Today's lesson will follow the CCSS for engaging my students in a class discussion about story details. We will then write about the story events. I will attempt to begin my lesson by engaging them in a discussion about spending time at their Grandparents house. I am hoping to connect their positive experiences to the story. If they have good experiences from spending time at their Grandparent's homes, then they will understand the fun the little girl in story has. There are lots of memories in this story, I hope my students have happy memories to share.
"When I was little I went to my Grandmother's house. She was so cute. She was short and had white hair. My Grandfather was tall and big. I loved playing with the toys at their house. My Grandfather always had donuts in the cookie jar. YUM! How many of you have spent time at your Grandparent's house? Wow, lots of you have. I want to hear about the fun you had at their house. Then we will read a story about a little girl and the fun things they do at her Grandparents house."
Every one of my students waves their hand. So, we go up and down every row and I let each student have the opportunity to speak. It is important for my ELL students to have many opportunities throughout the school day to speak English. Most of my students do not speak English at home. Mondays and holidays are difficult for these students to come back to class. They have to switch gears with their ELA skills. Mondays are always difficult for my students. Having time to talk about our experiences is a good warm up for the lesson and for their English skills.
"You have all had fun times at your Grandparent's house's. I am so happy for you. Now I will read to you the story about the little girl."
I am hoping my discussion got them exited to listen to the story. From their experiences, they all have wonderful memories from visiting their Grandparents.
"The book I am going to read to you today is titled The Hello, GoodBye Window. It is a story about a little girl that stays with her Nona and Poppy during the day while her parents go to work. There is a window by the back door that she likes to look out of. Let's see why they call it the Hello, Goodbye Window."
I read the story and we stop to discuss the picture details on each page. I explain the word reflection. They have a hard time with this. I tell them to look out their window tonight and tell me tomorrow what they see.
When the story is over I draw a bubble map all the things from the story about the window. I have to turn the book page by page to prompt them. It is good for me to show them that we can go back in the text to find the answer. This is an important skill for my students to learn. In the upper grades they will have to read a passage and go back through the text to find the answer to questions about the text.
"Let's make a bubble map of all the things we can think of about the window. My middle bubble will have the title in it. The Hello, Goodbye Window. Let's go up and down the rows and see what you remember. I will turn the pages and help you remember the details."
After I write down all their answers, we chorally read the bubbles.
"Let's write some sentences from the bubble map. Hmmm, what can we write about this bubble? It says 'see everything'. I need help thinking of a sentence. What can I say about 'see everything'?"
My students help me brainstorm a sentence for every bubble. I do little prompting. I think making connections to their experiences with their Grandparents helped with them understanding the details of this story. I act only as facilitator for this part of the lesson. I really want these to be a bank of sentences that they can draw from.
We chorally read all the student generated sentences. I dismiss my students one row at a time to go to their tables. Sending them one row at a time gives me more control over the kaos that can happen during transitions. I have class helpers that pass out the writing paper to each seat. I love using class helpers. I rotate my helpers every day. Everyone has a job. I find this helps them with learning responsibility and building a sense of community.
"I would like you to write three sentences. If you can, you can write more. I will give everyone one gummy bear for each full sentence you write."
I walk around and help my lower students. I highlight the sentence for one student who forgot his glasses. I love to watch them work they are so focused. Of course, the bribe didn't hurt their focus.
I collect the writing papers as they finish. My students sit on the carpet quietly and read library books. I don't want to rush my slower students. Sometimes they are not slow, they draw and color very detailed pictures. I like them to not be rushed so they can finish and feel the satisfaction of doing how they want to. Even though this is a structured activity, there has to be some amount of creativity.
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 a 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 their writing with their friends are around them. Each students get the opportunity to read their writing and show off their drawings. 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. I liked this video because it tells who the author and illustrator are and shows their picture. I was able to have a quick review on what the author and illustrators do. Here is the reading of The Hello, Goodbye Window.