As the children gather on the rug for story time, I will tie a bandana around my neck, slip on my cowboy boots and hat and then join them. Hopefully, the students will ask why I am dressed this way. (The problem arises when as the teacher you frequently dress-up and the children grow accustom to the costumes.)
Hey thar, y'all! Round yourselves up and join me on our classroom rug. Well, howdy! what do you mean I'm dressed up funny? My outfit is perfect for the story that I am going to be reading to you today. This book has characters in it that are dressed as I am. What do you think about the type of clothing I am wearing? Where do people dress like this most frequently?(I expect to hear a variety of answers: horse shows, rodeos, circus, parades, out West, etc.) Let's listen to this story to see and to pay particular attention to the details in the book's illustrations to help us figure out the location.
Check out the cover of this book, The Gingerbread Cowboy, and look carefully at the details. Remember as I am reading, you are trying to figure out where this story takes place.
Again, I show the students the cover of the book, The Gingerbread Cowboy and if time allows, I like to read the book through a second time. The first time reading is for the pure enjoyment of the story; the second time I read is so that the children are beginning to look for key details and to gather information.
Now that we have heard the story a second time, I want you to think about all the details.On the board, I will make a list of the details that our class can recall from the book. As we review those details, I am going to ask for suggestions about where the story takes place. When we talk about where a story happens, we are talking about the setting. Let me write the word setting at the top of the board. When we write stories and draw pictures with many details in the setting, the reader can better understand what we are trying to say. I will write the Setting Words on the board as well.
I also have posted this Gingerbread Cowboy map. We are going to use this poster to retell the story of the Gingerbread Cowboy. By reviewing the story, it will help you to remember details to add to your own stories about the Gingerbread Cowboy. Who can remember some of the main characters? Let's write them on this arm. What were some of the types of animals that chased him? We will put them on this arm. What were some of the events that led up to the end of the story? (I then read the information from the chart back to the students to keep the ideas fresh in their brains.)
It is time for you to write your own stories of the Gingerbread Cowboy. Each of you will be given a copy of the Gingerbread Cowboy outline to decorate with the key things that you remember about the setting. You will need to add many details to your pictures. After that, you will cut out the cowboy and write a few words about the story on the back of the paper.
Because we are focusing on the setting, I expect to see western scenes. While writing later on in their journals, it is perfectly acceptable for the children to draw other locations for their cowboys. The key is for them to begin to add details to their drawings to complete the settings for their stories.
Boys and girls, each of you is invited to share your story with the class. I will be looking for detailed drawings, beginning writing, and that each of you can explain their pictures. You will get reward for hard word and best efforts. After you share your story, I will give you a "belt buckle" for being a "World Champion Reader". (This is from Janet Squires', author of The Gingerbread Cowboy, website.) You will make Western belts from sentence strips and the buckle to show the school that you are a "World Champion Reader".