I read America the Beautiful sing and read storybook that is published by Scholastic. I like this one because the illustrations help students understand the song and what is happening in it. If you do not have the storybook, you could use this video and song:
After I read the book, I let the kids listen to the song on either a CD or with the video.
Using video is something I am incorporating in my classroom much more with Common Core. As students get older, they will be expected to listen to learn in addition to read to learn. Using this video with the support of the book sets the stage for just that!
I practice the first few lines with the kids using echo reading of the book. I say: Oh beautiful Kids repeat Oh beautiful. I say: for spacious skies Kids repeat: for spacious skies I do this through the song line …for amber waves of grain. We then practice that far with the music or video. If I am using a CD, I will flip through the book and show the pictures that go with the music so the kids have visual clues for the words.
I tell the kids that we will continue to practice this song and learn more words tomorrow.
Hats Off For the Fourth of July! Third Read
We review the first page of the story in the big book. I ask: Who remembers what we read about yesterday? Let's look at the pictures to help us remember before we continue reading.
I show the students the following vocabulary words from the selection: proudly, plenty, parade. We then echo read the words (my turn, students’ turn) and I show them pictures to go with each word. I ask: Based on this picture, what do you think this word means? To solidify meaning and understanding, I almost always (sometimes there just isn't an action) give the students some TPR (Total Physical Response) to help them remember the word. I prompt with: How can we SHOW 'proudly?' We then may sit up straight with our chins up. How can we SHOW 'plenty?' We might put both of our hands out as if they were full of something.
Text Dependent Questions
I remind students that we are practicing how to draw conclusions or gaining meaning from the text. I ask: Who remembers what ‘drawing conclusions’ means? (using words and pictures to make decisions about what the story is telling us) I tell the kids: Sometimes we call it ‘reading between the lines.’
I read pp. 13-16 and ask (referring to p. 16): What word on this page tells us that these men love their country? (patriots) We talk about how the men are dressed and what the soldiers in the Revolutionary War were fighting for. I ask: Why do you think these men are dressed in these costumes for this parade? (to show their respect for the men who fought in theat war for the country’s freedom)
I read pp. 17-20 and ask: Who can come and show me George Washington? (volunteer points to him) Why do you think he is dressed as George Washington? (he was the leader of the American army, the first president of the USA, father of our country) What American symbol is on this page (p.20)? (flag) Why do you think the words say “Hats off!” (the flag is close by-sign of respect) I relate this back to our flag in our classroom. I stress to kids that we don’t wear hats in our classroom or have our hoods on when we come into the classroom because the flag is in the room. (I remind the kids of this all year long, so they are familiar with this show of respect.)
I read pp. 21-24 and ask: If you were going to be in a 4th of July parade, how would you dress? Turn and talk to a partner. I then ask for volunteers to share out.
Why so many reads?
The first read of a story is for the students to get the gist...the flow of the story. They are exposed to the characters, plot and ending. The second and third reads are CLOSE READS of the story. This allows my students to dig deeper into the text in manageable chunks. An entire story can often be lengthy and overwhelming for my ELLs, so we often do first, second and third reads of texts.
American Symbols book-supporting and extending the theme of Patriotism
Statue of Liberty Art
Students each color a picture of the Statue of Liberty. I like to have students cut out the fireworks that are around her and make their own. They do this by gluing their Statue of Liberty onto a black piece of construction paper. I tell the kids that this represents the night sky behind her. Students either paint fireworks around her or they can also use light colored crayons to draw them in.
There are two ways to create the book and glue the writing with the art project:
I have made the book in two different sized versions over the years and here is how they both lay out! Both sizes look great when done. It is personal preference on which way you want to construct the book.
Lessons and learnings connect to each other within a lesson and/or throughout a lesson series. This part of this lesson springboards from the text because the topic of the text is Patriotism. Almost every picture/illustration from the book has an American symbol in it. This art will be the picture representation of the writing page in their book. The rigor of creating this book is high. It cannot be done in one lesson or one day. It must be taught in a series. Also, it requires students to retain learning from day to day!