Frog and Toad Are Friends - The Letter

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SWBAT describe the characters in the story and also write a friendly letter from Frog or Toad's perspective.

Big Idea

Students will use the events from the entire book in their friendly letter. They will write their letter pretending to be either Frog or Toad.

Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

     Today we are going to be finishing up our unit on Frog and Toad Are Friends.  We are addressing standards RL1.1, RL1.2, RL1.3 just as we have in all the other lessons in this unit.  If you would like to see how this lesson addresses these standards you can look at the Day 2 lesson in this unit.  Today we are also going to address a writing standard.  Since today's chapter is called "The Letter" I automatically thought students could get some writing practice and practice writing a friendly letter.  This addresses standard W1.3 - Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure. The students get to pretend they are either Frog or Toad and write about the events from the whole book in their letter.  This gives them practice writing in a narrative form. When I help my students to write in narrative form, I am not only helping them to achieve the first grade standard, but I am also starting them along the path to achieve the anchor standard for W.3 - CCRA.W.3 - Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences. Even though there isn't a specific standard for letter writing, you can still teach this important skill and address the writing standards in Common Core. 

     Today you will need the Smartboard lesson for Frog and Toad and the students will need their student packets for Frog and Toad.

Reading Of the Story and Student Writing

15 minutes

     I started reading the Chapter and read to page 54.  I told the students to think about what the problem in the story is.  I said, " Without talking to your table mates, write down what the problem is on your problem/solution chart." There are many times I allow students to talk in groups but this was my way to assess what each student knew about problem/solution.

    I continued reading to the end of the chapter.  Then I said, " Without talking to your table mates, write down what the solution is on your problem/solution chart."

     Then I allowed students to talk.  I said, " Think about what has happened in the story.  Talk with your table mates.  Think about any new adjectives you might want to add to your bubble maps about each character and go ahead and add those to your bubble maps." I gave them about 3-4 minutes to talk and write.   Then it was time to do some letter writing.

Listening comprehension is a skill that develops over time.  There are times when students look at me like they're a deer caught in the headlights.  I know the look on a child's face that tells me they don't know what the problem or solution is.  In cases like these, I dive right back into the story and reread.  In some cases, the student was listening close enough the first time.  In other cases, they were confused for whatever reason, but listening to the story a second time seems to clear up the confusion.  If you're students still have a hard time after you reread the story you can scaffold even further.  Depending on the skill or developmental level of your class you can have students discuss the problem or solution or you could also model more by doing think alouds. 

Letter Writing

10 minutes

     We had written one letter this year and it had been a while since we had done that so I modeled some parts of this next step.  I had the students turn to the last two pages in their student packets (the plain, lined paper). 

    I said, " Today you are going to write a letter.  You are going to pretend to be either Frog or Toad.  If you decide you are Frog, you will write a letter to Toad.  If you decide you want to be Toad, you will write your letter to Frog." I helped the students and modeled the date and the greeting in their letter.  Then I said, I am going to give you about 7 minutes or so to write the body of the letter.  You are going to write your letter to your friend and talk about some of the events from the story."  I differentiated the work.  My highest achievers had to write at least 5 sentences.  My lower achievers had to write at least 2 sentences.  You can differentiate at this stage as well based on the levels of your students.

    When my students had finished the body of the letter I modeled the closing and signature.  The students had the choice to write Love, or Your Friend, in the closing.  I have several videos for you to see.  I walked around as students were writing their letters and then I had some students read their letters.  You can view these videos here in the resource section.