Today, I meet with my students on the rug and ask “How many of you have gone on a vacation? Raise your hands please.” Lots of little third grade hands go up right away, so I add, “Okay, how many of you have taken an airplane to go where you went on vacation? Keep your hand up if you took a plane!” Still, lots of hands are up, so I say, “Wow! Lots of you have taken airplanes to go places before! You know, we are SO lucky, because if there hadn’t been notable people that worked with airplanes, we wouldn’t be able to take planes to get us where we want to go! In your homework so far this week, you’ve been reading and writing about the Wright Brothers! They’re very notable people when it comes to discussing airplanes! Share some of what you’ve learned already with me!” We take a moment to discuss all the great things students have learned so far about the Wright Brothers and their work. But then I add, “Guess what third graders! There are other people that are really notable when it comes to airplanes around the turn of the century as well! These other notable people did some pretty amazing feats to make them notable, still notable even today!”
I flip to our Notable People anchor chart where we’ve previously stuck all of our post-it notes on our ideas of what makes a person notable. I read a few of them until I get to one that says “The person did something no one else has ever done before”. When I read this, I say to the class, “Boys and girls, today, we’re going to read about a notable person that has done something that no one else had ever done before during their time! This will definitely be notable! Let’s head back to our seats and get started!”
Once all students are back at their seats, I pull up our essential question notebook file that contains our essential question for the unit. I tell the students that this week, we’ve already read about Booker T. Washington, a very notable man that changed the lives of many people. We’ going to continue to read some texts that are about other notable people, again specifically people that were notable around the late 1800s to early 1900s, which we call “turn of the century”. To do this, we’re going to read some texts that fit into the biography genre. I remind the students that a biography is a text written about a real person, but it’s written by someone else. I also remind the students that when we read biographical texts, we can learn a lot about the people the texts are about! In fact, if we read closely and ask questions while reading, we can get the answers were wondering about! I ask the students if anyone can recall all six questions stems we can use when we’re asking questions about a text! One of the students tells me they can and recites all six: Who?, What?, Where?, When?, Why?, and How?. We give this student a very special Power Woosh (see my Power Woosh section in my Strategy Folder).
To label the learning the students are doing today, I tell the class that today, we’re going to do just that: read a text closely to see exactly what it says about the notable person, and while we’re reading closely, we’re going to ask and answer questions to see what specific evidence we can find about the person in the text.
Now, it’s time to introduce the text we’re going to share today. Today, we’re going to focus on Charles Lindbergh, a very notable person from the turn of the century time period. In order to learn about him, we’re going to read the text Flight, written by Robert Burleigh. I first ask the students to take a picture walk through the text to preview what this book may be about. Then I ask the students to give me a list of questions they’re wondering about this text or about Charles Lindbergh. As the students offer questions, such as “Why is Charles Lindbergh notable?” or “What did Charles Lindbergh do with airplanes that no one had ever done before?”, I make a note of these on the SmartBoard. I tell the students that as we’re reading today, if we find an answer to any of these questions, I’d like the students to raise their hands immediately so we can see exactly what the text says to answer these questions. I also add that if we come up with other questions too, please raise your hand so we can add these additional questions as well!
I share some vocabulary with the students that I feel will support my readers before we begin, and then, we start reading. Depending on the ability of your readers, you may want to read this text in a variety of ways (i.e.: independently, buddy reading, listening to an oral recording, etc.), but today, my class shares this text aloud together as a group. As we read, we stop to discuss any questions we can answer. We also discuss any additional questions we have that we want to add.
After we are finished reading, we return to our SmartBoard list of questions and see if there are any unanswered questions that we are still wondering about. We discuss what we could do to find the answers to these questions (i.e.: read other books on Charles Lindbergh, watch something about him on the Biography channel, etc.).
I stop for a moment and ask the students a question. I ask, “Boys and girls, could I get the answer to this question by reading this text: What color was the hat Charles Lindbergh wore when he made his flight across the Atlantic?” The kids say yes, that I could get the answer. Then I ask, “Do you think this is an important question to ask if I’m trying to learn about why Charles Lindbergh is a notable person?” Students shake their heads no. I ask, “Why not? Tell me about your thinking!” Students share that if we were going to learn about Charles Lindbergh and what makes him notable, it’s not the color of his hat that made him worth noting. Instead, it was his accomplishments that made him notable. I think this is fantastic because my students are distinguishing relevant information from irrelevant information and are able to determine how to sift these apart when asking and answering questions from a text. I tell the class they’ve done a great job reading closely and asking and answering questions today, and tomorrow, we’ll do even more practice with this skill!
As you’ll find in most of my lessons, I do not usually include a “Homework” section. Usually, homework in my classroom consists of a routine list of tasks, including practicing spelling words, math facts, reading a book that is just right for the readers, and sometimes other small tasks. However, with this week being focused on “notable” people, my teaming partner Nici and I couldn’t resist coming up with an extra special homework assignment for each day of this week. So, throughout all of these “notable people” lessons, you’ll find our special homework assignment for each day!
For homework, we’ve taken a Kids Discover Magazine all about The Wright Brothers and created a mini workbook where students can practice a variety of CCSS related to informational text! Each day, students read a portion of the biographical magazine at home and then complete a portion of their mini workbook, which we’ve entitled the “Fantastic Flying Facts and Figures Book”! We’ve also created an introductory video to go with each day’s assignment that the students watch before their reading and completing their work for the evening! Check out Day 3’s video, and the “Fantastic Flying Facts and Figures Book” in the resources section here!