Our Unit of study for Reading has been Neighborhood Helpers. I am incorporating this theme into my social studies and writing block. Today is our third day to be learning about a specific career. We have many teachers that fill the roll of our school's Crossing Guard in the cross walks adjacent to our school. There are paid crossing guards on the larger streets a few blocks away from our school. We will go observe them and have them walk us across the street. After learning from the Crossing Guard all that she has to do and learn all the rules associated with being safe, my students will be able to write an informative text about the Crossing Guard.
I begin my lesson with my students seated on the carpet.
"We have been learning about our community helpers and today we will learn about the School Crossing Guard. We learned that a career is a job that someone does. Lets begin a bubble map with the Crossing Guard in the center. I will draw name sticks so my friends can name some things that the Crossing Guard does. I will write all your answers on the bubble map."
I call on students for things they think a Crossing Guard does at her job. I let every have an opportunity to orally participate in this discussion. When all the students have had a turn we stop and review all the bubbles on our bubble map.
I like to use Thinking Maps when conducting a discussion with my students. I give everyone the opportunity to orally speak their thoughts and ideas. By writing down their answer, validates what they have to say. If someone gives a "bad" answer, I will turn it around and prompt them so they can say something I can write on the Bubble Map. I love teaching them to take turns and listen to each other.
For my neighborhood helper readings I have chosen all nonfiction books. I am so glad the library has a variety of community helper books. I love to use nonfiction books when I am teaching my students about real things. I like the books to have kid friendly text and real pictures. After I teach my students about the career then I will read a book about a fictional character performing a real career.
"You have named many things that the Crossing Guard does for her career. Now I will read a nonfiction story to you. After I read it, we will come back to the bubble map and see if we can add more bubbles to the Crossing Guard map."
"The title of the book is Crossing Guards. I would like you to sit up straight with your ears warmed up for listening. Listen for things that we don't have on the bubble map as I read the story."
I read the book and point our picture details. We discuss things in the pictures that we have seen our Crossing Guard use or do when we cross the street.
"Did anyone hear or see anything in the book that I should add to the bubble map? Let's review the bubble map one more time before we write."
It was interesting to read the book about the Crossing Guard and to listen to the Crossing Guard tell us all the important safety rules. Not all my students walk home, so this was an important experience for them. It was great that when we were crossing the street a garbage truck stopped for us. My students were amazed at how big the truck was and how small we were. I think that helped them understand the seriousness of being safe when crossing the streets.
I model the writing activity using the document camera. By putting my writing on the smart board, all my students can see the writing from their seats. I have several students that wear classes when they remember to. So large bold print is important in my classroom. I made a writing paper that has the sentence frame; The crossing guard _________. The students job will be to choose something from the bubble map to write on the line. I use sentence frames to help my students with the new vocabulary (crossing guard). Giving my students a starting place for writing helps with sentence structure and knowing what we are writing about. If left on their own, my lower students would not know where to begin with a writing paper. Through the use of sentence frames I am front loading my students with different ways to write a sentence. With more practice using the sentence frames my students will become more proficient in sentence writing.
"Here is your sentence frame, The crossing guard _______________. Let's think about what we can write. I will call on a few students to help me with this sentence. If you can write more than one sentence, please write them."
We came up with the sentences; The crossing guard is nice. The crossing guard keeps me safe. The crossing guard has a sign. The crossing guard wears a vest.
"Make up as many sentences that you can think of about the crossing guard. Remember your spaces and periods. I will come around and help you with your papers.'
I dismiss my seated students from the carpet on row at a time to go to their tables. My class helpers pass out the papers to every seat. I love to use class helpers. My students gain confidence and feel an ownership in the class by performing these small responsibilities. I collect the writing papers as my students finish writing. I have my students read library books until everyone has finished.
When everyone is finished, we clean up the books and sit on the carpet ready to listen. I love this part of the lesson. It is like a miniature assessment that doesn't seem like an assessment. I will learn if my instruction was intentional enough for all my students to gain comprehension of the CCSS I used in planning the lesson. I will learn if they liked the subject. A detailed sentence and drawing indicate that they were interested and learned some information. I will learn if I need to change my instruction to encourage the students participation in the discussions. I will learn if I need to differenciate my expectations or give more instruction to my lower students.
When everyone is sitting on their squares, criss cross apple sauce, I call a row up at a time for the reading to begin. My ELL students seem to be braver and more willing to read when their friends are around them. Each students get the opportunity to read their read their sentences and show off their student writing. We applaud and cheer after each reading.