I will begin my lesson with a short observation I had and illicit some discussion about the story, Twas the Night before Christmas. My lesson is driven by asking and answering questions about the story events in order for the students to gain comprehension. The more opportunities my ELL students have to hear English and speak English helps them gain proficiency.
"I went to the mall this weekend and I saw this huge line. There were so many people in line with their children that I could not see what was going on. Has anyone been to the mall? Do you know what is going on?"
Of course they know exactly what is going on! It is the line to see Santa Claus. I have to ask all the children to put down their hands because they all want to tell me their story about seeing santa.
"OK, I will call the name sticks and you can come up and tell me about your visit with Santa."
I let everyone that wants to participate come up and tell us about Santa.
"I have this fun story about Santa Claus that I want to read to you. But for some reason, I can't read it. I always sing it. So everyone sit criss cross applesauce with your hands in your lap. And I will sing you the story." Twas the Night Before Christmas
It is true. I can not read this story. I always break into song. So now after many years of trying not to sing, I just sing. I am blessed with a decent singing voice. I know the words, so I don't have to look at the book. I can just display the pictures and sing. They are mesmerized and often clap and giggle at the pictures.
"What a fun story. Let's take turns going through the book and talking about each part."
Going back into the text and talking about vocabulary and picture details helps my students understand the story. Words like, soot, jerk need a little explanation for my ELL students. I also point out the Rhyming that occurs throughout the story. It is still early in the year for many of the students to understand rhyming words, but i emphasize the words any way. Many times I am just front loading my students with information that won't be used for a while. The more they hear a concept, the more they understand it.
We quickly review each page and wonder how he got up the chimney with such a big belly!
My students will write a narrative sentence and draw a detailed picture of the story events of their choice. It is important for my students to learn to go back into a text and find a part of the story to write about. This will be a useful skill when they are in older grades and have to write a lengthy narrative on difficult texts. Today will be a fun writing activity and of course, they will all choose Santa and presents.
"Today for our writing activity, we are going to write a sentence and draw a picture. I have already dot to dotted the sentence for you. It says 'Santa brings gifts for Christmas.' I want you to trace the sentence using your best handwriting and then draw a detailed picture. What could we draw? Santa? That's good, anything else? A Christmas tree? Oh, yes. Presents? Yes!"
I then give instructions to my students about how to proceed with the activity.
"Would my paper passers please pass out the writing paper to all the seats at the tables. The rest of you will go by rows to your cubbies to get your pencil boxes."
I walk around the room to give promptings for more picture details. I gather the papers of those who finish early and ask them to read holiday books quietly on the carpet.
Here are examples:
This student is a student with higher writing skills. She is able to trace the words in the sentence so you can actually read it.
More students writing in the classroom.
When all the students are finished with their writing papers, we clean up the books and sit on the carpet. This is the part of the lesson where I see if my students produced the detailed picture of the story events. I call a row up at a time and have them read their sentence and orally explain the details of their picture.
This activity is a formative assessment. I like to keep one of each students writing/drawing samples for every quarter. The students are proud to stand up and talk about their writing. We cheer after each reading.
I like to end my day with a review of my reading/writing lesson. I like to show a video of the story being read or in animated form. This fun activity helps reinforce vocabulary and comprehension skills about the topic.