The Empty Pot, A Second Read and Deeper Analysis (Part 1)

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SWBAT analyze the illustrations and text to deepen their understanding of the author's craft in a literary text.

Big Idea

The illustrations are filled with rich details about the story. Ooohhh, what details can be found in them? I can't wait to find out!


15 minutes

Summary and Context

One of the shifts with the CCSS is about having students engage in numerous readings of the same text to deepen their understanding of the story. Not all stories are worthy, but The Empty Pot is a rich text that can be read a first time, second, or even a third time with the class. I like to design questions for a first read to be about asking what the text says explicitly. For a second read, I like to design the questions to move the students towards an understanding of the implicit meanings of the text. The questions I will be asking today, therefore, during our second read, include how and why the author chose to do something in a certain way. This will help support students in understanding the author's craft. Also, I will be asking students what certain words mean. We will practice the strategy of context clues with these words, if it is applicable.

As noted, in developing questions for the second read, I want to help students analyze the structure of the story, which means looking at the author's craft. In this story, this illustrations of this story are meaty they are really another part of the text itself. They add to the storyline and to the meaning of the words, so, today, learning from the illustrations is as much of a focus as learning from the text.

Once we are done with this second read, I will gather the students on the rug to continue discussing the author's approach.

Next, to help students integrate their knowledge, I will have students write about their learning.

Finally, I will give some students the opportunity to share out about what they wrote about and get feedback from the class.

Lesson Opening:

I start with the students on the rug. I share the student friendly objective: "I can analyze the illustrations and text to better understand key details in the story."

To help them understand the story deeper and to give them some independent reading, I give them 10 minutes to reread the first part of the story from pages 196 to 201. I will read with a couple of students on the rug as the rest read on their own at their tables.

Second Reading of Part One with Text Dependent Questions

30 minutes

To develop questions for a second read, I kept in mind the structure of the story/the craft of the author. These questions are about opening up a conversation with the author about the choices she has made about how she tells the story. The author becomes a living entity through the conversation I have with my students about how the illustrations enhance the story by providing additional details. For example, my students can rely on the illustrations to further understand the word "proclamation" by noticing the person on the horse has a paper/scroll in his hands that he reads to make the announcement to the people. I have found that, in a complex text, first grade students need direct instruction to help them notice these details.

To help students keep track of the words we are analyzing, I have created a vocabulary document for them to use. With my guidance they will write the context clues that may help them understand the meaning. Then, they will write what the word means given the context clues. If the context clues are not enough to obtain meaning, then I will give the students the opportunity to use the dictionary. One or two students at each table will be have the opportunity to find the meaning for the rest of the group. I will have students take turns.

I believe it is important for students to understand the different sources they have as options to figure out the meaning of words. They need to be empowered to know when they need to resort to a dictionary because the context clues are not enough or may be misleading. That is why I am taking the time to teach them these skills.

Here are examples of their vocabulary sheets:

Socratic Seminar

10 minutes

Socratic Seminar is about discussing ideas. Today's question is: what did the illustrations help you understand better about the text?

Before posing the question, I review the rules for participation and remind them how to reference the Handing-Off Chart to remind how to enter a conversation.

In meeting for Socratic Seminar, I am helping my students with various skills, listening is one of them. They are also learning how to have academic discussions. This is preparation for college and career. 

I have attached a document that gives more details about how I implement Socratic Seminar.

Independent Writing

15 minutes

My students need constant practice and different opportunities to integrate the knowledge they are learning. Now they are writing about how the illustrations helped them to better understand the text. As they write, I walk around and monitor their progress and offer support as needed. Some will need support with starting; others will be need to be reminded of the task; still others will need help how to refer back to the illustrations.

Here are examples of their work:

Sharing With Whole Class

10 minutes

Giving the students time to share their work helps to build their self-esteem and confidence. It helps to validate their learning and gives the class the opportunity to hear what their peers are learning. It also gives the audience the practice of listening with the intent of paying close attention to what is being shared.

I find this routine very helpful.

Like other times, students give feedback to each other using a protocol that makes it safe and fun:

  • Two stars: Two different students state something they liked about the writing. Their feedback is very specific.
  • A Wish: This is done by a third student who also gives feedback that is specific to the task/performance as a speaker.

Here are the speakers for this lesson: