Common Core Connection and Introduction
This is my favorite song and I play it for my class. I tell the students that this song explains how I feel about them. I love them and one day they will go to another class. Making the lesson relevant and connecting it personally to my class really engages the students. Common Core promotes making lessons real and relevant to the students daily lives. It also builds a strong bond and creates a positive classroom environment.
Common Core also promotes peer collaboration and team work. So, I begin the lesson on the lounge with my students seated in mixed ability groups of two. The ability is based on their oral reading fluency scores on DIBELS. By mixing up the ability one student can explain and teach the other which engages the students in a higher order thinking situation. After the hook, I move the class to the guided practice, then we move to the center tables, and last we close in the lounge. By moving every twenty minutes my students stay engaged and focused on the lesson goal. As they move to each location they chant the lesson goal which refocuses the lesson goal.
Playing the song makes the class become engaged and I ask them to listen to the song and then tell their partner how the song made them feel. Next I ask them to discuss what words make them feel that way. They are evidencing the song at this point which is a Common Core skill. As the students are activating their thinking I am assessing their prior knowledge to see what I need to do to scaffold instruction.
Students need to know what is going to happen in the lesson and what will be expected by them so I clearly explain that we will be analyzing each line of the poem to determine the meaning and feelings that the words suggest. The students then chant three times and walk to their desks and say I can determine the meaning of words or phrases in a poem.
Now that the class is settled in their desks I give everyone a copy of the lyrics (You Are My Sunshine) to make sure they can located evidence in the text themselves. We echo read each line because it is short, echo reading scaffolds instruction, and it engages everyone in the class. After each line the students discuss what the words or phrases mean as they talk to their partner. I have a You Are My Sunshine Chart and an You Are My Sunshine Chart Answer Key in the resource section that we use to guide to evaluation by each section. Then one person volunteers to share, and I use volunteers because if I call on somebody that is shy or doesn't understand I might embarrass them. So, I already have the lyrics written on a paper and we just add the meaning to each line.
I have a video that shows out Board Work in the resource section. Check it out if you want.
Students move back to the lounge so we can be close together to reflect and practice their speaking and listening skills. I find that being proactive helps my students comply with my expectation, so I remind them to sit still, look at the speaker, think about evaluating the speakers work, and be ready to comment. Now, this opens another can of worms because first graders will tell their peers they are awesome every time I ask them to give their peers feedback if I don't clearly go over some examples of proper academic feedback. One example is I agree that I love you means that the writer cares about the person they are singing this to.
Now we don't have time for everyone to present so I select about three groups to read their work. I then ask students to comment because this engages them in a much higher order thinking activity. Last, I add my own two cents to the comments to clarify what I think.
The lesson is about over and my students know this because I try to keep the structure of each lesson the same. The students now tell their partner one phrase they learned and what it means. I listen closely so I can assess their comprehension and restate several examples that I hear.
Last, we restate the lesson goal, they echo, tell a friend, and repeat it with me. I can find the meaning of words or phrases in songs. Repetition builds memory and telling a friend makes it personal.