Food Chain

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SWBAT use illustrations and details in a text to determine the key ideas.

Big Idea

Students will use the illustrations about the food web or food chain to describe key details.


10 minutes

Common Core Connection

Students analyze informational text with detailed illustrations, and work on their speaking and listening skills. The students analyze the illustrations and gather information about the food chain and food web.  In addition, speaking and listening are a new thing for teachers as we implement the Common Core Standards. The students talk in small groups, but they also practice their speaking and listening skills as they present the information that they find in the text.  

Lesson Overview

I use on piece of text about the Food Chain and another from the Food Web to allow my students to analyze a specific illustration in context.  The students will Transition about every twenty minutes and work with their Peanut Butter Jelly Partner the entire lesson.  I made a video in the resources to describe the partners.

The lesson begins in the lounge, then move to the desks, and on the the center tables.  Last the lesson reflection and closure happen in the lounge.  We frequently chant the lesson goal three times as we move to help reiterate the goal.

Introductory Activity

As a fun way to engage the class I show the lesson image on the Promethean board and  ask the class to look at the lesson image and tell their partner what they can learn from looking at this image. Hopefully, I will get some responses that see a connection between the things on the projection due to the arrows.  But, this is my time to quickly assess their prior knowledge and see how much help they will need understanding the pictures. So, I may need to add more to my instruction depending on what they say.

Next, I share the lesson goal, because students need to know what they are supposed to be learning.  Keeping the lesson flow consistent also allows students to focus on the skill and not instructions.  Then we chant the lesson goal. I can use the illustrations and details in a text to describe the key idea.

Guided Practice

20 minutes

Next the students are each given a copy of the Food Chain text and illustrations. To familiarize my students with the text I read it aloud three times as they track.  Then I ask the students to talk to their partner about what they are learning from the illustration.  After a few minutes I allow one or two students to share the information they learned.  Then other students will agree or disagree, which turns into a classroom discussion.  I am careful to remind my students to remember to prove each statement they make by showing us the evidence in the text/illustration.  

After we have identified at least four pieces of information that can be gathered from the illustrations, we move on to the partner work.  The student work is on theBoard Work in the resource section.

Partner Work

20 minutes

Next the students are given a copy of the Food Web text and use the illustrations in the text to gather information. The website has a game, but I did not use the game there is additional informational text that I printed for the class to analyze. I walk around to help them with this task. Some of the questions I ask are, "How does the snake connect to the hawk?" "How do you know?" The questions need to be specific and text dependent. Students look in the text for specific information. General questions do not allow students to really concentrate on locating text evidence.  So, I like to use specific questions for my students. I always think when I am designing the question, if they could be answered by looking in any text. If they could, then I need to make the question more specific. 

I have two videos(Scaffolding (1) and Scaffolding (2)) on how I scaffold instruction. Check them out in the resource section if you want.

Student Reflection

5 minutes

Now we have transitioned back to the lounge where my students will practice their speaking and listening skills as they present the information they found.  To create a higher order thinking activity for the other students I ask them to evaluate (Peer Evaluation) their partners.  They will give specific academic feedback about what they agree or disagree with. For example, 


5 minutes

Next the students remain in the lounge and I assess their understanding of the skill. I ask the students to tell their partner one way they can use illustrations to gain information. While they are talking I listen attentively hoping that somebody remembers to study the arrows and think about what they mean.