The Reading Unit of study is Neighborhood helpers. I like to use the reading theme through out the day and incorporate it into other content areas. Today we will be combining our social studies and writing to learn about the Mail Carrier. This is our fourth lesson about neighborhood helpers for my students to learn about the careers in our neighborhood and write an informative paper.
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 the Mail Carrier. We learned that a career is a job that someone does. I want to see how much you know about the job of a Mail Carrier. Lets begin a bubble map with the Mail Carrier in the center. I love to use a bubble map to document all our thoughts and ideas about the Mail Carrier. The bubble map is a great visual organizer for us to use as a reference when it is time to write. It is also a great tool to use when having a class discussion. I will draw name sticks so my friends can name some things that the Mail Carrier does. I will write all your answers on the bubble map."
I call on students for things they think a Mail Carrier 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 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 turn it around and prompt them so they can say something I can write on the bubble map. 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 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 Mail Carrier 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 Mail Carrier map."
"The title of the book is A Day with a Mail Carrier. 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 mail carrier do when we see him in our neighborhood.
"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."
After reading the story and filling out the bubble map during our class discussion, we are ready to write about the Mail Carrier.
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 Mail Carrier. The students job will be to choose something from the bubble map to write on the line.
"You can use this sentence frame for your first sentence, The Mail Carrier _______________. 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."
We came up with the sentences; The Mail Carrier is nice. The Mail Carrier brings me letters. The Mail Carrier brings me presents. The Mail Carrier drives a van.
"Make up as many sentences that you can think of about the Mail Carrier. 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 read their sentences and show off their student writing. We applaud and cheer 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 an interview with a real mail carrier.