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 begin with my students on the carpet. I show the picture on the banner of this lesson.
"Hmmm, what do you see in this picture? I see children. What are they doing? Yes, they are at a fiesta and hitting a pinata. How fun that looks. This is the party that happens after the procession of Mary and Joseph looking for a place to stay. How many of you have had a pinata at your party?"
I let each student come up and tell about their pinata. The students all have had several experiences with a pinata. This is great for background knowledge for this topic.
"Let me read you the story of Las Posadas."
With my students gathered around me, I begin reading the story of Las Posadas.
As I read we continue to have our discussion trying to connect what they know about the celebration and what is in the book. It is fun to hear my student's experiences with this celebration. It is important for me to link my instruction with something they already know. I can then ask them questions about their experiences and help them relate it to today's information in the book.
"At Christmas time in Mexico each city celebrates the birth of baby Jesus with the Las Posadas. Have any of you seen this procession? I think it would be fun to see it."
The story tells of the procession acting out the story of the birth of Jesus. At the end of the procession everyone ends up at a huge party where everyone eats and there is a pinata for the children to hit. The pinata is the what the students are excited about and have past experience with.
While my students are still on the carpet I review the writing process for today. I have printed the narrative sentence in dot to dotted font so all they have to do it trace the sentence and draw a detailed picture. It is important for my kindergarteners to begin to identify story events that are important and write about them. A narrative paper tells a story that makes a point. I am laying the foundation for my students by using fun texts. In the upper grades they will have to write narratives on more difficult texts for standardized testing and writing assignments.
"Let me show you what we are going to do as our writing activity today. The sentence is 'We break the pinata for Las Posada.' I want you to use your best hand writing when you trace the sentence. What can you draw for your picture? What? You all want to draw a pinata. Well that is good."
I call my students one row at a time to get their pencil boxes from their cubbies. I have two students who have the job today of being the paper passers. All my students have a job. I rely on my students to perform their jobs to help the class run smoother. Having a class job encourages independence, self esteem and a sense of classroom community.
I walk around prompting students to add lots of details of their fiesta in their pictures.
When students are finished writing, I encourage them to go to the carpet and read holiday books quietly.
When all students are finished writing, I call for everyone to clean up the books and to sit on their squares. I call a row at a time up to the front of the class to read their sentence and orally describe their picture. This is my favorite part of every writing assignment. I am able to use this as a formative assessment. I can write observations on a sticky note and put it on the students writing to keep for parent conferences, progress reports or report cards. By having my students orally read their sentence lets me know if they understood the assignment, were they able to follow directions, were they able to produce the expected work and can they read what they write. This is also good for me to hear how they speak in English. Do I need to reteach certain sounds or words? They are always proud of their work. We applaud all writing and oral presentation efforts.
I like to show a video of the story or the subject at the end of the day . This type of review is fun and keeps their interest. A video is a great way to review vocabulary and helps with comprehension of the content.