Swimmy Jewelry

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SWBAT answer text dependent questions, citing textual evidence in their answers. SWBAT use a retell bracelet to practice retelling the story.

Big Idea

Together we are better!

Prepare the Learner

10 minutes

This is lesson number three in a series of five.  Students have had two experiences with the text before this read and we continue to build vocabulary for understanding.  This is particularly important for my second language learners because the vocabulary gives them access to the story.  



Vocabulary Building

I show the kids the picture and vocabulary word midday.  I also write the word on a small white board or a piece of paper and underline each part of the word.  I say: There are two parts to this word,  “mid”  and “day.”  “Mid” is a short way to say “middle.”    Knowing that, what do you think midday  means?  We talk about that word being an indication of the middle of the day, usually around lunchtime.


Interact with text/concept

45 minutes

In order to build fluency with text features, I show the students the big book Teamwork and we look at the table of contents.  I ask: What does the table of contents show us? (what is in the book)  We find and read ‘Swimmy.’  I point to the page number and ask: What page is Swimmy on? (26) I remind students that this is the page number that the story begins on.  I ask for a volunteer to find that page, 26, in the big book.  I do this to reinforce the idea that we can find what we need in a book by looking at the page number. 


I ask for a volunteer to come up and point to the title.  I read it aloud as I run my finger under it.  I ask students to read the title.  I cue them by saying: I touch, you read.  Ready?   This is a common cue that I use all year long.  The kids know that they are to read what I am touching.  I do this to reinforce tracking, spaces between words and pacing. 


I point to and read the name of the author.  I ask: What is the job of the author? (write the words)


Text Dependent Questions

Read pp. 44-47   I ask: What did Swimmy want the little fish to do? (swim and play and see things) How do you know? (it says it in the text) What did they want to do? (hide from the tuna)  How do you know?  (it says it in the text)


Read pp. 48-51  I ask: How do you think the little fish feel now? (brave, strong, etc.) What makes them feel brave? (they are not alone, they are working together, they are big, not small)


Read pp. 52-53  I ask: What do the little fish do now that they didn’t do when they met Swimmy? (swim and play and see things)  What do the big fish do now that they didn’t do when the little fish swam by themselves? (leave the little fish alone, swim away from the little fish)


Common Core stresses text dependency and the idea of bouncing back to the text to strengthen understanding.   These questions prompt the students to do just that and show the kids that the text can be the pictures or the words.


I ask the students to think about the story Swimmy.  I say: Turn and talk to your partner about what the fish learned about being part of a team.  I give students time to talk and I monitor and assist where necessary.


I continue: Turn and talk with your partner about your favorite part of the story and your favorite illustration. 

I remind students to talk in complete sentences.  I model: For instance, don’t just say ‘tuna.”  Does that tell you anything if I look at you and say “tuna?”  (no)  But if I say, “My favorite illustration was the tuna fish swimming away from the little fish,” does that tell you anything? (yes, it tells us what illustration you liked)  I might even TELL YOU MORE, which is one of our talk moves, and say, “My favorite illustration was the tuna fish swimming away from the little fish because it showed that their teamwork idea worked!”

I model this type of dialogue and speaking completely because my second language learners tend to use minimal language because they are unsure of themselves.  However, we know that we know and master what we use, so I am always encouraging them to speak in complete sentences.

Extend Understanding

30 minutes

Retell bracelet 

We review the events from the story so that students are familiar with what each illustration represents.  I prompt for each illustration: What is happening in this story?  I confirm or add to student responses, where necessary, for clarification. 


Students cut out their retell bracelet.  I tape it around their wrist.  Working with a partner, they practice  retelling the story.   This is a fun way for the kids to practice retelling the story with picture prompts as support.  It also can be used as homework where they can retell the story to their parents!  Not only does it strengthen the home-school connection, but it gives the kids that important practice with the vocabulary of the story as well as the ordinal and transitional words we use to indicate sequence in a retell.


I prompt:  Do not forget to use your words that indicate sequence.  Does anyone remember what they are?  How to we tell a listener or reader about order? (first, second, third, next, last, after that, finally, etc.)


As students are retelling the story with partners, I monitor and prompt where necessary.  I find that my kids need the most encouragement to use the sequence trigger words, so I might ask: What number event is that one? (#3)  What is the sequence word we use for #3? (third)  What words do we use to indicate that the story is finished? (finally, lastly)