Common Core Connection and Introduction
This lesson is about determining the meaning is words or phrases used in poems. The students will analyze the poem "Celebration" by Alonzo Lopez and "Singing Time" by Flyman Rose. There is a link in the guided practice to Celebration. Both are about joyful experiences so it make the interpretation a little easier when students transition from guided practice to partner work. Basically, I am scaffolding the instruction by keeping the topics of each poem similar. In the guided practice students analyze short phrases and what they mean. Then they do a similar activity with a different poem in the partner section.
This lesson also uses a lot of grouping of students by mixing up the ability level of the groups. It seems to help students understand things better and in a more meaningful way when their peers explain things. So, I keep all the groups mixed and they remain the same as students go to different locations in the class. I base the grouping on students oral reading fluency on DIBELS. Students with a high oral reading fluency seem to also have a high comprehension. I call one person in the group the jelly and label the other the peanut butter and I put image of these on their desks to help them. They have really nice pre-made ones at the Dollar Store so I just bought them, but other teachers have printed ones that are small. Having the image helps students know which partner they are, and it allow me to organize communication between partners. I might have the peanut butter write or read when I assign roles to make the situation a little easier for some students.
Now, first graders need to move about every twenty minutes, or they start to get bored. So, I move the class from the lounge, to the desks, then to the center tables, and we end on the lounge. When they move they chant to keep them focused and reiterate the lesson goal. When I started doing this my transitions went from 2 minutes to about 10 seconds, and this save me some time.
As noted above, both texts are about having a good time so I ask the students to tell their peanut butter jelly partner how they celebrate when it's your birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter. This is just a quick activating strategy to get my students to connect a real life experience to the text we will be reading about.
Now, I share what we will be doing because it seems to help my students understand things. Then I state the lesson goal. I can determine the feeling that words or phrases in a poem suggest.
Now, we transition to the desks which are still in small group settings. The grouping remains the same, and students chant the lesson goal as they move. This keeps the energy up, refocuses the class on the goal, and controls behavior for a smooth transition.
Then we begin echo reading the text, Celebration, by Alonzo Lopez, to get familiar with the text. When we echo I usually read each line of the poem and the students repeat, because it is a nice way to scaffold instruction. It also builds fluency and engages the entire class. I actually think this is one technique that taught two students to speak one year, so echo reading is a great strategy.
After the class is comfortable with the text, we start breaking it down by analyzing several lines at a time. I have selected several sections to analyze, because I don't want to spend a lot of time analyzing literal text. Most first graders already get that, so I need to spend all of my energy helping them discover the non-literal parts in a text. To do this I give each child a chart that I made so we can communicate better about what part we are talking about.
So, I give each child a copy of the second page of the chart (Board Work Celebration), which is in the resources. We read each section, and the students will discuss the questions I wrote on the first page in red of the Celebration Chart. After the students discuss the first text box questions I ask a volunteer to share their thoughts. Then I try to get a discussion going where students agree or disagree. To avoid making anyone feel uncomfortable in the whole group, I usually ask the confident speakers to agree or disagree. When we are in small group I interact more with the more reserve and shy students. They will get more verbal, but I need to make sure they are comfortable and avoid embarrassing them especially if they do not know the answers. Then I write on the board on the Celebration Chart what we decided the feelings that the first phrase suggests.
The students then discuss the questions about the third text box. This particular section is almost a too literal so we do not do a lot of discussion. I write what I heard in the second box under the feeling heading to save time. Then I ask students to discuss the questions about the third text, I shall dance with others in circles, leaps, and stomps. Now this requires some cultural knowledge I am pretty sure my class does not have so after they discuss, I allow a volunteer to share. Then I add my interpretation since I do have a little knowledge of dance. I then add what we decide on the chart. The students do not copy it down because it would take too long.
Next, I read the text in the fourth text box and ask students to discuss the questions listed in the resources. After about one minute of discussion I ask one volunteer to share their ideas. If everyone agrees I add it to the chart. I am modeling writing.
Last, the students discuss the questions in the fourth text box and we have a discussion about the feelings that the text suggests. I encourage students to agree or disagree and tell why. Then I ask them how they know and this prompts the class to look in the text. After we all agree and have talked about why we agree I add the information to the chart.
Students transition to the center tables and chant I can determine the feeling suggested by words in a poem as they move. They chant this three times to make the transition flow better and refocus the class on the lesson goal.
First we echo read the poem twice to get familiar with the text. Singing- Time Poem by Flyman Rose is the poem I selected for this section, because it clearly creates an opportunity for the students to reflect on emotions through indirect text. Then students use the Chart to fill in what they think each line means. I did include some non-examples so I tell the class that not every line in poem suggests a feeling. If the line does not suggest a feeling just write none. I have a video (Singing Time Student Work) showing our work.
Realizing that this is a short poem and some groups will finish early, I developed an Extension for the other groups. They will fill in the blanks on a sentence where they have to use the text to justify their reasoning. Then they will illustrate a picture to go with the text. It needs to show the feelings the author suggests. Now, the key to providing extensions is to make them fun. So, I provide an assortment of colored pencils, crayons, and markers for the students to use to illustrate.
Now we transition to the lounge for the time when my students work on their speaking and listening skills. Keeping in mind this is all new to first graders and I want them to have positive learning experiences, I go over all of the rules I can think of for speaking and listening. Hold your paper still, sit still, look at the speakers, and think about what the speaker is saying. This sets my students up for success. We even chant criss cross apple sauce pockets on the floor hands in our laps talking no more.
I also try to be proactive about students giving each other feedback. I ask my students to tell their peers something that will help them learn how to make their work better. For example, I agree that means the author is happy because joyful is a word that describes being happy. We will not give each other feedback that says good job.
Then I select about three volunteers to present their work. When they are finished I just ask if anyone can give them feedback. Anyone can talk and they know that we are ready when I look at them and say okay share your thoughts. I am trying to encourage the students to naturally have a discussion about their work. Most of the time I agree or disagree to confirm what their peers are saying.
We remain seated in the lounge and I ask the students to tell their partners one thing they learned and one thing they would like to learn. This is the time listen closely to assess their comprehension. I also make notes so I can create lessons around their interests. When the students are finished talking, I restate some of their conversations. Then I share the plan for future lessons. We will continue to study the meaning of words and phrases in poems.
To wrap the lesson up we restate the lesson goal. I can determine the feelings suggested by words or phrases in poems. The students echo, tell a friend, and then say it with me. The repetition helps them build memory and comprehension.