My students are seated on the carpet for whole group reading block. I greet them wearing a hat, scarf and mittens. The beginning of the story tells of the elephants complaining about being cold. I am hoping to peek their interest with the winter clothing.
"Good morning, I am so cold. Aren't you cold? I wore my winter clothes to help warm me up. I wonder how else I could get warm? How can we get warmer? Does anyone have an idea? Let's fill out a circle map so we can brainstorm some ideas."
I use my name sticks to call on students to give me ideas on how I can get warmer. I write down all the suggestions.
"These are all great ideas on how I can get warm. I am going to read a new Elmer book called Elmer and the Snow At the beginning of the story all the elephants are cold and are complaining. You will laugh at what Elmer does to warm them up."
I begin to read the story and laugh at Elmer. As the story progresses and we get to the part where the elephants have walked a long, long way, I draw a picture on the board. I draw the trees and an elephant at the bottom of the mountain. I draw trees that are different partway up the mountain and no trees at the top. We discuss how the air is colder at the top of the mountain than at the bottom. Elmer and the whole picture
"What do you think they will find at the top of the mountain? SNOW! You are right! How did you know? It is colder at the top of the mountain than at the bottom. Let's read on and see what tricks Elmer plays on the other elephants when they are in the snow."
We laugh at the snow elephant that Elmer makes and wish we were at the snowball fight. The Elephants come back down the mountain after playing all day. I have to explain why the elephants are not cold anymore now that they came back from the snow.
"The elephants were cold in the beginning of the story. Hmm, there was no snow and they were cold. What did they feel up in the snow? REALLY COLD! They got really cold. When they got back to the bottom of the mountain they were not cold like they were in the snow. Then they felt just right. That is kind of funny. Elmer tricked them again. He knew that the snow was colder on top of the mountain than it was at the bottom of the mountain. "
My class has been sequencing events for a while now and are getting pretty good at identifying the different parts of the story to use on their templates. Sequencing a story is an important skill in order to give an accurate retell. Upper grades have to give a retell on all genres of text, many of which are difficult. In kindergarten we are able to sequence fun texts in all genres.
It is also very important to model the writing in front of the students with their input. This is still their writing paper. I am just the facilitator. Sometimes I model the writing process twice. Once on a laminated template and then again on the same template they will be using. Now that we have sequenced stories many times, I only teacher model it once. I now only model the writing activity on the same paper they will be using. I often leave my modeled writing on the smart board for them to use as a reference. I would rather my lower students to copy what is written instead of me highlighting the sentence and them tracing it. My higher students often make up their own sentences using the modeled sentence as a guide.
My rules for discussion is pretty simple. I will be using partner sharing to facilitate the sentence writing. We have preassigned partners but there is always a DISCUSSION between at least one set of partners about their willingness to be together or an absent partner. I use sentence frames for my students to use as they make up an answer. My ELL students do really well using the sentence frames. They are not left on their own to think of an entire sentence. They sometimes need prompting to fill in the blank, usually a partner can do that for them. We learn through example, partnering provides that example. I use my name sticks for calling on students to provide the answer.
"Elmer is so funny. I love the tricks he plays on the other elephants. I am going to use my document camera to sequence the story events. I need your help. Would you turn to your partner? Please go knee to knee, eye to eye using whisper voices. Tell your partner what you think happened first in the story. Use the sentence frame; First the ____________."
I walk around and listen for academic conversations and prompt those who are not participating. I use my name sticks to call on a student to give me an idea of what came first in the story.
"Put your hand on your head when you and your partner have told each other the first part of the story. I will choose a friend who is sitting criss cross applesauce to tell me what happened. Hadassah, what did your partner tell you happened in the first part of the story? The elephants were cold? How many of you think that is the first event that happened in the story? Good, I will draw that"
In my drawing I teach them about speech bubbles. Speech bubbles are fun for them to write. I then write the sentence; First the elephants are cold.
"Now we need to remember what happened next in the story. Turn to your partners again and tell your partner what happened. Use the sentence frame; Next the _________."
I walk around again to listen for academic conversations and prompt those students that are unsure of what to say.
"Put your hand on your head when you and your partner have told each other the Next part of the story. I will choose a friend who is sitting criss cross applesauce to tell me what happened. Irvin, what did your partner tell you happened Next in the story? The elephants went to the snow? How many of you think that is what happened Next in the story? Good, I will draw that"
I draw the elephants playing in the snow and I write Next the elephants went to the snow.
"Now we need to remember what happened last in the story. Please turn to your partners again and tell them what happened last."
I listen in on some conversations.
"Put your hand on your head when you and your partner have told each other the Last part of the story. I will choose a friend who is sitting criss cross applesauce to tell me what happened. Emely, what did your partner tell you happened Last in the story? The elephants were warm? How many of you think that is what happened Last in the story? Good, I will draw that"
I write the sentence: Last the elephants were warm.
"Now it is your turn to sequence the story. You will use the same first-next-last writing template as I did."
I have my class paper passers pass out the writing templates to every seat while I dismiss the seated students by rows to go to their tables. I walk around and prompt students in their writing and drawings so they have an accurate retell.
As the students finish their story sequence I have them sit on the carpet to read books. When everyone is finished we clean up the books and sit on the carpet. I call the students up to the front of the room by rows. I feel they are more secure and confident when they are surrounded by their friends. Each student gives their Student oral presentation and shows their work one at a time. We applaud and cheer after each retell.