Today I plan to engage my students in a discussion about the story details. It is important for my students to be able to sequence a story to provide an accurate story retail.
I gather my class on the carpet for whole group reading block. In order to capture their attention, I tell them a personal event that will lead to the reading of today's book.
"On Sunday, we had melon with our dinner. One of the little kids dropped their melon in the backyard. When I went to clean up the mess, I found the melon in the grass. There were ants on the melon so I got a napkin to pick it up with. When I picked it up, guess what I saw inside the piece of melon? It was an insect but it wasn't a worm, it wasn't fly. What do you think it could be? I will give you some clues. It was little, black and had eight legs. No guesses yet? It spins pretty webs. Yes, a spider. Did you know that spiders like to eat melon? I didn't know they liked melon. That's crazy. Seeing the spider eating the melon in my grass reminded me about a book I have, called Anansi and the Biggest, Sweetest Melon. I want to read this story to you. You will never believe what happens to this silly spider."
"I am excited to read this story to you. It is called, 'Anansi and the Biggest, Sweetest Melon'. I want you to listen carefully to the story so you can help me sequence the events."
It is important that my students be able to sequence story events in order to give an accurate retell.
"So what happened in the story? You are right, Anansi loved to eat melon but he was too lazy to grow it himself. Who grew the biggest, sweetest melons? Yes the elephant did. What happened to the spider when he ate the melon? Yes, he did get stuck. The elephant came back to the garden to eat his melon, what did Anansi do? He started to yell. What did the elephant do with the talking melon? You are right, he went to see the king. He met his friends on the way to the king. In the end the king got mad about the melon talking to him and threw it so hard and so far that it landed back in elephants yard. It broke and the spider got out. Did Anansi decide to grow his own melon? Nooooo, he would just keep eating the elephants melons."
"This is a crazy story. Let's see if we can sequence the story and retell it."
I set up my Beginning-Middle-End chart and have the students get into their partners. I have grouped partners by rows, the purple row partners with the blue row and the green row partners with the orange row. I do this because of proximity. Some partners do get split up because of inability to focus on task at hand when together.
I explain that we will sequence the story. We will decide what happened in the beginning, what happened in the middle and what happened at the end of the story. I will be using sentence frames for my partnering and to teach them to speak in whole sentences. Sentence frames are highly predictable and help my ELL students verbalize what is happening. Sentence frames help with vocabulary that is new or infrequently used. My students will also learn the terminology for story sequencing.
"Turn to your partner and using the sentence frame; In the beginning of the story ______. Ready, "In the beginning ______."
I listen in on conversations and redirect many who are off task.
"When you are finished look up at me. What happened in the beginning? Do we all agree that the spider got stuck in the melon? How should I draw that?" I draw the melon and the spider. (We chose a watermelon)
"Now turn to your partners and using the sentence frame; In the middle of the story the ______. Ready, "In the middle of the story the ____."
I listen and redirect some more.
"When you are done talking to your partner, look at me. Ok. What happened in the middle of the story?"
I get a few answers. Then we agree on the animals taking the melon to the king because it could talk. I draw the animals and the melon.
"Last part. Turn to your partner and using the sentence frame; At the end of the story the _____. Ready? "At the end of the story the _____."
I listen and prompt some students. When I hear that they are done partnering I ask them to look at me.
"So, what happened at the end of the story? Hmmm, the king did what? He threw the melon and Anansi got out? How could I draw that?"
We decide to draw a lion throwing a melon.
"Give your partners a high five. Great job!
"Your job now is to draw the pictures of what happened at the beginning, at the middle, and at the end of the story. Let's review the large template together. Tell me again what happened at the beginning of the story? What happened in the middle of the story? And what happened at the end of the story? Great. You can now get ready to go to your tables and do the template yourself."
"Will the paper passers please pass out the papers? On the count of 3 I want everyone to tiptoe carefully to their cubbies and get your pencil boxes. Remember to tip toe. 1, 2, 3, go!"
My students tip toe to their cubbies for their pencil boxes and then tip toe to their tables to write. I walk around and prompt students, reminding them what came at the beginning/middle and end.
When they are finished writing, we gather on the carpet and retell our stories. I call one row at a time to stand in front of the class for oral presentations. My students are more excited and willing to read in front of the class when they are surrounded by their peers. Each student is given the opportunity to orally sequence the story and show their pictures. We cheer and applaud after each retell.
Later in the day before dismissal, I show this video which is a comedic retell of the story. My ELL students enjoy listening and watching a story several times. Multiple opportunities to hear and or see the story helps my students learn any new vocabulary and helps with comprehension. I do tell them to look for the characters, are they the same in the video as in the book? What kind of melon does the spider eat? How does the spider get out of the melon.