The Lorax - Day One

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Objective

SWBAT answer questions and retell key details about the story and explore the cause and effect relationships that occur.

Big Idea

In today's lesson we not only work on comprehension skills, but we make social studies connections as well.

Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

In the last three lessons leading up to today, we really built a great deal of background knowledge.  Students now understand that clean water is essential; they know that the Amazon Rain Forest plays an essential role in the world's oxygen production; and they understand the power they have in taking care of the Earth. Today we will continue to practice essential reading comprehension skills and make those social studies connections, as they see can see how one person can cause incredible damage to the environment in this classic literary work: The Lorax.

Today's lesson will focus on answering questions about the text, sequencing the events with the Once-ler's business, and exploring many cause and effect relationships in the story.  I did this unit in the last week of school, and I wanted to review the different comprehension skills we had worked on throughout the year.  Students will have a  reading response packet and have to justify their answers by using evidence.  The first two parts of the lesson are guided.  I wanted to support students a bit in the early parts of the lesson - just to refresh the student's memories of the skills we have already covered this year.  All of these activities address standards RL1.1, RL1.2, and RL1.3. 

For today's lesson you will need Dr. Seuss' book "The Lorax."  You'll also need either the Smartboard Helping Our Earth.notebook or Activboard Helping Our Earth.flipchart lesson.  You'll also want to make enough student response packets Student Work Packet - The Lorax.pdf for each student in your class.

Retelling the Major Events With the Once-ler - Guided Practice

10 minutes

I partnered my students up and they were sitting at their tables.  I said, "We have been learning about the important parts of the environment and how to take care of it.  Today we are going to see what happens if you make bad choices and don't care about the environment.  Let's get started."

I read the first page.  Then I turned to slide 20 on the Smartboard lesson.  I said, "The event is that you won't see the Once-ler.  What is the cause of that?"  I gave partners time to discuss why the Once-ler wasn't seen, and then we had a class discussion about this.  Then we recorded the cause in the multi-flow map at the top of page 1 on the student response packet.

After that I reread part of the first page again.  I said, "What does the Once-ler do on special dank nights in August?"  Knowing how important oral language is in the success of reading development, we again had our partner and class discussions.  After discussing, we read the question together at the bottom of page 1 on the student response packet and then I gave students time to answer the question.

I continued reading until the part where the Once-ler sends the whisper-ma-phone down to the little boy.  After reading I turned to slide 22 on the Smartboard lesson.  I said, "The event is that you pay the Once-ler.  What is the effect of that?"  We had partner and class discussions and then we recorded our answer in the multi-flow map at the top of page 2 in the student response packet. 

Then I turned to 23 on the Smartboard lesson and said, "The event is that the Once-ler sends down the whisper-ma-phone to you.  What is the effect of that?"  Again, we had partner and class discussions and then the students recorded their answers on their multi-flow maps at the bottom of page 2 on the student response packets.  You can see pieces of this sequence of events in this section of the lesson by watching the video here Major Events With the Once-ler.mp4.

Describing and Writing About the Habitat - Guided Practice

10 minutes

I continued reading.  I read the parts of the story where the Once-ler describes how the place looked long ago and what animals made their home in that place.  After reading this portion of the story I stopped and turned to slide 24 on the Smartboard lesson.  I said, "The question on this page says, 'How did the Once-ler describe what the place looked like long ago?'"  I gave partners time to discuss this and then we had a class discussion.  Once the students were in agreement, they answered the question at the top of page 3 on their packet. 

Then I turned to slide 25 on the Smartboard lesson.  I said, "The question here says, What animals made their home in the place that the Once-ler is describing?"  We went through the same process with both partner and class discussion.  Once the students came to an agreement about what the answer was, they answered the question at the bottom of page 3 on their packets.  You can see portions of this part of the lesson by watching this video: Describing and Writing About the Habitat - The Lorax Day One.mp4.

Cause and Effect With the Once-ler - Independent Practice

10 minutes

I continued to read up until the part where the Once-ler cut down the Truffula tree and knitted a thneed.  I turned to slide 26 on the Smartboard lesson.  I said, "The event is The Once-ler sees the beautiful Truffula trees.  What is the effect of that?"  After partner and group discussion the students recorded the effect at the top of page 4 on their packets.

I turned to slide 27 and said, "The event is the Once-ler chopped down a Truffula tree and knitted a thneed.  What it the effect of that?" Since we had already discussed the first few pages as a class, I wanted the students to do this independently so that I could see what they knew about cause and effect relationships on their own.  You can see my students giving those amazing answers here in the video: Cause and Effect With the Once-ler - Day One The Lorax.mp4

Next I wanted students to form an opinion.  We went to page 5 on the packet and read the question together.  I said, "The question says The Once-ler tells the Lorax that he’s doing no harm by cutting down the Truffula tree and making a Thneed. Do you agree or disagree?  Explain your thinking.  You need to form an opinion so you need to use that clue vocabulary that we know how to use to show the reader you are showing your opinion."

Sequencing the Events With the Once-lers Business - Independent Practice

10 minutes

The next part of our lesson was the sequence the major events that happened as the Once-ler was creating his business.  I read this portion of the text and then turned to slide 29.  I said, "Now we are going to sequence the events and talk about the things the Once-ler did as he was creating his business."  I broke this part of the lesson up into manageable chunks for the students.  The flow of the lesson went like this:

  • I asked, "What happened first after the Lorax said "I speak for the trees!""  Then students recorded this in the first box at the bottom of page 5 in their graphic organizer.
  • I asked, "What happened next?"  Then students recorded their answers in the next box on their graphic organizer at the bottom of page 5 in their packets.
  • I asked, "What happened last?"  Then students recorded their answers in the last box on their graphic organizer at the bottom of page 5 in their packets.

Then I said, "Turn to the top of page 6 in your packet.  It says, 'Explain what the Once-ler did with his business after the Lorax repeated that he spoke for the trees. Make sure to include temporal words.'  The whole reason why we just wrote all that information in the graphic organizer was for you to organize your thinking.  The graphic organizer also has your temporal words.  The question says make sure to use temporal words so don't forget to use them.  Use that graphic organizer as a tool to help you when answering this question. Go."  You can get a really good idea how this portion of the lesson went by watching the video: Sequencing the Events With the Once-lers Business - Day One The Lorax.mp4.

The Effects of the Once-ler Ruining the Habitat - Independent Practice

10 minutes

We had two more cause and effect relationships to look at for today.  I read to the part where the Lorax sent the Bar-ba-loots away to find a better habitat.  I turned to slide 30 and said, "The event is The Once-ler and his family were chopping down too many Truffula trees. What is the effect of that?"  The students recorded their information on their multi-flow map at the top of 7 in their packet.  Then we read the question at the bottom of the page.  I said, "Again, the whole reason why we recorded our information on the multi-flow map was to organizer your thinking.  Use your multi-flow map as a tool as you answer this question."

Then I turned to slide 31 on the Smartboard lesson.  I said, "The event is The Lorax sent
the Bar-ba-loots away to find a better habitat. What is the effect of that?"  Students recorded their information on their multi-flow maps on page 8 and then used the information from their multi-flow maps to answer the question at the bottom of page 8.  You can get a better understanding of this part of the lesson by watching this: The Effects of the Once-ler Ruining the Environment - Day One the Lorax.mp4.

Our Closure

5 minutes

My students love to do koosh ball closures.  All I'm doing for our closure is asking questions and recapping what we learned in the lesson, but, when you add a koosh ball into the mix, it makes the closure so much more exciting.  I asked questions about the characters, about the animals that made their home in the habitat, and about some of our cause and effect relationships.  You can ask absolutely anything that you want to go back and highlight from the lesson.  I have the koosh ball to start with and ask a question.  I throw the ball to a volunteer.  Then whoever has the ball can throw it to the next person when I ask the next question.  You can see a portion of our koosh ball closure here: Our Closure - Day One The Lorax.mp4.