Summer Break

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SWBAT write a narrative using temporal words.

Big Idea

Students share their ideas about what will happen over their summer in a narrative.


10 minutes

Common Core Connection and Overview

This lesson is designed to help students develop their skills for college and career readiness by teaching them to write about real experiences using detail and precision. In this way, as they develop their paragraph about a sequence of events that might happen over their summer break, I hope to develop the foundations for the Writing Anchor Standard 3 in their writing.  In addition, the students learn to use words to signal a sequence of events.  These skills are essential in developing students that can write with a purpose of expressing themselves in a clear and logical way.

I project this lesson image on the Promethean board and tell the class this is where I will be over summer break.  This looks like the slide at our local pool and I see so many of my students there over the summer.  Basically I am just getting their attention and making the students think about one fun thing that happens in the summer.  Our local pool actually does not open until school is out and closes the day school starts.

The students are working in small groups except when they do their independent writing. I find that first graders need to move about every twenty minutes so they go from the lounge, to the desks, to the center tables, and back to the lounge.  By basing the groups on oral reading fluency scores on DIBELS I can keep them heterogeneous.  This type of grouping helps students to participate in higher order thinking activities as they explain things to their peers and justify their reasoning because they have to explain their ideas to their partner.  I label each partner either peanut butter or jelly.  This strategy helps  me to organize their participation and group roles.   


In the beginning I activate the students thinking by telling them what I am going to do over the summer break. As a student I enjoyed learning about my teachers, and I think my students appreciate my stories.  When I finish I ask the student to tell their peanut butter jelly partner what they will do over the summer break. This is something we all look forward to so it is nice to talk about.  The students are practicing their speaking and listening skills, but also preparing themselves to write about this topic. It helps learners to verbalize their ideas prior to writing.

Now I begin to share that we will write a practice paragraph about summer break.  Then the students will write their own paragraph, and evaluate their peers.  After they make changes we will present the papers on the lounge.

Then I explain the Writing W.1.3 Rubric and criteria we will be looking for in our paragraphs.  So, now I ask the students to restate the lesson objective, I can write a story about myself using the words first, next, and last  The students say this three times.  They echo it, tell a friend, and then say it with me. It seems to help the students remember the goal.

Guided Practice

20 minutes

Next the class moves to the desks where they participate in the guided practice.  Students first discuss what should be in a topic sentence.  This gives me time to assess their comprehension of a topic sentence.  Depending on what the students say, I may go over a topic sentence or tell another student to share their own definition.  Basically I want the students to think of it as a way to introduce the paragraph and tell the reader what they will be writing about.  Then students discuss a nice topic sentence for a story about summer break.  After several students share their ideas other students agree or disagree and the class comes up with a quality topic sentence using collaboration.

Then the students discuss what the next sentence should say, but first I remind the class to use a word that will show the reader what order these things happen.  The idea is that they remember from previous lessons to use first, but if they don't their peers or I will remind the students.  After I call on some one to share their idea I ask other students to agree or disagree.  Once everyone is in agreement I add the sentence to the board.  When I am adding the sentence I explain why I capitalize the first word, the noun or naming part, the action part or verb, and explain the punctuation.  Usually I teach grammar just like this, in context.  

Moving on, I ask the students to discuss what we might write next.  Since we have already spent a lot of time in discussion, I share one thing I heard a group say and ask the rest of the class to use thumbs up or down to agree or disagree.  If the majority agrees I add the sentence and explain the grammar as I model writing.

Now we move on the the fourth sentence which should begin with last. The students discuss the sentence that might come next.  I allow one person to share their idea, and the class will discuss that sentence.  The students share why we should or shouldn't write the sentence, and I add one that the class agrees upon. I continue discussing the grammar as I write, because I find that first graders need a lot of repetition.

Finally we reach the closing sentence, and it always seems like the students never remember what this is supposed to be. But, just to see I ask them to discuss what a nice closing sentence for this paragraph might sound like.   Depending on what they say, I may add a great deal of explanation on closing sentences.  Then the students come up with one with their partner.  A volunteer, different from the previous ones, shares their idea.  Then class engages in a discussion about what this sentence should say, and I add the sentence that the group decides on.

Partner Work

20 minutes

Students transition to the center tables, for the writing portion and Partner Evaluation.  The students write their own paragraph in this section.  But, before they do I go over the rubric and cite where the example is in the guided practice paragraph. Each child has a rubric so they can use it to see what to include. There is Student Workshowing a student reading her work in the resource section.

It is hard for some first graders to begin and that is why I used the partner talk about their holiday break in the hook.  So, I walk around and see who is stuck.  Many times it seems that they just need to talk it out first and this is what we do.  I say so what are you going to tell me about. They say my holiday break.  I say, how was it.  They respond.  Then I ask them to put that into a complete sentence.  My holiday break was restful.  This is how we get started. It makes sense to me because this is how I work too.  Most of the time I run my ideas by a co-worker or my boss when I am really trying to do something well.  I think we just have to talk it out.

Student Reflection

5 minutes

Now we begin working on speaking and listening and I usually select two or three students to read their work.  Then I ask volunteers to share their evaluations, and give their peers feedback. In order to be proactive, I remind the students to sit criss cross apple sauce pockets on the floor hands in their laps talking no more.  Keep papers still, eyes on the speaker, and think about what they are saying.

Right before the students give their peers evaluation I remind them what it should sound like.  I give correct and not models. For example, good job is a not.  I like the way you used first, next, and last, but maybe you need to make your topic sentence tell a more general statement about the story.


5 minutes

At this point the lesson is winding down and I need to know what the students remember specifically about this lesson.  So, I ask them to tell their partner one thing they learned from this lesson. I have to be sure to say this lesson or they may tell each other about their peers first day of school.  Whatever they say I try to add to it and share some great thoughts.  Then I always say that I hope they learned to use words like first, next, and last in a narrative piece.  We will continue to write narratives, but we will have a different topic next time.  It helps the student understand their learning when I share the big plan.