I chose the twist on this classic story because the themes and characters repeat throughout literature. My kids need to know the classics and how those plot lines and ideas are part of literature's rich history. Many of my kids knew the traditional version of this story, but loved this comparison. The vocabulary and 'slang' cowboy language are more difficult so I read it aloud to the kids. My goal here is inferring - I want the kids to make conclusions about what they see and read and support their inferences.
This is the second in the series of inference lessons where I compare this fable. The other 2 lessons include Ouch There's a Pea Under My Mattress and Ouch What Is That Pea Thinking? These lessons all address how to infer with scaffolding skills of using an inference starter and leading toward more independence in this lesson. We are looking at 3 versions of this fable from different cultural standpoints. Our goal is to use inferencing and also compare and contrast these versions, looking at author's and cultural viewpoint. I want the students to see how different countries and authors in different time periods looked at this classic theme and presented the characters in different ways. (RL.2.9)
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)
Common starting point
Take a few moments to review or discuss inferencing. My students have had three lessons about this topic, but this is the beginning of a unit that will go in depth about the reading strategy. It's important that kids understand the developing inferences requires schema and evidence from the text. (RL.2.1) In this lesson, we'll go beyond the inference in the parts of the story to identify a theme as well. (RL.2.2)
Give the purpose of the lesson - continue the powerpoint
Introduce strategy - teacher models
Practice strategy - guided practice
Taking time to prompt students to tell what they know and how they know it allows them to use metacognitive skills. They are models for others to demonstrate the true Common Core skills. The standards strive to elevate student learning to not only inference, but tell how they came to that inference. Using these fables is a great way to do this. They have a strong theme and message and allow kids to compare the characters, plot and setting. (RL.2.2)
Discuss the theme
This theme discussion is still difficult for my students . They tend to be too literal - the cowgirl wanted a real cowboy - and not step back to see what the author is trying to teach us. I still find myself prompting a lot for this lesson, but I know they need practice and support to become more independent at determining theme.
Put It All Together
Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.
Students with language challenges may find this a difficult task because we are going beyond the text. Of all the reading strategies, I find this the hardest for my kids. They are asked to 'read between the lines' and then verbalize their inferences. They offer predictions or stay very literal (I see a cowboy), but need support with a true inference. They worked with partners and I provided help with spelling by writing the words on the board.
Those with more academic ability should be able to really demonstrate some good language with inference. They will hopefully make some good statements and provide clear evidence in their statements with some higher level vocabulary. I would 'raise the bar' with them and share your expectations. "I'll be walking around listening to ideas about your inferences. Some of you can use the 'cowboy vocabulary' in your inferences. Make sure there is evidence in your inferences - "I imagine that she is sad because her dad died. The text said 'he was passing on'."