Students will watch a reading of Tillie and the Wall.
My students have already been exposed to this text as a read aloud within a unit that was taught earlier in the year, so they enjoy having it presented in video form! They feel like they are watching a movie! I also like presenting the story via a different media because it challenges the kids to apply those listening skills that are so important!
I say: I want you to watch this reading of Tillie and the Wall to refresh your memory of the story. Remember, this is written by the same author who wrote Swimmy, Leo Lionni.
Double Bubble Thinking Map
I give students the double bubble map and I have one on the document camera. I remind students that everything on the LEFT describes Tillie and the Wall and everything on the RIGHT describes Swimmy. We trace all of the circles and lines touching the bubbles and title on the left yellow and all of the lines touching the title and the bubbles on the right BLUE. I say: Blue is going to be Swimmy’s color and yellow is going to be Tillie ’s color. The circles in the middle we are going to leave WHITE because they go with both of the stories.
We first discuss the main characters. I ask: Who is the main character of each story? (Tillie, Swimmy) Are they they same or different? (different) Ok, so we are going to write those characters on the side that they go with. I ask: Who is the main character of Tillie and the Wall? (Tillie, a mouse) We write that in our first circle. I then point to the circle on the upper right side and ask: Who is the main character of Swimmy: (Swimmy, a fish) We write that in the first circle on the Swimmy side.
We discuss the settings next. I ask: What is the setting of Tillie? (outside) What is the setting of Swimmy? (ocean) Are they they same or different settings? (different) Ok, so let’s write those settings on each side. We write ‘outside’ in the middle circle on the left and ‘ocean’ in the middle circle on the right side.
I follow the same procedure for the problems for each story.
We then discuss the similarities for each story. If students cannot come up with similarities, I may prompt them. I try to use general prompts to challenge the kids to think. For example, I might ask: How are Tillie and Swimmy alike? How are their friends alike? We fill in two middle circles, but if students have more ideas for similarities, I add more circles.
Here is a sample of a complete double bubble map!
Write Off the Map
Students will write about their favorite story by Leo Lionni.
I prompt: Think about the two stories we’ve read by Leo Lionni. Think about what we just talked about in our double bubble about each of the stories. I display the books Swimmy and Tillie and the Wall. I continue: Think about which one is your favorite. Which one do you like the best? I also want you to think about WHY you like that story the best. If you like Swimmy, think about why you like that story. If you like Tillie and the Wall, think about what you like that story?
I then think aloud: I think I like Tillie and the Wall the best because it reminds me to never give up. Sometimes after I’ve tried to do something a few times and failed, I want to quit. But Tillie didn’t. I think about Tillie every time I want to give up, so that makes this story a favorite of mine. I think about Tillie’s problem and how she tried and tried again. I refer back to the double bubble where we recorded the problem of the story and encourage students to use this double bubble as a reference to get ideas from.
I think aloud so that students can hear how I support my opinion with specific details about and from the text. Using textual evidence is a large piece of Common Core across the grade levels, so it is important that we start teaching and modeling that in the early primary grades!
I say: Think—don’t tell me, think—think about your favorite and why it is your favorite. I give the students wait time to gather their thoughts. Turn and talk with a partner. Tell your partner 1. Your favorite Leo Lionni story and 2. Why you like it. Remember to take turns. First person A shares an then person B shares.
As students are conversing, I am monitoring and prompting, where necessary. After a minute or two minutes of sharing in partners/groups, I ask for volunteers to share their favorite. I have them share out so that everyone hears what they expectations are. It also allows me to offer corrective feedback before the students begin writing.
I preview task by saying: Today we are going to write about our favorite Leo Lionni book.
I model the writing next with the whole group. As I am writing, I think aloud.
I say: What do we put first on our paper? (name and date) I write my name and date. Do I go ‘down’ or ‘around and down’ to begin writing? (around and down) I reinforce the use of return sweep in both reading and writing all year long.
I continue: I liked Tillie and the Wall. How can I say that in a fancier way? How can I say it using first grade words? (this lesson is done toward the end of the year, so I stress ‘first grade behavior’ ) I take suggestions and use them if appropriate.
I also think aloud: My first sentence should tell you which one is my favorite, so I am going to write “My favorite Leo Lionni book is Tillie and the Wall. “ As I am writing, I encourage kids to help me spell the words by stretching them aloud and kids tell me the letters to write for those sounds. I also stress the use of spaces between words, capitals and end marks.
I continue: My second sentence should tell you WHY I like that story the best. I am going to write “I like this book because it helps me to remember to never give up, even when my ideas are not working.” As I am writing, I encourage kids to help me spell the words by stretching them aloud and kids tell me the letters to write for those sounds. I also stress the use of spaces between words, capitals and end marks. I also am careful about my word choice. I try to use words that kids can help me sound out as well as sight words that are part of our curriculum.
When I finish my writing, we read it together as a group. I then illustrate my sentences.
Before I release students, I clarify questions they may have and review their task one more time. I also like to leave the books displayed so the kids can look at them and visualize each story to make the best choice for their favorite! I also write Leo Lionni’s name on the white board so the students can spell it correctly.