My lesson today is to teach about resolutions and have them use their writing skills to declare their own resolution. I will use the video of Times Square to show my students that some people really make a big deal out of the new year. I will read the book, Squirrel's New Year's resolution that helped further explain the concept and gave fun examples of resolutions that even the children could do. I think the concept is a difficult one for them to grasp. I will just move on to the circle map and brainstorm resolutions that we could choose. Our District uses Thinking Maps in all grades and all content areas. I am teaching my students to use them to help organize their thinking and to expose the to the use of them. In first grade, they start the first week using the Thinking Maps. My students need to be be familiar with them prior to first grade.
My students are seated on the carpet for reading and social studies block. Today is the first day back from winter break. At Calendar time we have to change the month to January and we have to change the year to 2014. To front load my students with an idea of what New Year's Eve is all about, I will show them a movie about Time's Square in New York. Many of my ELL students are recently from another country and do not know about our American Holidays. I like to show videos to introduce them to the topic and hook their interest for my lesson.
"Why did we have to do that? It is a new year! You are right. Many people celebrated New Year's Eve with dinners and parties. Let me show you how they celebrate it in New York City. They have a huge party out in the street, the people are really cold and excited. They have a large lighted ball that they drop and count backwards from ten to celebrate the new year. That ball is huge! Some people think that because it is a new year, that they need to make changes in their life. They call these changes, resolutions. Some people say their resolution is to lose weight, go to the gym or stop eating candy. Everybody's resolution is different. Do you have any idea of what you name as your New Year's Resolution? Let me read to you about a Squirrel and how he decided what his resolution is going to be. Maybe it will give you some ideas on what you can choose as your resolution."
"As I read the story, Squirrels New Years Resolution I want you to listen for all the new year's resolutions. Remember that a resolution is a change you want to make to be a better person."
I read the story stopping to point out the details of the pictures and to help them identify what each animal's resolution is.
"What is bear's resolution? He is going to teach others to read. What is skunk's resolution? She wants to learn to read. How about mole and turtle? What is their resolution? Yes, they want to plant a garden. I love the porqupine, what is his resolution? He resolved to be less grumpy. What does resolved mean? When i read the sentence I think it means he "wants to" to be less grumpy. So maybe resolved means to want to be. He seems to be having a hard time. Poor squirrel. He can not think of a resolution. Let's read on to see if he can think of one."
We have reached the end of the story.
"What did squirrel choose to be his resolution? Yes, he did decide to help someone everyday. What a nice resolution."
Let's brainstorm using the circle map all the resolutions we could do. Let's think of easy ones. Remember, resolutions are suppose to make a a better person. Let's partner up for this activity. Turn to your partner, Tell your partner,"Hi partner". Using the sentence frame, "My resolution is . . .". Ready, go. My resolution is . . . when you and your partner have finished telling each other your resolution please turn and look at me. Thank you. Let's calm down, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Thank you. I like to see all your eyes.
Using the circle map to record the answers, I draw name sticks and ask each person what their partner's resolution is. Breanitzy, what is your partner's resolution. Tell it to me in a full sentence. "Katya's resolution is to clean her room." Very good resolution. I write the answer on the circle map. I call on all students one at a time and ask them to tell me their partner's answer. This let's me know if they really talked to each other and if they were listening.
Here are your answers. I review all the answers they have on the circle map. I add a few to the selection.
Today, your job will be to write down what your New Year's Resolution is. You will use this paper. On the top I put a Happy New Year sign and put the sentence frame in dot to dot font, all you need to do is trace the words and fill in your resolution.
I model the process using the document camera. See how easy that it? Yes, you can color the Happy New Year sign after you write your sentence.
Paper passers please pass out the writing papers. Everybody stand on your tip toes and take careful baby steps to your cubbies to get your pencil boxes. I will come around to help you. I highlight one students resolution, it is amazing how they forget the procedures and abilities on vacation.
When we are finished with the writing, we gather on the carpet to read our resolutions. I call my students up to the front of the class one row at a time. I have found that my ELL students fell more comfortable and more willing to orally read their sentences when they are surrounded by their peers. Each student has the opportunity to read their writing. We cheer and applaud after each oral presentation.
I really like to use technology to begin and end my lessons. To begin my lesson I use the video to introduce my subject or theme. I like to end my lesson with a video to re-enforce any new ideas and to help with new vocabulary. I show this video later in the day when they are ready to go home. Here is the story telling video of Squirrel's New Year's Resolution.