The Great Big Enormous Turnip continued
I have students come to the carpet to sit with me. We are all looking at the Big Book and our vocabulary words.
First, we revisit the vocabulary words from the previous day (little, tiny, big, enormous) I show students the the vocabulary phrase and word at last and black. I show illustrations that go with each of those words and say: I want you to listen for those two words/phrases in our story.
I convey that ‘at last’ is a phrase that tells us that something has finally happened. We also practice the word ‘finally’ as another option for ‘at last.’
I say: The phrase ‘at last’ is one way the author helps us understand the sequence, or order of things, in a story. The kids know that ‘black’ is a color, but I also introduce the word ‘adjective’ and tell them that ‘black’ tells us more about that dog. I say: Boys and girls, in first grade your teacher will not call 'black' a 'color word.' She will call it an 'adjective.' Everybody say ADJECTIVE. (students echo) You have to know that for first grade, so I am going to start using the word ADJECTIVE for words that describe. 'Black' is a word that describes the color, so we call it an ADJECTIVE.
I wanted the students to know that we are using academic language for the word 'black' by using the word 'adjective' instead of calling it a 'color word.' This ups the rigor of this part of the lesson.
I stop when we get to those words in the text and step aside to discuss their meaning. I ask: Are there any word or illustrations that help us know what at last/black means? Students are encouraged to use the context to uncover meaning and this is something that Common Core standards address directly.
I remind students about the sequence of events in a story. I explain that in a story things happen in a certain order and that the events occur in an order that makes sense. We look at the illustrations on pages 5, 7 and 9. I ask: How do these pictures change from one to the other? (the old man tries by himself and then gets help)
I ask the students to recall all of the characters that tried to help pull the turnip from the ground. I list them on a chart paper. We then look through the illustrations to help us to put the characters in order according to their appearance in the story. We put the character names in a flow map as we determine their position in the story. I like to draw the flow map as we go, but here is a template that you can also use!
We then read and speak off the map, verbally retelling the story. I encourage the kids to use ordinal words like ‘first,’ ‘second,’ third,’ etc. I say: What is a word we can use at the beginning of our sentence to tell us that this is the first event? (first) I am going to write that word on top of our first box. Everyone say ‘first.’ (students echo) Now, using the word ‘first,’ who can tell me a sentence that tells us about this first event? (First, the old man had an enormous turnip that he couldn’t pull out of the ground.)
I continue in the same fashion for each box in our flow map. I like to introduce transitional words other than ordinal words, so I use those for the first few events, then I introduce/encourage the use of other transitions like next, after that and finally.
Here is a little bit more on the flow map strategy!
A sample retell might go something like this:
First, the old man had an enormous turnip that he couldn’t pull out of the ground. Second, he called the old woman to help him. They couldn’t pull it up. Third, the old woman called the granddaughter, but they couldn’t pull it up. Next, the granddaughter called the black dog. They could not pull up the turnip. After that, the black dog called the cat to help. But they still could not pull it up. Finally, the cat called the mouse. They all pulled together and, at last, they pulled the turnip up.
I have students add words and illustrations to their dictionaries that they use throughout the unit. It is important for the students to have one place to record all the vocabulary words related to the unit. Because my students are second language learners I do this in a guided setting.
I address words used in the retell that are crucial to student understanding. They are the vocabulary words from the story that are unfamiliar to my second language learners.
We review each of the vocabulary words (big, little, tiny, enormous, at last, black). I have my dictionary on the document camera and students are seated at their desks with theirs. We decide on a word to add to our first page. I say: Let’s write the word ‘big?’ What letter for /b/? (b) What letter for /i/? (i) What letter for /g/? (g) I write the letters on my page as students write on theirs. I say: Make sure you have b-i-g on your line for the word ‘big.’
I ask: What can we draw to show the word ‘big?’ I take student suggestions and let them draw the picture they want that represents ‘big.’
I follow the same pattern for each page, using each vocabulary word. If time starts to become a factor, we do not spell the words sound by sound. I will write the word on my page and students copy.