Pop's Bridge

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SWBAT use the illustrations in the text to analyze the characters, setting, or events.

Big Idea

Engage students in a fun lesson to develop a deeper understanding by analyzing illustrations.


10 minutes

Common Core Connection

The students are going to learn about history/geography in context as they analyze the illustrations and read Pop's Bridge and The Sign Painter by Allen Say.  Pop's Bridge is about two fathers who build the Golden Gate Bridge, and The Sign Painter shows great pictures of the dessert. The students gain knowledge of what is included in constructing a bridge, and reflect on the events, characters, and setting.  The standard RL.1.7 is the focus of this lesson, and this standard allows students to look deep into the illustrations to gather a deeper understanding and description of the characters, setting, and events.  

Lesson Overview

In the guided practice, we work together first to gather meaning from the illustrations and then to confirm our knowledge/add to it as we read the text.  Using text to justify a prediction is a higher order thinking activity that my students use to learn. In the partner work students listen to me read The Sign Painter and then create their own description.

Throughout this lesson, students work with their Peanut Butter Jelly Partners to collaborate, and they Transition every twenty minutes to keep the pace lively.

Beginning Activity

This is where I try to engage my students by showing them the lesson image and explaining that we are going to learn about a story called Pop's Bridge.  To get the students thinking, I ask them to tell their peanut butter jelly partner one thing they learn about the characters, setting, or events from the picture.  When the students are talking I listen so I can assess their understanding and ability to analyze pictures.  Then I share that we are going to learn to analyze the illustrations to deepen our understanding of the characters, setting, and events. The students echo this, tell a friend, and echo it again.  This helps the learners remember the goal.

Guided Practice

20 minutes

This first thing I do is read the book, Pop's Bridge to the class. This gives them a change to enjoy listening to the story, but also get an opportunity to hear the whole story before we begin analyzing the illustrations.

Next, the students will work with their partner to deepen their understanding about the characters, setting, and events by analyzing the picture on the cover of the text.  After they discuss their ideas, other students share their ideas with the entire class.  Then I add their comments to the chart on the board. We go through this process for the other pictures I selected for analysis.  

After we analyze all the selected illustrations (Illustrations in Pop's Bridge), I read the text aloud. I made a video (Pop's Bridge Illustration PowerPoint Narration) explaining this. This allows the entire class to review the analysis we made in the chart (Board Work). It's helpful to go back over things we create at the end of the activity to reinforce the concept. It seems to me that sometimes primary students need to hear things more than once to really understand or remember the concept. So, I just go over what we created.

Partner Work

20 minutes

Now I move the class to the center tables where they work to be able to analyze the illustrations and look for added meaning about the characters, setting, and events.  Now, we have already added some of our whole group analysis to a chart. But, the students are going to deepen their understanding by adding more and different information to their own chart with a partner. Using a chart helps my students organize their ideas when analyzing pictures.

I did point out in the guided practice that these are pictures of the desert. Then I project the pictures one at a time on the Promethean board. The students use the chart to add their own interpretation of the character setting, and events based on the illustration. The chart is basically a piece of paper folded down the middle and then folded horizontally four times. This makes for two columns and five rows.

The first image (The Sign Painter Picture 1) is where the boy meets the sign painter.  It really allows the students to think about his expression and what it means.  Then they determine the setting by looking at the illustrations.  The next page (The Sign Painter Picture 2) is even better because the truck shows an event, and we can determine that they are going somewhere.  The other pictures we use are in the resources (The Sign Painter Picture 3The Sign Painter Picture 4). 

I walk around after I project each picture and help my students get started analyzing the illustrations.

 I just ask:

Picture 1: What does it tell you that the boy wanted a job and is willing to paint signs? ( He needed money.)  How does the boy feel? (He seems sad. The colors are not bright or exciting.) How do you know? (His expressions.)

Picture 2:Where did they go? (They traveled through the desert. A lonely, isolated, and calm place.)

Picture 3:What kind of person did they work for? (Maybe the employer was wealthy. His house was bid, he wore white, and drove a fancy car.  It costs alot to pay a person to paint signs.)

Picture 4: What kind of place were they painting signs for? (Maybe a fancy town or resort.)

Then they are off filling in their graphic organizer.

I also make a word bank (Word Bank), because the students want to use words they can't spell.

Student Reflection

5 minutes

Next the students move back to the lounge to engage in a little higher order thinking, speaking, and listening.  These are all big components of Common Core, and this section is usually a challenge to me and my students.  I have to set the students up to be successful, and manage their peer evaluations so they come the correct conclusions without me telling them the answer.  I really want to facilitate and lead the students to knowledge without me feeding them the answers so they can retain the knowledge.

So, I select about three students to read their work to the class, and after each Presentation the students Evaluate each other's presentations and work. It's challenging when I have evaluate work and get the students to see my point through questions, so this helps share the load.  Plus, students see that they can be a source of information and learning, not just the teacher.


5 minutes

The class remains seated in the lounge and they discuss what they learned and one thing they want to learn.  I listen so I can assess their knowledge and understanding. This helps me plan future lessons and keeps them interesting.  

Last, the I share the plan for future lessons and we restate the lesson goal: I can analyze the illustrations to add to my understanding of the character, setting, and events in a story.  This helps the students remember the skills we learn.