I will begin my lesson by talking about the police and their police dogs. I hope to hook my students' attention through this beginning dialogue. It is through discussions that I come to understand what back ground knowledge my students have on a particular subject. Then I can front load any information that I think they might need prior to my lesson.
I gather my students on the carpet for Whole Group Reading Block.
"Last night I saw an interesting program about police dogs and all the things they can do. Do you know anything about the police dogs? Have you seen one? I saw one once, it was wearing a vest. He looked pretty mean."
I give all my students the opportunity to say something about what they know about the police dogs. My ELL students want so badly to join in the conversation that they often times just repeat what someone else has said. I play along and thank them for telling us about it. I hate to take away an opportunity for them to speak, especially when they want to.
"I found this video of a police dog at a demonstration of the dogs ability to catch a criminal. A demonstration is where all the police are practicing, it is all make believe. They want to see if the dog can do the job. Just like we practice with our fire drills. It is only practice. Let's watch the video, it is so cool, there is a helicopter and a big vehicle with all the police in their protective gear on. They even have their big guns."
Showing this video helps front load information about shoemaking that my students may not know about. We live in a world where my students think milk comes from the store. They are disgusted to think milk comes from a cow. I wonder if they feel the same way about shoes? Each pair of shoes has a history. My students only see the end product on the shelf at the store. I thought this video might help them understand how police dogs work with the police.
"That dog was brave to ride on the outside of the helicopter. Then he ran and got the pretend bad guy. I have a book about a police officer and his dog named Gloria. Officer Buckle's job is to teach people how to be safe. Gloria goes with him every where."
My lesson is aligned to the Common Core Standards of engaging my students in conversation about story events and details. We will use a First/next/then/last template to order the events and produce a story retell. I am hoping my intro with the video excites them enough to keep their interest through out the lesson.
"All my friends are sitting down on their carpet squares ready to hear the story. The story today is called "Officer Buckle and Gloria". Gloria is the name of the dog. You have to watch carefully to see what Gloria does. She is so funny."
I begin to read the story. I stop to ask questions to keep my students focused and to determine story comprehension.
"Who knows what a Safety Tip is? It is like a rule to help you be safe. What was Officer Buckle doing that he should not be doing? Standing on a rolling chair. That's right."
"When Officer Buckle went to talk to the school children, why didn't they listen? Oh, good, yes he was boring. That means he wasn't saying or doing anything the children liked."
"When Officer Buckle took Gloria to the schools with him, what did the children do? Yes, they laughed and cheered."
"The children wrote to officer Buckle, who did they like, Officer Buckle or Gloria?"
"Oh, no. Officer Buckle is watching himself on the television. What is he going to see? When he sees what is happening, do you think he will be happy or sad? Let's read and find out."
"He was sad. Did he go talk to the schools about safety tips? Who went to the schools? Yes, Gloria went."
"What happened when Officer Buckle didn't remind people to be safe?"
"What happened in the end?"
"That was a fun story. Let's use our template to retell the story. We have to remember the important parts and write the sentences. Why don't you turn to your partner and tell your partner what happened first in the story. Remember to start your sentence with First."
I watch to see that all students are participating in the partner talk. Then using my name sticks I call on student to give me the answer to fill in the template. We continue the partner work with Next, Then and Last. The students help me generate sentences for each part and give suggestions of what should be in the pictures. I draw a template on the board and fill out the information as my students give it to me.
"We have filled out our template. Let's read the sentences together to see if it makes sense."
We chorally read the sentences. I demonstrate the writing under the document camera showing my students that I am taking the information from the template on the board. Modeling the writing process on the same paper as my students will use is important so they can see exactly what they are suppose to do. My ELL students need multiple exposures to the instructions so they are not confused.
I call my students to their tables one row at a time. I then ask my class paper passers to pass out the writing paper to each seat. I walk around helping and prompting my students with their writing. As they finish I have them sit quietly on the carpet reading library books until everyone is finished.
When everyone is finished with their templates we clean up the books and sit on our squares. We begin our oral presentations by standing in front of the class in small groups. My ELL students felt vulnerable and shy when they stood up beside me to read. I found out by accident that my students prefer standing up with a small group of friends when they read their work So now I call them up a row at a time, or all girls, or all boys. Each students is given the opportunity to orally present their template. We cheer and applaud after each reading.
I love to show a video of the book or a reading to help re-enforce the vocabulary, story comprehension and the love of listening to a story. I show videos at the end of the day when chairs are stacked, backpacks are on we are waiting for dismissal. Here is the Officer Buckle and Gloria video.