Our Unit of study in our Harcourt Reading Curriculum is Neighborhood Helpers. I like to incorporate this theme into my Social Studies and writing block. We are reading fiction and nonfiction stories in Whole group reading block and in our small reading groups. It is fun to weave a theme through out the day and different content areas. This is the second day of our learning about neighborhood helpers. Today my daughter will come in and talk about her schooling experience and her career as a Hair Stylist. We have acquired permission for her to cut my mothers hair in the classroom to show my students how she conducts a hair cut. She will explain every step and what tools she uses. After this "LIVE" demonstration, my students will be able to write an informative paper about a Hair Stylist. I think there is nothing better than a guest speaker willing to perform and explain their career to my class in person.
I begin my lesson with my students seated on the carpet.
"We have been learning about our community helpers and today we will learn about a Hair Stylist. We learned that a career is a job that someone does. Lets begin our lesson with a KWL chart. We first want to write down everything we know about a hair stylist. I will draw name sticks so my friends can name some things about a Hair Stylist. I will write all your answers on the K part of the chart."
I call on students for things they think a Hair Stylist does at her job. I let every have an opportunity to orally participate in this discussion. When all the students have had a turn we stop and review all that we know about the Hair Stylist.
I like to use Thinking Maps and KWL Chart when conducting a discussion with my students. I give everyone the opportunity to orally speak their thoughts and ideas. By writing down their answer, validates what they have to say. If someone gives an "inappropriate" answer, I will turn it around and prompt them so they can say something I can write on the KWL Chart. I love teaching them to take turns and listen to each other.
For my neighborhood helper readings I have chosen all nonfiction books. I am so glad the library has a wide variety of these books. I like to use nonfiction books that have easy text and lots of real pictures for my ELL students. By using real books I feel I am giving my students correct information about a real career. After they have learned about the real career, then I will read about a fictional character performing a real career.
"You have named many things that a Hair Stylist uses for her career. Now I will read a nonfiction story to you. After I read it, we will come back to the KWL and see if we can add information to the chart"
"The book is called Meet my Neighbor, the hair stylist. I would like you to sit up straight with your ears warmed up for listening. As I read the story listen for things that we could put on our KWL chart."
I read the book and point our picture details. We discuss things in the pictures that they recognize from their experiences at a hair salon or a barber shop.
"Did anyone hear or see anything in the book that I could add to the KWL chart? Let's review the KWL chart before our Guest Speaker arrives."
My daughter is a hair stylist and has agreed to come in to talk to my class about her career. I love having people come into my class and talk with my students. I feel that my ELL students benefit from seeing a real person, hearing and talking to them helps them with the comprehension of the subject. My mother is my class Gramma. She has been my class Gramma for eight years. Today, Mrs. Greenhalgh will cut Gramma Lu's hair while discussing her career.
"Mrs. Greenhalgh, this is my kindergarten class. Class, this is Mrs Greenhalgh. Please say Hello. Mrs. Greenhalgh, before you begin talking about your career, I would like to show you the KWL chart that we put together about your career. Under the K, is what we know about a stylist. Under the W, is what we want to know. These are some questions we thought of to ask you. Last, we have the L column, this is for the things we learn from you today. Go ahead and begin your presentation."
Mrs. Greenhalgh talks about her career and all the fun she has while working. We spread out a sheet for Gramma Lu to put her chair on and Mrs. Greenhalgh begins to cut her hair. Mrs. Greenhalgh talks to us as she cuts the hair, telling us what she is doing and why. We applaud when Gramma Lu is finished.
"Thank you Mrs. Greenhalgh. Now let's go back to our KWL chart. Did we get answers for the questions we wanted to ask? Let's write down the answers under what we learned today."
Everyone helps clean up the stray hairs from Gramma Lu's head.
"We have read a book about the career of a hair stylist, made a kWL chart while discussing the career of a hair stylist and we had Mrs. Greenhalgh talk to us about being a hair stylist while she cut Gramma Lu's hair. I would now like to write about a hair stylist. I will put the writing paper under the document camera and you can help me think of sentences we could write about a hair stylist."
I go to the KWL chart and we review what we know about the hair stylist. We come up with many sentences. We read through the sentences together. I am having them use a writing paper to write their sentences.
"I am going to turn off the doc camera. These are easy sentences to write. You can sound out the words to write. I would like at least one sentence, but if you can give me three sentences, Any questions? If you need help, I will help you.
I dismiss my seated students from the carpet on row at a time to go to their tables. My class helpers pass out the papers to every seat. I love to use class helpers. My students gain confidence and feel an ownership in the class by performing these small responsibilities. I help my lower students with sounding out their words. I collect the writing papers as my students finish writing. I have my students read library books until everyone has finished.
When everyone is finished, we clean up the books and sit on the carpet ready to listen. I love this part of the lesson. It is like a miniature assessment that doesn't seem like an assessment. I will learn if my instruction was intentional enough for all my students to gain comprehension of the CCSS I used in planning the lesson. I will learn if they liked the subject. A detailed sentence and drawing indicate that they were interested and learned some information. I will learn if I need to change my instruction to encourage the students participation in the discussions. I will learn if I need to differenciate my expectations or give more instruction to my lower students.
When everyone is sitting on their squares, criss cross apple sauce, I call a row up at a time for the reading to begin. My ELL students seem to be braver and more willing to read with their friends are around them. Each students get the opportunity to read their writing and show off their student work. We applaud and cheer after each reading.