This lesson addresses the CCSS by having the students engage in whole group reading with the intention to gain an understanding of "Being Thankful". During the whole group reading I will include asking my students questions about the story. It is important for my ELL students to participate in multiple listening and speaking activities to help them learning English vocabulary and content comprehension. We will use our reading and writing skills by writing an informative sentence using proper sentence structure and conventions.
I begin today's lesson with my class seating on the carpet and showing them a picture of a family gathered around the Thanksgiving Table and tell them about my family's Thanksgiving Tradition.
"This Thursday is Thanksgiving. We have learned about the first thanksgiving with the pilgrims and indians, and how they celebrated and were grateful they lived through that first year and grew lots of food for the winter. Let me tell you why we continue to have Thanksgiving every year. This is a time for friends and families to get together and celebrate all that they are thankful for. At my house we go around the table and tell each other what happened in this passed year that they are thankful for. The children often say they are thankful for their dog, or their toys, or their family. The adults, or big people at the table are often thankful for big things, like they are thankful for a new baby that come to their family or a new house they bought. I will say that I am thankful for my job working here as your teacher, I love to come be with you every day. Let's watch a video of children telling us what they are thankful for."
Reading this simple story after watching the video makes "Being Thankful" more comprehensible. We take so many things for granted and mostly think of what we want to get next, and not be thankful and satisfied with what we have. Showing the video helps build background that will help my students understand the book and the activity that follows. Providing a variety of mediums that repeats similar content also helps with my ELL student's comprehension.
"In the video we saw and heard children telling us what they are thankful for. Now I will read a book entitled; Thank you, Thanksgiving. In this book, a little girl about your age tells and shows us what she is thankful for. As I read each page, I want you to turn to your partner and tell them what the girl is thankful for. Now turn to me, and when I count to 3, everyone tell me what she is thankful for. Ready? Are you sitting crisscross, hands in your lap with eyes on me? Good job!"
I read the story and stop at each thing the girl is thankful for and have the tell their partners and then me.
For the writing piece of the lesson, I use a circle thinking map help us brainstorm things we can be thankful for. Sometimes I write the word and draw the picture. Then the students use their own circle map when it is time for them to choose what they are thankful for and write about it. I like to use thinking maps and templates because they are visual content organizers that assist the students with writing.
"I saw some good listening skills as I read the story, thank you. Now let's do a circle map. You know I love to do circle maps. This circle map will help us brainstorm all the things the girl was thankful for and then we will add our own things. Who can remember what the girl was thankful for? Now what are you Thankful for?"
I use my name sticks to choose students to add things to our map. To prompt them when they get stuck and don't know what to say, I turn to the pages in the book and they are then reminded of something the girl was thankful for. When the things from the book are all on the circle map, I ask them what they are thankful for.
"I want you all to look at the circle map and choose what you are thankful for. Choose just one thing. I will now model how you will write your sentence."
I find that my ELL students need to see the writing process several times before I turn it over to them to do it as an independent task. I still use the "I do, we do, you do", method for most of my instruction. It is amazing how just seeing it done one more time helps cement the process for my students.
Under the document camera I use a piece of story writing paper and write, I am thankful for my kindergarten class. "If I write that I am thankful for my kindergarten class, what should I draw up on top? Some puppies? No, you are right, I need to draw my kindergarten class. When you write your sentence I want you to remember your capitals, spaces and periods. You can sound out your words to write them or I will come by and help you." This early in the year, I will write the word of their choice on a sticky note and give it to them to copy. Copying is a beginning writing skill.
I have a class job for each one of my students. I find it encourages a responsible classroom community. I call on my paper passers to pass out the papers to each table and then call the students one row at a time to get their pencil boxes and begin their writing.
I collect the papers as they finish. The students sit quietly on the carpet reading library books until most of the students are finished with their papers. We gather on the carpet and listen as each students reads their sentence and shows us their picture.
The assessment piece to my lesson is formative. I will keep samples of students writing to put in their portfolio to show progress, or lack of progress. I love it when they can write down a sentence, drawn an accompanying picture and then orally read the sentence to the whole class. I am able to assess their ability to listen and comprehend the story, assess their writing, grammar and conventions, and then their oral reading ability. My students love to get up and read and show off their work. Most of them are very soft spoken and shy because they are ELL students. But they want to participate. I am so proud of their efforts.
I love to show a video reading of the story we wrote about. Seeing and hearing the story in a different medium helps re-enforce the story details to my ELL students. My students need multiple exposures to a concept/skill for them to gain the vocabulary and comprehension. I usually show this at the end of the day.