Whales in the Ocean

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SWBAT ask and answer questions about key details in an informational text.

Big Idea

Students deepen their knowledge of the ocean and whales as they read two passages.


10 minutes

Common Core Connection

This standard is about asking and answering questions to gain knowledge and information about content.  So, I narrow it down in this lesson to target the answering of questions. I have found it is easier to target specific skills by creating the questions myself, so the students can look for specific information. But, my class is having issues determining what the text is all about, so I did add this question. It is really not text dependent, but we need practice. We are still focusing on evidencing the text in other questions.  When I create a question I ask myself if it could be answered without the text. If it could then I know it's not a text dependent question.

One key shift is that students are building knowledge across the disciplines. Students are learning to read to learn in this lesson and hopefully add to their knowledge about the ocean and ocean animals.

Lesson Overview

We read "Whales Take a Trip" for the partner work and "Life in the Ocean" for guided practice.  In both parts of the lesson each child has a copy of the text we are reading.  Using a similar topic seems to help students deepen their knowledge.  In this case they will learn about science.  I find that teaching students science and reading at the same time is more interesting and beneficial to my students.  They seem to get more out of the lesson. It also makes learning fun.

The students work in mixed groups (Partners) during the entire lesson. In addition to this grouping strategy, I also like to use Transitions as a strategy of having my students move every twenty minutes or so to keep them focused.

Introductory Activity

To begin the lesson I ask the students to discuss what the possible answers might be to the questions on the board. This just gets my class thinking about answering the questions. I assess their prior knowledge as they discuss the answers.

After sharing the lesson plan with the class we chant the lesson goal and move to the desks. I can answer questions about the details in a text. 

Guided Practice

20 minutes

Student Reflection

5 minutes

Next, the students move to the lounge where they will present their work and other students will evaluate their presentation.  This gives the class an opportunity to work on their speaking, listening, and evaluation skills.  Speaking and listening are a shift in Common Core and evaluation creates a higher order thinking activity.  I am very careful to provide my verbal evaluation for the presenters so the students understand what was good and what might need to be done different next time.


5 minutes

The students remain in the lounge and I assess what they have learned. I ask them to talk to their partner about what kind of information you can gain by reading close in a text. Hopefully the students say they can learn specific details about the content. 

Then we chant the lesson goal to reiterate the purpose of the lesson. I can answer a question about a detail in a text.