In preparation for the lesson, I have students to bring a photo of their personal pets for "Show and Tell." To open the lesson, I ask how many students have pet animals. Most students raise their hands and share that they have dogs. I allow students time to show their photos of their personal pets and tell why they love their animals. Students share things like they love their animals because their animals keep them company, protect their homes, are cute and cuddly. I ask students how would they feel if there were no more dogs on the Earth. They say they would feel sad or lonely. I explain that one reason they love their animals is that they think they are cute. I then show them a picture of a Proboscis Monkey and ask if they would like to have an animal like this around and if they think the animal is cute or ugly. Most students say the animal is ugly and they would not like to have one as a pet. I, then, explain to students in this lesson, we will examine endangered animals that are not considered cute or cuddly and why these animals need our help. I tell them there are more than 11,000 endangered animals in the world. "Endangered" means an animal is at risk of becoming extinct or dying out.
The text that we use for our close read is a Scholastic News article titled, "The Ugly Truth" by Joe Bubar. I selected this text because it is nonfiction, informational text which addresses a very serious issue of conservation of endangered animals, even the ones which we don't consider cute. I allow students an opportunity of productive struggle with grade-appropriate text even though some of them are not yet reading on 4th grade level. Doing so, is a decision of fairness and equity in exposing students to grade-appropriate text as a means of challenging them to move to a higher reading level. During the close read (see attached Powerpoint), we address text-based questions using the attached Accountable Talk stems (i.e, I have a question about..., I wonder why..., I agree/disagree with...because..., I don't understand..., I liked/disliked...because..., etc.). We address the Tier 2 vocabulary words that appear on the last slide of the attached Powerpoint presentation as we encountered the words in the text. This allowed students to see the words in context and use context clues to decipher word meanings, as Common Core States Standards encourages. After the close read, I have students to begin completing a KWHL chart (Students complete the first two columns - K, and W). I know this is usually a pre-reading strategy, but I find that it also works well to reinforce information introduced in a lesson and allow students to reflect upon research.
After our close read, I poll students to see if they agree that all animals are worth saving. They agree with "thumbs up." I, then, tell them for this portion of the lesson, they will work with a partner to create a public service announcement about the importance of saving all endangered animals using the interactive voice recorder program Voki (see attached instructions and website link). They may use information obtained in "The Ugly Truth" article and information they research on the Internet. I explain to them that a public service announcement, sometimes called a "PSA" informs people about an issue that serves the good of the public whether that is a community, a nation, or the world. I explain to students, I want them to summarize their ideas using our formula for writing a written summary - 1st sentence which states the main idea, sentences 2, 3, and 4 stating supporting details, and last sentence being a conclusion (see attached written summary formula resource.)
To close the lesson, we play our Voki public service announcements for the whole class and I have students to complete their KWHL charts and share what they wrote. During this time, we are able to recap the development of the conceptual understanding that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the fact that all living things (animals and humans), no matter how we look, have a purpose and value.
Be sure to continue the unit with the next lesson - "Are Elephants Headed For Extinction"