Nitrogen Cycle

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SWBAT use the illustrations to describe the key ideas.

Big Idea

Students will use the illustrations in the nitrogen and water cycle to describe the key ideas in a text.


10 minutes

Common Core Connection

The students will analyze how illustrations and details help a reader determine the big ideas in a nonfiction text.  Learners look at things from the perspective of the author and illustrator and what they are trying to show is important by the way they structure the text and use illustrations.  In addition, students engage in a highly complex concept and stretch their phonological skills as they pronounce and understand the illustration of the nitrogen cycle and the water cycle.

Lesson Overview

The lesson consists of Transitions about every twenty minutes to keep the students focused and I made a video in the resources about this.  In addition, the students work in small groups that I call peanut butter jelly Partners throughout the lesson. There is also a fun chant (Fun Chant to Refocus Class After Discussion) we do to refocus the class after discussion in the resource section.

Introductory Activity

I put the lesson image on the board and ask the class to discuss what we can learn by looking at diagrams. While my students talk I am assessing their prior knowledge about using diagrams to gain information.

Then I explain the lesson goal and the plan for the lesson.

Guided Practice

20 minutes

Next the students analyze the nitrogen cycle (Nitrogen Cycle Guided Practice Narration) with their partner and I add their ideas on the board (Board Work).  I do break the illustration down into sections and I explain this in the resources. 

Partner Work

20 minutes

Then the students transition to the center table and analyze the Water Cycle with their partner.  They are specifically analyzing the illustrations and the details in the text to determine the key ideas.

I have made several videos on student work and scaffolding. I think it takes a lot of scaffolding at times to arrive at nice work.  It might help to watch the student work video first, but it really doesn't matter. The scaffolding video shows how I lead my class to their finished product.

Student Reflection

5 minutes

Then the class move to the lounge where they practice their speaking, listening, and evaluation skills. I find being proactive really helps my students meet my expectations, so I go over all the rules of listening, speaking, and evaluation.

Next I select about three students to share their work, and after each Presentation I ask other students to share their Peer Evaluation.  What did you think they did well? What could they work on?  I try to avoid any focus on writing conventions and really foster creativity and getting my students thinking about the concepts in the text.


5 minutes

Last I assess the students understanding by asking them to tell their partner one thing they learned about illustrations and details in a text today.  I share some of the great ideas I hear, and I also add my ideas. This gives the class an example of what I am really looking for because sometimes my students are a little lost about what they learned.  Which brings me to the importance of having the class restate the lesson goal. I can use the illustrations and details in a text to describe the big idea.