Where Am I?

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Students will be able to retell familiar stories including some key details.

Big Idea

Making a retell prompt helps students understand where they live.


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 ask the students, “Who can tell me some of the things you might find in your neighborhood?”

I use the fair sticks to select the order of the students because I want to give everyone a chance to respond to this question. ‘

Listening to the students responses gives me a chance to understand the neighborhoods my students live in and it also provides an opportunity for the students to hear that some neighborhoods are just like their own and some are uniquely different. We can compare and contrast neighborhoods and talk about the advantages of each one. I DO NOT bring up the disadvantages because I do not want students to feel bad about where they live. For example if a student lives close to the stores we discuss how easy it is for them to walk to the store to get what they need. If someone lives in a more rural area we discuss how nice it is to have space and be able to walk out in nature.

Once everyone has had a chance to share and be part of the conversation I introduce the book.  


45 minutes

“Today’s book is called Where is My Home? This book is written by Neil Chesanow. Does anyone recall the book we read called Me on the Map?”

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

“Good recall April; the story did start with a little girl in her room and then her house, her neighborhood, town state and country. Well the book we are going to read today starts off in a very similar way. What do I mean by similar?”

I select another student who has their hand raised.

“Well done Grace; similar does mean it is almost the same. The difference between the two stories will become clear as we read it.”

“Okay let’s go ahead and read our book.”


During reading I will review vocabulary words such as; neighborhood, county, town, rural, urban, etc, from previous books in this unit. There are also other familiar words to review from other units, such as; planet, solar system, galaxy, universe, etc. We will also discuss some new vocabulary words as they come up in context; words such as, region, continent, etc. 


After reading I open up a screen on the SMARTBoard and ask the students, “Can anyone tell me where this story started?”

I select a student to respond.

“That’s right Ava; the story started off with the little boy in his room (I write the students response on the screen as I speak). Where did we go next?”

I continue with this line of questioning until all of the locations have been covered and we have made a great story order retell chart.

As I sit back down I ask the students to take a seat around the edge of the rug.

“Today we are going to make a tool which will help us remember where we live (I hold up a sample for the students to see).

Template Directions

“As you can see a brad holds all of the circles together and as I roll one circle up I can see and read the next circle. Each circle is labeled at the bottom so I can see all of the places in steps. What does the first circle say?”

I allow the students to call out the answer, “My home!”

“Great. What does the next circle say (As I say this I roll up the first circle so the students can see the picture clue)?”

The students call out, “My neighborhood!”

I repeat this process until all of the circles have been read. As you can see from the sample the circles only go up to “My country.” The reason for this is because the tool would become to big and at this stage I really want the students to be clear with the basics.

“You all did a great job reading those labels to me. At this work station you will find different sized circles all of different colors. Your first job will be to collect one circle from each pile. Then you will need to line all of the holes up together. Once you have the holes lined up put a brad through the hole and open it up on the back (As I talk the students through the process I model it before them – this helps my more visual learners).”

“Now that I have all my circles securely connected I will write my name on the back of the last circle – the biggest one (Once again I model this part).”


 “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 go have some map key making 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 retell tool     Student putting circles in order     Student checking order of circles


Retellings are tasks in which children read, or are read to and then retell a text. To retell, children need to recall everything they can remember about the story or informational text either orally or in writing. Retellings reflect children’s understanding of text; but of course, retellings can also reflect children’s memory and their level of spoken or written competence. I can use retellings to assess children’s recall of the literal facts of a story or non-fiction reading which can be used as a measure of comprehension. I ask myself, “Did the child just include the major literary elements of the story in the expected order?” Or maybe, “Did the child recall the main ideas and also give supporting details used by the author?” The answers to these questions can tell me a lot about the type of reader the child is.


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.

Student reading his story retell tool

Once all of the students are seated on their spots on the rug I tell them, “Your exit ticket for today is to tell me a feature I would find on a map. Because there are only a limited number of features there maybe some repeated answers today and that’s okay.”

I use the fair sticks to select the order in which the students will go.

Once the student has told me a feature that can be found on a map, they are free to go and use the hand sanitizer and go to get their snack.

If the student is unable to give me a response they can do one of two things. They can:

  1. Ask a friend for help.
  2. Wait until everyone is gone and we will come up with an answer together.


Using this easy formative assessment tool gives me an opportunity to see if a student can quickly recall one feature from the story or the activity. The students have all just worked on symbols and used map features so it should not be difficult for the students to respond to this request. However, if a student does have a hard time coming up with a response I will take note because I need to find out if the student had difficulty because he/she has trouble holding information or if the student was not paying attention to either the story or the activity. Knowing the answer to this question will determine how I handle the situation. 


For this activity I use the Where Do I Live? Retell Checklist to go over the student’s work. The checklist serves two purposes. First, the checklist helps me stay focused on what I am looking for in the student’s work which shows me whether the student has met the objectives set for the assignment. If the student does not meet the objectives then I know I need to re-teach the lesson in a different way to the student during a small group session or one-on-one.

Secondly the checklist helps convey information to the student’s family about how well their child is doing in the classroom.

The student may also go over the checklist to see where they did well and see what areas they could improve on.

Once the checklist is complete I can attach it to the students work and place it in his/her collection portfolio.   


Make a continent map and color it. This helps students understand there are seven continents and which continent they live in. 

Students working on their continent map      Student preparing to color continents