The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane Day 1 of 8: Chapters 1-3

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SWBAT explain how a novel builds from chapter to chapter, telling how parts of the story relate to the whole novel. SWBAT answer questions after reading referring to the text, and making inferences to support their choices. SWBAT write a summary including the most important events, and characters after listening to a series of chapters.

Big Idea

The journey begins! The students embark on a journey of understanding how a novel builds as they meet characters and are introduced to the setting in chapters 1-3 in The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

Welcome to My Lesson

Thank you for visiting my lesson!  This lesson is part of a series of eight lessons my class completed while reading the novel The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.  Our class reads one extended text, or chapter book, during our shared reading time in each of our six English-Language Arts units.  Our district does this to follow the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) Model Content Frameworks, which suggests an extended text for each of the four modules within a school year.  Completing this during our shared reading block allows all students, regardless of reading ability, to experience grade level text, practice with the standards, and an overall literary experience as a classroom community.

This book was chosen because it meets the rigor of the Common Core State Standards for third grade at the upper level of our recommended Lexile band, at 700Lexile level.  It also is a good mentor text to teach the standards I was asked to teach this particular week within my grade level curriculum RL3.5, and SL3.2, although I've snuck a few more in there, too!  

My kids really enjoyed this novel, and many of my higher readers went on to enjoy other novels by Kate DiCamillo, like The Tale of Despereaux, Because of Winn Dixie, Flora & Ulysses, and The Magician's Elephant.  Other readers enjoyed her Mercy Watson chapter books.  Our shared reading texts often help students find their next book to read for their independent reading time, and reading at home.

I hope you and your class enjoy Edward's journey as much as we did!  Bon voyage!

Lesson: Introduction & Understanding How a Story Builds

5 minutes

We begin our shared reading lesson at the back carpet area of our classroom under our classroom tree.  We often sit here for read-aloud stories, mini-lessons, and other special parts of our day.  

Introduce Novel Study:  I explain to students that for our shared reading selection this week, we'll be listening to an audio recording of the novel The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  I show my students the first page in our packet that introduces some of the characters in the novel. I have a blown up copy of this that I keep on my easel located at the carpet area in the back of our room.   I tell the students they can refer back to this page as we're reading to help them remember all of the characters Edward will meet on his miraculous journey.  (See Resource File:  The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane Packet)

Lesson:  Throughout the week, I'm delivering lessons to help students understand how a novel builds from one chapter to the next.  I ask students to tell me what kinds of parts a novel has to activate their knowledge of this standard, and to see what they already know.  They answer with things like chapters, table of contents, exciting parts, sad parts, etc.  I show students the graphic organizer "Understanding How a Story Builds".  

I explain that authors, especially those who write chapter books, write their stories in a certain order so readers can understand them, and they have their stories build from chapter to chapter.  We have a discussion about what a novel would be like if all of the parts were out of order, or if parts were missing.  

I walk students through the graphic organizer beginning with the introduction of characters and setting, going through each part, pointing and explaining as I read.  Then, I have them hold out one hand as I reread through the graphic organizer so that it goes up the hill and down again, just like on the graphic organizer.  I tell students that each day we read, we'll be identifying where we are on the graphic organizer in our novel.  (See Resource Files:  Understanding How a Story Builds Graphic Organizer and Text Structure Poster CCSS RL3.5)

Audio Recording Chapters 1-3

20 minutes

Each day, we are listening to an audio recording of the story.  The recording was purchased by my school librarian, and is read by Judith Ivey.  We are tying the recording in with daily summary writing, to work on standard SL3.2, which asks the students to identify the main ideas and supporting details of a text that's read aloud or presented in diverse media and formats.

Prepare to Listen:  I pass out copies of the novel to each student.  I give them a minute to browse the pictures and have a short pair-and-share with their neighbors about thoughts and predictions.  I point again to the blown-up version of the second page of our packet, including all of the character's names, and a short description.  I point out a few, explaining that Edward will meet many people during his miraculous journey.  (See Resource File:  The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane Packet)

Audio Recording:  Today, we'll listen to chapters 1, 2, and 3.  I explain what my expectations are for following along while listening to an audio recording.  I tell students that they should follow along as best as they can, and that I will be holding my copy of the book up, holding my finger where the audio recording is reading.  If they get lost all they have to do is look up at me, and I'll be pointing to the location of the audio recording.  I ask the students to make sure they are sitting on their bottoms, so we can start.  We listen to the audio recording.  I stop the recording after each chapter, and ask the students to help me summarize the most important information and events of each chapter.  We'll be using this information later during our summary writing lesson.

I ask my students to journey back to their desks to complete "Day One" work in our Edward Tulane packets, which my paper passers pass out for me.

Lesson: Summary Writing

10 minutes

Summarizing Lesson:  My students have some experience with summary writing, but still need support to accomplish this on their own.  I've created a "Summary Writing Tips" page and rubric that I read through and display for students to see.  We also have a "Summarizing" poster on our wall.  I have my class help me by giving me the most important things we encountered in chapters 1-3.  I make a bulleted list on the board, that will serve as support to write today's summaries.  Our list looks like this:

  • Edward china rabbit
  • Belongs to a girl, Abilene
  • Likes fancy clothes; treated like a person
  • Snobby
  • Family traveling on "Queen Mary" ship soon
  • Pelligrina is grandmother who gave Edward to Abilene


Throughout the eight day study of this novel, you'll notice that I will slowly release responsibility to the students, but for now, I help guide the conversation and list the most important things on the board for us to write our summary together.  We take our bulleted list, and write the following summary together:

Edward is a china rabbit who belongs to a girl named Abilene, who loves him very much.  He likes to wear fancy clothes and is quite snobby.  Pelligrina is Abilene's grandmother, and tells her stories.  Abilene's family will be sailing on the Queen Mary for a trip.

(See Resource File:  Summary Writing Tips and Summarizing Poster)

Independent Practice: Day One Work

10 minutes

Questions:  I ask my students to answer the questions included with today's work.  Throughout the week, there are some multiple choice, short answer, and Part A and Part B questions.  I have my students complete these on their own, for comprehension practice.  If your students don't have experience with Part A and B questions, you'll want to teach them about answering these.  I've varied the kinds of questions to practice character traits, vocabulary, and other types of skills.  (See Day 1 Sample)

Daily Pair & Share:  Each day in this series of lessons, the students complete a short pair-share with their neighbors after listening to the story.  Today, I've asked them to first "Discuss the most important events or information presented in chapters one through three".  They turn and share for about one minute.  I then ask them to turn and share with someone new, answering  "Who is telling the story?  How do you know?  Find evidence in your book."  (See Resource File Included in Section Above:  The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane Packet)

Review and Predictions

5 minutes

Review:  Each day, we review at the end of our shared reading time.  I choose a student to read their summary of the day's reading and move Edward along the map on our SMART Notebook file.  (See Resource File:  The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane Map Notebook File)

*I've included a video of my students reading their summaries.  This video is a compilation of different days while we were reading the story, one summary for each day of reading.  Each day, I chose a different students to read their summaries as a review of what we had read in previous days.  We always ended with a new summary for the day's reading.  (See Resource File:  Edward Tulane Summaries)

Predictions:  We make predictions for tomorrow based on what we've read in the text, and using our inferring skills to guess what may happen in the novel tomorrow.  (See Resource File:  Predicting Poster)

**If you like my Summarizing and Predictions posters in this lesson, please visit my Immigration Week Lessons for a full set of posters I created for my class.