Our reading unit from the reading curriculum is about our Neighborhood helpers. I have been incorporating this theme into my social studies and writing block. I think it is helpful for my students to have all my content areas based on a common theme. This helps with comprehension and vocabulary when you use it all day. During the reading block I am using the fiction and nonfiction readers for whole group and small groups. I am choosing specific careers for each day. Today is our sixth day in learning about Neighborhood helpers. I was unable to get a commitment from our City's Police dept. for a class visit. This would have been the best teaching tool to use for learning about Police Officers. My students will be able to writ an informational paper after reading the book, engaging in a class discussion and using templates.
I begin my lesson with my students seated on the carpet.
"We have been learning about our community helpers and today we will read and learn about the Police Officer. We learned that a career is a job that someone does. I want to know how much you already know about a Police Officer. We will use a bubble map to write all the things we know. I will draw name sticks so my friends can name some things that the Police Officer does. I will write all your answers on the bubble map."
I love to use a bubble map as part of my writing routine. The bubble map is a visual organizer where we can put all our thoughts and ideas on. My students can refer to the bubble map during writing.
I call on students for things they think a Police Officer does at their 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 the bubbles on our bubble map.
I like to use Thinking Maps 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 "inaccurate" answer, I will prompt them to say something I can write on the bubble map. I love teaching them to take turns and listen to each other. My students learn a lot from each other.
For my neighborhood helper readings I have chosen all nonfiction books. I am so glad the library has a variety of community helper books. I love to use nonfiction books when I am teaching my students about real things. I like the books to have kid friendly text and real pictures. After I teach my students about the career then I will read a book about a fictional character performing a real career.
"You have named many things that the Police Officer does for their career. Now I will read a nonfiction story to you. After I read it, we will come back to the bubble map and see if we can add more bubbles to the Police Officer map."
"The title of the book is A Day in the Life of a Police Officer. I would like you to sit up straight with your ears warmed up for listening. Listen for things that we don't have on the bubble map as I read the story."
I read the book and point our picture details. We discuss things in the pictures that we have seen the police do. Because of where my students live, they have lots of knowledge about Police Officers. Their experiences and knowledge is not very favorable.
"Did anyone hear or see anything in the book that I should add to the bubble map? Let's review the bubble map one more time before we write."
We learn a lot from reading the book. My students like the pictures. I like the pictures because they are real.
I model the writing activity using the document camera. By putting my writing on the smart board, all my students can see the writing from their seats. I have several students that wear classes when they remember to. So large bold print is important in my classroom. I want you to think of two sentences that you can write that tells about the Police Officer. The students job will be to choose something from the bubble map to write on the line.
I like to teach my students writing by use of a sentence frame. Sentence frames give my students a direction in which to think and write. I like to use a dot font to introduce writing new vocabulary. Sentence frames help with sentence structure and the predictability helps when they read their writing.
"You can use this sentence frame for your first sentence, The Police Officer _______________. Let's think about what we else we can write. I will call on a few students to help me with this sentence. If you can write more than one sentence, please write them. I will give you two gummy bears if you write more than one sentence."
We came up with the sentences; The Police Officer is nice. The Police Officer keeps me safe. The Police Officer arrests people. The Police Officer wears a uniform.
"Make up as many sentences that you can think of about the Police Officer. Remember your spaces and periods. I will come around and help you with your papers.'
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 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 when their friends are around them. Each students get the opportunity to read their sentence and show off their student writing. We applaud and cheer after each reading.