Today's story, So say the Little Monkeys is based on a tale told in the Brazilian Rain Forest about little monkeys that like to have fun all day. One way I build interest and front load information about the story I am about to read is by showing a short video about the subject. Here is a short video about baby monkeys playing in a tree. This story is good for holding my students interest and for them to ask questions during our discussion. My ELL students need many opportunities to speak out loud and ask questions. My students love animals and I often call them little monkeys when they hang on the furniture or flop around the classroom. This should be a fun writing activity. The story has a sing, song rhythm when reading it that keeps their interest.
My students are gathered on the carpet for our whole group reading block.
"Good morning. Before I read a story to you I want to show you a video. I am not going to tell you what the story is about. After you watch the video I want you to guess what the book is about. I think you will like it."
"So, what did you think of the little monkeys? They were really cute. So what do you think our book is going to be about? You are right! It is about little monkeys. The title of the book is So Say the Little Monkeys."
I really like this story. It has a beat and a rhythm as I read. I teach my students the story parts that are like the chorus to a song. We all say it chorally after each page. This chorus part explains the actions and sounds the monkeys make and is fun to do. I read this several times so they all can learn the chorus.
I stop at the part when it rains really hard.
"Oh my goodness, where are they going to go to stay warm and dry? Do they have houses? Nests? Nooooo, they don't. Let's see what they do."
I stop again just before the end.
"So, the monkeys are saying they should make a house. I think that is a good idea. What do you predict they will do? I made a T-chart that says they will build a house or they will live in the trees. I want you to come up one row at a time and mark what you think the monkeys will do. And then I will read the rest of the story and we will see who predicted correctly."
I have the students come up to put their tally mark on the chart. We count the tally marks.
"Most of the class predicted the monkeys will build a house. Let's see what really happens in the story."
Then I finish the story.
"Oh, they don't make a house. Those are silly monkeys!"
"The monkeys say and do a lot of things. Let's write down all the things they say and do."
I go page by page showing my class what the monkeys do. This simple action models going back into the text for answers. Which is an important skill for future grades. We write a list using the sentence frame: The monkeys ____________. I will have them help me phonetically sound out the words as I write them.
The monkeys sing.
"Help me sound out monkeys. /m/ /o/ /n/ /k/ /ee/ /s/. now sound out sing. /s/ /ing/."
The monkeys swing.
"Let's sound out swing. /s/ /w/ /ing/. ING is what the ING brothers say."
We phonetically sound out the rest of the sentences.
The monkeys jump.
The monkeys run.
The monkeys screech.
The monkeys shout.
The monkeys slide.
The monkeys creep.
The monkeys sleep.
The monkeys cry.
The monkeys chatter.
I erase the list.
"Today's writing will be one sentence and a drawing. The sentence frame is; The monkeys _______. I use sentence frames to help my students understand the sentence structure. Using a sentence frame makes the writing task easier. I want you to sound out the words. I will come around and help you. You can do this, you are smart. Just say all the sounds in the word and write the letter that makes that sound."
I ask the class paper passers to pass out the writing papers to every seat. I dismiss the seated students one row at a time to go to their tables. I walk around to help with phonetic writing and prompting.
When all the students are finished writing we clean up the books and sit on their squares. I call my students to the front of the class one row up at a time to read their work. I find that my ELL students have more confidence in speaking English when they are not alone. I give each student the opportunity to read their sentences and show their drawing. We cheer and applaud after each reading.
I love to show a video of the book or a reading to help reenforce the vocabulary, story comprehension and the love of listening to a story. I show videos at the end of the day when chairs are stacked, backpacks are on we are waiting for dismissal.