All of the sources in the lesson are from the internet. I chose to use these, instead of a book, because I wanted the students to get a true feel for Native American lore (literature) vs informational text. I felt that it would be interesting to get the unique point of view of a Native American storyteller and a scientist. The kids really enjoyed seeing these two unique perspectives.
In this lesson, some of the websites and my discussion use an older term for Native Americans - 'Indians'. I apologize for using this term and continue to reinforce to the students that we need to be sensitive to the new terminology and strive to use 'Native American' instead.
Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics. The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary. My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words)
Bring students to a common learning point
I chose the clouds and rainbows questions because the students had just finished a weather unit. They were able to connect prior knowledge and were able to answer those questions based on what they just learned. This gave them the idea that scientific questions can be answered. They had ideas about the rabbit and bark, but were not sure. It was a great ‘segway’ into reading informational text to find answers to scientific questions.
Model and Discuss
Use the sample story
Students are comparing and contrasting the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic. (RI.2.9) They are analyzing how two texts address a similar topic in order to build knowledge and, most importantly, compare the authors' purpose. This comparison of types of text (literature vs informational) on a single topic, allows students to truly examine evidence and author's intent, part of the shift in Common Core standards toward 'close reading' and examination of the tone of the story.
Explain the task
Students compare and contrast
**I picked this story specifically because you can feel the tone and author’s message through the retelling. My students REALLY loved this video of the Native American storyteller. They wanted to hear more stories, which led to a great discussion in Social Studies class about Native American storytellers.
Discuss and share
Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be easily scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.
For students with academic challenges, it was great to have the stories read to them and the video. They did need help with the comparison of stories. I used a whiteboard to give them prompts for the organizer.
For students of greater ability, it would be great to have some detailed comparisons written. I would challenge them to write more than one word and use higher-level vocabulary, such as 'tradition' or 'legend'. I used them when reading the story, but did not write them on the board, but they should be familiar words to some students.