Don't Need Friends! preview
I explain to student that the story takes place in a junkyard and animals are the characters.
I say: Pay close attention to the language that the author uses because she tells us a lot about the characters and their thoughts and feelings through the words she uses.
We look at the cover and think about what the story might be about.
I open the book to the title page and say: What kind of animal is in the picture? (rat) What is the rat doing?
I browse the first few pages of the story and think aloud: I wonder what is going on in these pictures. I encourage kids to turn and talk and share their thoughts with a partner.
This sets the stage for reading and it gets the students talking about the book! I have found that they will often begin to make predictions about what they think is happening or what words they author will use!
I ask: Does anyone know the other two seasons? How are fall and winter different? (Fall is the season when the leaves on many trees begin to change colors and drop off, flowers stop blooming and weather gets cooler. Winter is the coldest season, often with snow and ice. Trees are bare and flowers do not bloom.)
Students put words and illustrations in their dictionaries.
While some may see this as teaching vocabulary in isolation, it really is not. We discuss the words through context and the dictionary illustrations also challenge the kids to provide context. This allows me to check for understanding. We further examine these words in the context of the story through the reading.
1st read Unencumbered
The first read is unencumbered. I try to stop as little as possible, allowing the students to get the gist of the story. Before, during and after reading I think aloud about elements that might be interesting or confusing to students. I also address any part of the story that might address the focus questions:
Why does one of the characters say, “Don’t need friends?”
How do Rat and Dog become friends?
**I do multiple reads of the same text to give students multiple opportunities to interact with the text. It also allows students to closely read the text and dig deeper into it to build a deeper understanding.
Describing color, how many and weather
We are continuing to work on using color, number and weather words to describe things. I pick a few pages from Don’t Need Friends and we orally describe what we see.
I show two pages and describe one of the illustrations to see if kids can guess from my words. For example, I might show pages 6-7 and say: Which page has one rat with a blue blanket sleeping? (p.6)
This sets the stage for what we are practicing in our LA Skills book. It brings the use of adjectives to life through meaningful context. I do two or three examples before moving on to the Language Arts Skills book.
Lanugage Arts Skills
We have a Language Arts Skills book where students practice identifying and using words that describe color, how many and weather. We do this whole group and discuss each option. I have students use the language to describe each choice before we make a decision so that they get the practice with the language
For example: Boys and girls, look and number 1. What do you see in the first picture, the one on the left? (rain) What do you see in the second choice, the one on the right? (snow) Circle the picture that shows ‘white snow.’
I also approach them with non example prompts: Boys and girls look at number 2. I want you to circle something that is yellow. Which one is usually yellow? The kids, of course, say the sun. I ask: Why are the clouds not the correct choice?
This item analysis prompts the students to think about both right and wrong answers. My second language learners are often struggling with understanding what I am saying, so adding a layer of item analysis might overwhelm them. I think aloud for them as well as question. The modeling by thinking aloud gives them the tools without the anxiety!