Summary and Context:
This week my students are expanding their knowledge of fairytales. I am providing them with a variety of fairytales, ones that go beyond the common and/or popular ones. It is very important to set a purpose for reading, and their purpose for today is to understand what lesson the main character learns. Fairytales are particularly suited to helping students understand the central message because they usually have such a clear lesson.
Not only will they need to understand the lesson the character learns, my students will also need to understand how the character learns the lesson. They will need to provide examples from their story, as well. In this way I am asking students to cite evidence. This is a shift with the Common Core State Standards. Students are asked to understand the importance of providing evidence and offer it in their oral and written contributions. Additionally, students need practice with reading complex texts, and, while the fairytales offer a familiar storyline which is a natural scaffold, some of these fairytales offer sophisticated language. Therefore, my students will spend time reading their fairytales to gather the evidence they will share with the whole group.
To help them understand the concept of the main character learning a lesson, I review the word lesson and message. Also, I teach the concept with the story Red Riding Hood by James Marshall. Yesterday, we watched this fairytale after lunch, and I will use it to demonstrate how Red Riding Hood learns her lesson.
I keep adding to the chart we started on elements of a fairytale too.
I briefly model how to discover the lesson that Little Red Riding Hood learns by thinking about the story elements. I am doing this because my students, who are second language learners, benefit from modeling and repetition. This strategy helps them learn the functions and forms as well as the concepts of reading and writing.
My students now read their fairytales independently. In order for my students to have books at their instructional level, I took the time to collect the various fairytales from our class library, the school library, and other classrooms with teachers who were willing to lend me their selections. It was well worth the time it took to give them plenty of choice.
As they read, I walk around and make sure they are on task. My students benefit from being given plenty of reading time during class time. I expect my students to read silently or whisper read.
My students work on identifying one of the lessons their chosen character learned (for some fairytales there are various lessons). They need to offer evidence as to how the character learned the lesson. They use a graphic organizer to record their evidence.
As students are done, I will call them to the round table and ask them to share the lesson their character learned and how they learned it. In this way, I can give them feedback. My students need much practice with academic language. Here are couple of students sharing their work:
Here are examples of their graphic organizers:
It is important to give my students as many opportunities to have their work made public in one way or another. Sharing with the whole group is one way that I validate my students' work. When we give students the opportunity to share what they have been reading and writing, we help strengthen their learning.
In bringing them back to rug, I can also bring closure to the lesson.