Common Core Connection and Introduction
In this lesson I use two fables from the internet so I can get a copy of each story for each child. For the guided practice we use The Fox and the Grapes and for partner work students use The Fox and the Hen. Students need the text to reference and use to make their notes. The lesson involves guided practice where we write notes on the left side of a piece of paper after we read the text. Then after discussion students come up with a message or moral. Last we meet in the lounge to reflect and close.
Students need to connect their previous learning to current learning. So, I ask the students to discuss the message in the previous texts. I remind the class to think about The Boy Who Cried Wolf just to remind them of a previous story we have read that had a clear message. After discussion the students are encouraged to share their ideas. I add to some of their thoughts to model building on what others say which is a part of how Common Core focuses on speaking and listening.
Then I begin explaining to the class what we are going to do today because I feel that students need to know the plan for the lesson. I also state the lesson goal and engage the students by asking them to repeat it. Students say I can identify the moral in a folktale.
To get started I echo read The Fox and the Grapes with the class. This gets everyone comfortable with any new vocabulary and allows the students to ask questions. The words proclamation and harmony are new for some first graders and I like to stop during the reading to discuss the meaning in context. I ask the students to predict the meaning of words by looking at the words before the word, the words after the word and the illustrations. There are not many illustrations so we reread the sentence before, sentence with the word, and the sentence after the word. Then the students begin a discussion about what the word means. I add to the discussion and we come up with the meaning.
Then we make notes on the left side of my little Board. I simply draw a line down the middle. We recall the big problem and how the characters resolved the problem. This helps first graders come up with the message. After we write a few notes we discuss the message. After reflecting the students determine the best message and I add my two cents. Voila! We have the moral of our story! I try to use a variety of vocabulary to refer to the message to help the class understand the different words that can be used for the central message.
In my efforts to aid comprehension, we act out the story too. I have a video (Acting Out the Story) showing what this looks like.
As we transition to the center tables I scaffold instruction by reading the students the The Fox and the Hen. Each child needs a copy of the text to use to find evidence. Then the students can work in small groups to make notes and organize their thoughts. They use the folded paper (Folded Paper) that I have in the resource section. Last, they can come up with their message.
I walk around and support learning by listening and observing. I have found that I need to listen more instead of hurry up and help my students. They really need a facilitator at this point to help them when they get stuck. Some of the questions I ask the students when they get stuck are: What happened? Why did that happen? How did the Hares behavior affect the result? So, what did you learn? How did the Tortoise's behavior affect the result? So, how did the character that won act? After all this they usually have the message.
After the partner work, I allow several groups to share their work in front of the class,and practice their speaking and listening skills. Even if the sharing is incorrect work it is nice to evaluate it with the other students. This encourages students to use their higher order thinking skills I ask students to comment on their peers work. Now first graders do not naturally know how to evaluate their peers so I explicitly model giving academic feedback correctly and incorrectly. Telling your peers that is super is not academic feedback. Telling your peers you disagree with their moral and think is needs to be less specific is academic feedback. This lets them understand what they did well and where they can improve. I find that with support and guidance students can be very successful in their work. Crating a very work in progress style learning environment instead of a type that expects mastery in the first try keep student positive as we learn to evaluate each other. I specifically say that we are learning and the work does not have to be perfect all the time as long as they are trying their best.
When the lesson comes to a close students talk to their partner about what they learned today. Hopefully my class will reflect on their life and make some kind of statement about how they will use this moral in their life. I listen attentively to make sure I can add to a what I hear students say and all other students to comment. The reason the students first discuss with their partner is to get them all engaging in the closure.
One way I end the lesson is by engaging my class is by asking the students to echo the goal, tell a friend, and say it with me. Doing this makes learning personal and repeating things helps comprehension.