Common Core Connection
Students select a specific topic to make their story more interesting. They are actually engaging in a higher order thinking activity as the students create a story where the character engages in experiences related to a certain feeling. This gives them a more analytic approach to using temporal words and closure. The learners actually have to dive into their prior knowledge of vocabulary and experiences related to the topic.
This lesson actually allows students to take this standard up to the the second grade level where the students are asked to use details describing actions, thoughts, and events. Giving students opportunities to work at the next grade level really increases the complexity of the lesson and rigor. This makes learning more relevant and engaging to high achievers and allows them to model exemplar work.
This lesson image is perfect because I can't really tell if the baby is funny, scary, or sweet. This time I am going to let the students choose which emotion they want to write about and they will write a story where the character feels scared, sad, or mad. In previous lessons we have written about personal situation, so I am going to be sure to remind the class that the are creating a fictional story with character experiencing one of these emotions.
The lesson begins on the lounge where we are all close together. We move every twenty minutes to keep the students focused on their work. During each Transition they chant the lesson goal. It keeps the goal the focus of the lesson and makes the students stay on task while moving.
The students are in heterogeneous groups of two during most of this lesson. I selected the mixed ability groups based on their oral reading fluency scores on DIBELS. With this grouping I find that my student can support each other by explaining things which engages them in a higher order thinking activity.
By projecting the lesson image on the Promethean board I make all of my students laugh, but I also ask them a question. I ask them to predict whether the baby is scared, sad, or happy in the image and to explain why they think this. This is simply activating their thinking about these emotions and why a baby might feel them.
Next, I explain that we are going to write a fictional story today and the character will experience one of these emotion. We will do one together in the guided practice, you will create one with your partner, and we will evaluate each other as we present our stories.
Last we say the lesson goal. I can write a story using words to suggest first, next, or last. Saying the goal really helps student understand what is important in the lesson.
Now the students are transitioning to the desks, but they are still in the same groups. The desks are seated in a group arrangement. Keeping in mind that this will be the first time my students write a story, I know I have to really explain it and most importantly repeat myself a lot. I will even get the students to repeat what I say to make sure they are listening.
We will begin the lesson by making a topic sentence. I explain that it needs to tell the reader what the story will be about, who the characters are, and where they are. (Topic sentence=characters+ setting+ topic) One time I actually used this equation as my teaching across subjects for my observation. It's kind of math, right? So, the students begin discussing a topic sentence, and I listen so I can share what I hear. Then I restate some conversations. I ask the students to volunteer to share what the topic sentence should say, and we have a discussion to decide what the best topic sentence might be. After we decide on one, I write it on the board. As I write I narrate why I am using a capital letter in the beginning, spacing, the naming part, the action part, and I even go over the punctuation.
Now we need to add the next three sentences which will tell the story. The first one should start with the word first. Students discuss, one shares, the class discusses the best sentence, and we decide on the best one. Then I add the sentence we are going to write. I vary using thumbs up or down and simply voting by a show of hands to decide.
Next, we will add the sentence that begins with then. Students discuss, one shares, the class discusses the best sentence, and we decide on the best one. Then I add the sentence we are going to write.
Then we create the sentence that begins with last. After my students discuss the fourth sentence we have a discussion about why this is the best sentence. It is a very collaborative decision.
Last, the students discuss the closing sentence. When their discussions come to a close I ask one student to share their idea and justify why it is the best. Other students agree or disagree and I add what they want me to write. Then I reread the story to the class and identify it by the emotion (funny, scary or sweet) the characters experience. We discuss each part, the topic, three details, and the closing. The work we create is in the resource section called Board.
Now my students transition to their assigned center seats. It's time for me to give my explanation of what the students need to do. You will write a story that has at least five sentences. The first sentence is a topics sentence and the last is a closing sentence. The three sentences in the middle will tell the story. Each sentence needs to begin with first, next, and last. You will have ten minutes to write. Then I will stop you and let you read your work to your partner. Your partner will give you feedback. Then you will have about seven or eight minutes to finish writing. I am going to be walking around and will stop to help you. If you need help just raise your hand. Now, they never actually do this. I don't know why, but some people do say behavior is not my strong area. I am flexible, as long as the work looks good, if they call out my name and say I need help I just scoot over there. If I am working with another student I just say I will be there in a second.
When I am helping the students get going I usually begin by asking them who their characters are going to be. What will they do? Where are they? Now, I say lets combine these to make a topic sentence. Then we need the first sentence. What will your characters do first and how will they feel? Then they are usually rolling until they get to the closing. I often have to ask is that a real closing if they don't have one. Then I remind my student that a closing should sum up the story. After we have a discuss about the closing we come up with one together. This is how I scaffold instruction.
We finally have arrived at the students favorite part of the lesson. I actually like this part too, but it is hard for me to evaluate the student's evaluation. Trying to use questioning to help students understand what they did wrong on instead of just telling them how to improve is hard. Then I try to get the kids to tell each other. So, I really have to be on my toes and think about what is being said at this point to help everyone understand where we are going with this skill.
So, two or three students read (Presentation) their work to the class. Then I ask for volunteers to evaluate their work. Instead of saying awesome, I want them to say something specific. For example, I like the way you used the words first, next, and last. I understand that the rabbit is sad that the pig ate his food, but it would be nice you added more words to show his feelings.
This is the end of the lesson and I have already done some formative assessment while the class was working, evaluating each other, and presenting their work. Now, I need to know what kinds of things will interest my students for future narrative writing, and what they learned from this lesson. Hopefully, somebody learned about using temporal words, writing with an introduction and a closing. If not I certainly tell them that I was hoping they learned to use temporal words, an introductory sentence, a closing sentence, or what an autobiography does. Remember these are little people and what they learned doesn't always make sense, so we have to teach them in positive ways what we were looking for.
Last, we restate the lesson goal because it helps students comprehend. I can write a narrative piece using the words first, next, and last.