Lesson 6. Emperor Penguins, All for One, and One for All
Lesson 6 of 7
Objective: Use close reading to make connections between teamwork and emperor penguin survival.
As a warm up, I asked my students, "What could I learn about teamwork from watching this clip?" This opened a discussion that led us to the close reading for this lesson.
I love using Newsela.com as a free resource. The articles are based on current events and my students really enjoy discussing and reading them. As the cornerstone of this lesson, I used the article, " Father penguins' fancy footwork keeps eggs warm, study says". I used the article cross curricularly, as both Science and Language Arts. In Science the guiding question was, " How do male penguins work as a group to help eggs survive?" and in Language Arts, "What is the main idea of this article?". Teaching main idea is never easy, however, I used close reading as a way to help my students accomplish this task. I use three steps, first, I created Close Reading 1st Read, where we read the article whole class, and they read silently. Then they find two new facts they learned and if there were any facts they already knew, they note those down as well. This ensures that they are noticing the academic content in this informational article.
The second time they read, they were reading with a partner. I created , Close Reading 2nd Read, in which the main focus of the activity is for the students to chose only one sentence that describes what the problem is,then one sentence why the problem occurs or why it is a problem. Then, finally, what the solution to the problem is, again using just one sentence. When the students reach the final read, I created Close Reading 3rd Read determining Main Idea, in which they take the three sentences, put them together and voila, you have the main idea of the article, including the supporting details!
Class Discussion/Wrap Up
This process takes time, and a lot of scaffolding, but eventually, students get the process and are much more successful at finding the main idea. I have tried many different methods, but for my students, this seems to be the easiest and most effective way. The students were able to answer the question,"What could you learn about teamwork from reading this article on male penguins?" and I believe it was because of the close read and finding the main idea.