Magic Tree House Ancient Greece Dynamic Duo: Day 1 Let the Pair Begin!

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SWBAT read informational text, identify the main idea, and two supporting detail quotes from the text. SWBAT read fictional literature and write a summary including the most important events and character information to show their understanding of the story. SWBAT write complete sentences with correct capitalization, punctuation, and spelling of high-frequency words.

Big Idea

Students pair informational and fiction texts while reading and writing about ancient Greece

Welcome to My Lesson!

This series of lessons is part of a six week unit my school is implementing all about mythology and ancient Greece.  I call this week our "Dynamic Duo" week, explaining to students we get the best of both worlds, fiction and informational text.  We learn real facts about ancient Greece, and read a fictional story that takes us back to the time of ancient Greece and the Olympics.  Our shared reading texts for this week are Mary Pope Osborne's books Hour of the Olympics (fictional) and Ancient Greece and the Olympics (informational).

I was a little nervous about completing two chapter books in one week of ELA time, but my students did a great job!  We are in the home stretch of our school year, and with solid routines in place, students utilized some of their literacy centers time to finish any work from our shared reading that we didn't get to in our regular reading class.  

You'll notice some of our reading was done together as shared reading.  This provided time for scaffolding, instruction, and guided practice.  However, other chapters were read independently, allowing students to practice their skills.  The books are at the low-mid level of our Lexile band, which made me more comfortable having students complete more reading on their own.  The Common Core Standards emphasize that students should be completing as much of the reading on their own as possible.

Please watch the short video for a brief introduction to this week's lessons.  I hope you find this series of lessons and resources helpful with your class as you learn about mythology and journey through ancient Greece!  Thank you!

*Children reading clip art on lesson header from My Cute Graphics.  Thank you to this website for providing great clip art my students love!

Enrolling Activity

5 minutes

Introduce Our Week:  I explain to students that this is our "Dynamic Duo" week.  We get the best of both worlds, fiction and informational text.  We will learn facts about ancient Greece, and read a fictional story that takes us back in history to the time of ancient Greece.

Browse and Share:  To get students further excited about our week, I pass out both chapter books, have them browse, and share with one another what they already know about ancient Greece and the olympics.  Being that this was an olympic year, I hear a lot of conversations about the recent games.

Pass out materials: I pass out the Magic Tree House Dynamic Duo packet to students, asking them to put their name on the first page.  This packet has all of the pages we need for our shared reading time this week.  (See Resource File:  MTH Ancient Greece and the Olympics Dynamic Duo)


*If you choose to use the packet I created, please enlarge it onto bigger paper.  I noticed the students could use some more room for their responses.  Auto enlarging the packet onto 11 X 14 or 12 X 20 (then trim extra off end) paper would allow your students a bigger space for their written responses.


Lesson Part One: Informational Text Main Idea & Supporting Detail Quotes

20 minutes

Introduce Skills:  Each day, the students will begin with the informational book Ancient Greece and the Olympics.  We set the purpose of our reading, which is reading for information, to learn new schema.  The class and I read through the informational side of our "Dynamic Duo" anchor chart explaining our skills for this set of texts.  (We also have posters in our room related to the standards covered, which I've included copies as resources.).  The class has a discussion about what we already know about these skills, as they have been covered previously.  Now we know we're on the look-out for the main idea and supporting details as we're reading.  (See Resource Files:  Dynamic Duo Anchor Chart; CCSS Standards Posters RL/RI3.1, RI3.2) 

Read:  Being that today is the first day in this set of lessons, I'll be reading aloud the whole first chapter, "Ancient Greece" to the students.  They follow along in their copies of the book.  We discuss how the chapter title "Ancient Greece" gives us a strong hint of what this chapter is all about, or its main idea.  As I'm reading aloud, I remind students that using nonfiction text features, such as headings give us supporting details about the chapter.  I use quotes from the book as evidence as I read aloud.  As we encounter new, unfamiliar words we use our context clues, text features, and dictionaries to help us understand as needed.

While reading aloud, I have one student place their book under the document camera and follow along.  This is a reference in case anyone gets lost while we are reading.  Sometimes I choose a student who is sitting quietly, other times I use a randomizer on my SMART Board to pick for me!

Write:  After reading, we write a main idea sentence for chapter one together.  The students write it in their packet, and I add it to our anchor chart.  Then, we discuss the many supporting details of the chapter.  We choose two to add to the students' packets and our anchor chart.  This will provide a visual for the rest of the week.  (See Resource File:  Dynamic Due Anchor Chart with Examples - in the next section below)

Lesson Part Two: Fictional Text Summary Writing

20 minutes

Introduce Skills:  Next, we dig into our fictional selection, Hour of the Olympics.  We set our purpose for reading, to enjoy a fictional story, and to summarize the chapter when we're finished.  We read through the fiction side of the Dynamic Duo anchor chart, determining we'll have to pay close attention to the main events and characters in the chapter.  Also, we make predictions based on the title of the chapter, "Just One More".

Read:  I read aloud this chapter to students, similar to the informational text in part one of our lesson, except I use strategies for fictional reading and summary writing.  As I'm reading aloud, I stop and ask students if they think certain events are important and should be included in the summary.  Post-it notes work great for this type of activity.  Similar to when we read the informational book, we use context clues to define any new, unfamiliar words, or refer to a dictionary if any words stump us.

Write:  We write a summary for chapter one together.  We begin by brainstorming ideas of the most important events of the chapter on the front dry erase board.  After that, we draft a short paragraph summarizing the most important events and character information for chapter one.  The students copy the summary into their packet, and I put it on our Dynamic Duo Anchor Chart.  (See Resource File:  Dynamic Duo Anchor Chart with Examples)


Review and Celebrate

5 minutes

We review and celebrate our new learning for today by meeting on our back carpet area.

Review:   I ask students to share about the following topics:

Why is it important to identify the main idea while you're reading informational text?

How did you decide which supporting detail quotes to provide as evidence?

What predictions do you have about Hour of the Olympics for tomorrow's reading?

Celebrate:  I acknowledge some of the great things I saw students doing today - writing complete sentences, using quotation marks, etc., as we celebrate together with high 10's (similar to high fives, but both hands) all around.

Complete Chapter 2 in Informational and Fiction Books:  My students complete the reading and writing for chapter two in both books during their literacy centers time on their own.  Our books rotate to another classroom at the end of the week, so I have to keep moving!  If you have additional time, or your students need more instruction, you may want to continue the next day.  It took my students about 20-30 minutes of their literacy centers time to read both chapter 2 in each book, and complete the writing activities.  (See Resource File:  Student Sample Day One) 

Lesson Extras!

Here are some additional items I used throughout our unit on mythology and ancient Greece.    These items do not appear as lessons on the Better Lesson site, but I wanted to give them to you in case you are looking for additional ideas or resources to compliment your unit.  Thank you!

Mythological and Ancient Greece Bookmarks:  These are two bookmarks I created to go along with our unit for the students.  One is based on mythological beings, places, and creatures, and the other has real people, places, and things from ancient Greece.  Parent volunteers are a great resource to put things like this together for you!   (See Resource Files: Mythology and Ancient Greece Bookmarks and Photos of Front and Back View)

You Wouldn't Want to be a Greek Athlete!:  This was another shared text my students had completed during our six week unit about mythology and ancient Greece.  I used it along with lessons relating to main idea and supporting details.  (See Resource File:  Main Idea and Supporting Details Greek Athlete)

Fantasy Narrative Story Writing Graphic Organizer:  My students wrote and illustrated fantasy stories during this unit.  Here is the graphic organizer they used to brainstorm their ideas.  (See Resource File:  Fantasy Narrative Story Brainstorm Graphic Organizer)

Main Idea/Supporting Detail Quotes Center:  After we work on a skill during shared reading, I have my students practice it at their independent reading levels.  This is a main idea and supporting details activity that can be used with any text.  The students cut it out, glue the left side to a piece of notebook paper, and cut each section on the dotted lines (see photo).  The students utilize their literacy centers time to complete activities like this.  We also will use activities like these during our content area lessons, such as social studies.  You can compile your students' work into a class book if you'd like!  (See Resource Files:  Main Idea Quote Center Activity and Teacher Sample)