the class. I call several students up to the front of the class to read. My students feel better about reading in front of the class when they are surrounded by their peers. Each student is given the opportunity to read their sentences. We cheer and applaud after each reading.
I like to show videos about the story or lesson content after the lesson. Watching the video helps my students with content comprehension and new vocabulary. I showed this later in the day before dismissal. It is the Disney version of the story. It is cute in its antiquity.