Describe it to Me

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Objective

Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of adjectives.

Big Idea

Creating an imaginary creature helps students begin to use expressive language.

Introduction

10 minutes

Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.

In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.

When all of the students are seated on their dot in the rug area I tell the students they will need to stand up and find a space on and around the rug where they will not bump into their friends.

I tell the students we are going to free dance to old style of music called rock and roll.

“Now even though we are free dancing to an old style of music I want you to remain in control of your body. If I begin to see bodies that are out of control, I will need to take control of them by having them sit out until the owner comes to collect them and get them back in control. Everyone got it? Okay, here we go.”

I play the song the One Eyed, One Horned, Flying Purple People Eater, by Sheb Wooley.

I do not use the visual versions of this song because I want the students to create their own image of the purple people eater.

Once the song is over I have the students take a seat back on their spots.

“Boys and girls, who can tell me something about what the purple people eater might look like?”

I select a student who is following the correct classroom protocol of raising their hand to respond to the question.

“Nice one Finnley; I heard that he was purple too. Anyone else hear anything to tell us what he looked like?”

Once again I select a student who is following classroom protocol.

“I agree Emily; I heard that he only had one eye. What else?”

I continue with this line of questioning until I get enough responses to cover what the monster might look like.

“Those were all great responses. We are now going to read about some weird creatures that have been created in someone else’s mind.”

  

 I use this song because it has lots of descriptive words in it which help to create a visual image in the students’ minds. It is also a fun way for the students to get moving before sitting down for a story. 

Activity

45 minutes

Today I hold the book up and ask the students who they think the book is written by.

“Boys and girls, raise a quiet hand if you think you can tell me who the author of this book is.”

I select a student who is sitting quietly with their hand raised following the correct classroom protocol.

“Well done Benjamin; this book is written by Dr. Seuss. Benjamin, how did you know who the author of this book was?”

“Wow that is a lot of clues you used to know the answer. You said you knew because of the Cat in the Hat symbol on the cover of the book, you saw his name on the cover, and you have heard this book before. Those are all great ways to know who wrote the book.”

“The whole title of this book is One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Does anyone know why we are reading this book today?”

“Well done Rachel; we are reading it because we are exploring the author Dr. Seuss. He wrote lots of books that helped children learn to read. We are reading some Dr. Seuss books to see what skills we can practice to help us become better readers. Let’s go ahead and read our Dr. Seuss book for the day.” 

 

As we read the book I ask the students questions relating to the text.

“Hey I notice something about the text in this story. Can anyone tell me what they think I notice?”

“You are right Adam; the words used to name the creature rhyme.”

I discuss with the students some of the features of the creatures in the story.

“Wow look at these two fish. This one is thin and this one is fat. Thin and fat are adjectives. Can anyone recall what an adjective is?”

I select a student to respond to the question.

“That’s right Carson; an adjective is a describing word.”

“Thin and fat are not only adjectives, they are also what?”

I select another student to respond.

“Well done Riley; they are also opposites. Throughout this book you will see adjectives used as opposites so that you can tell the difference between two creatures.”

 Now that I have modeled what a describing word is I allow selected students to describe some of the features of other creatures we come across in the story.  

We continue reading the book through to the end.  

 

When the book is over I have the students take a seat around the edge of the rug.

While the students are taking a seat around the edge of the rug I get the sample of the creature I have created using the crazy pieces from the Teaching With Favorite Dr. Seuss Books, written by Joan Novelli and published by Scholastic. ISBN 0439294622

I show the students my sample and explain what I have done.

“Look at the creature I have created. I took some of the pieces from this paper (I show them a copy of the crazy pieces page) and I glued them onto my piece of construction paper. Here you can see I created a name for my creature (I point to where I wrote the name), and these four words are adjectives. They describe what my creature is like – fast, long, jiggly, and bug-eyed

; so if my creature is fast it is not what?”

I select a student who is following the correct classroom procedure of raising their hand.

“That’s right Adam, he is not slow. Fast and slow are what?”

Once again I select another student.

“Great Bryan; they are opposite. I can use descriptive words to tell my audience about what my creature is and the opposites of those words tell the audience what my creature is not.”

“Today at one of the integrated work stations you will use your own sheet of crazy pieces to create your own creature. You will need to give it a name and then use four adjectives to describe what your creature is like. An adult and this book, will be at this station to help you out with your describing words.”

 

“Remember Mrs. Clapp is going to use a checklist to go over your work to see if you followed the directions that were given. Did the student put their name on the creature sheet? Did the student name their creature creation?  Did the student use at least four describing words to tell me about their creature creation? Is the student’s work neat and tidy?”   

“Does anyone have any questions?”

 

Once I feel the group has a good grasp of the instructions I send the students over one table group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. It usually sounds like this;

“Table number one let’s go have some creature creation fun.

Table number two, you know what to do.

Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and

Table number four, you shouldn’t be here anymore.”

 

Allow the students 15 minutes to work on this activity. Set a visual timer and remind the students to look at the timer so they will use their time wisely. 

Students working on creating their creature.     Students working on creating their creatures 2.      Student Creature Creation in action 

 

WHY ADJECTIVES?

Adjectives describe nouns and are used in conversation every day. Kindergarteners use them, but they may not readily identify these words as adjectives. Students who do not use descriptive words effectively can face difficulties in making themselves clearly understood. Using and manipulating descriptive words is a skill that children need in everyday life; especially at school. As adults, descriptive language is important at work, such as in writing instructions. Adjectives and adverbs allow children’s speech and writing to be precise and specific, leaving little room for guessing as to what they mean.

Young children will learn almost anything when they are having fun so that is why I use a hands on lesson to show the students both how to be creative and and also how to describe the product they have made. 

 

Closure

10 minutes

When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look listen” technique mentioned above. “When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”

Students know to put completed work in the finished work bin. Any work that is not completed goes into the under construction bin and can be completed throughout the day whenever the student finds he/she has spare time or it will be completed during free choice center time.

A student's creature creation.     Student's creature creation 2.      Student's creature creation 3. 

Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to use a describing word in a sentence.

“Boys and girls, your exit ticket today to get your snack is to use an adjective in a sentence. Who can tell me what an adjective is?”

I select a student who is following the correct classroom protocol to respond.

“You are right Courtney. An adjective is a describing word that tells me about something.”

“Now that we know what we should be doing, I am going to use the fair sticks to choose who is going to tell me their sentence first. Here we go.”

I use the fair sticks to select the order of the students. 

Once a student has told me their sentence, they are able to use the hand sanitizer and go to get their snack. If a student is unable to give me a sentence, they know they can do one of two things.

  1. They can ask a friend to help, or
  2. They can wait until everyone else has gone and then we will work together on coming up with a sentence together. 

See reflection for a better idea of a closing ticket activity. 

Assessment

I use the Crazy Creature Adjective checklist to go over the student’s work and once it is complete I will place the student’s work in his/her collection portfolio.

Looking at the student’s work with the checklist helps me to stay focused. Firstly I am looking to see if the student could come with a name for their creature creation. Secondly I check to see if the student was able to come up with some descriptive words to accurately describe their creature. I will also take note when the student is describing their creature to me, of whether or not the student is able to tell me what their creature is not by giving me the opposite of some of the words they have used – this may be difficult with color words so I do not select those words.

Student telling me about his creation.  

 

Extensions

Students match opposite pairs of words in a Fishy Words memory game.

 

Students have a sheet with five different sized fish bowls on it. They must first estimate how many goldfish crackers each bowl will hold, write the number on the bowl and then test their estimation. They write the correct amount of goldfish crackers the bowl held under the bowl. Then they can eat the crackers.

 

Students are given a Ziploc bag with a mixed number of red, green, purple and orange fish cards. First they must sort the fish. Next they have to count the fish in each group. Finally they record their results on a graph.