Context and Summary
One of the demands of the CCSS is to prepare students to use technology efficiently. I am integrating technology to meet this demand through the use of videos. The videos I am showing to my class build their content knowledge. Building their content knowledge is crucial in helping my students develop vocabulary and schema for content they will learn in the upper grades.
Today the video is on how seeds travel. As they watch the video, students take notes. I have taught my students how to take notes in previous lessons. In learning a new skill, practice is needed, and this lesson provides practice with note taking. My students know that to take notes they are writing down words, phrases, and/or adding pictures.
Additionally, I am integrating the reading of the story, The Tiny Seed, by Eric Carl. While this particular book is easy reading for my students, the content of the reading requires a closer look. The author integrates fiction and nonfiction elements that warrant discussion. My students need guidance in understanding how the author blends the two genres. Today is the first read and the focus of the text dependent questions is on what the text states explicitly.
As most students engage in independent reading, I am asking them to answer text dependent questions. I will pull 3 students to work with who need support with reading and staying on task at this time of the year.
Then, I will give my students the chance to reflect on their writing and some of them will have an opportunity to share with the whole class.
I frame the lesson by having my students sit on the rug, and we chorally read the friendly objective: "I can ask and answer questions about seeds." This helps them to focus.
Because of all my students are English Language Learners, they benefit from the strategy of activating prior knowledge. I use this routine often. In using it, I validate their knowledge and help them make the connection from old knowledge to new knowledge.
So the question today is: "What are seeds?" I give them some think time, before I ask them to turn to their carpet partner and share with each other. Then, I have a few share out. I transcribe their responses on a Circle Map: What Are Seeds?
Now, students have the opportunity to build their content knowledge about seeds with a video. As much as our students love learning from us, our voices can become monotonous. Thus, the videos bring a new voice and offer them a refreshing experience. Additionally, the visuals can be very exciting for them.
My students understand that in watching the video they are to listen for specific information and answer text dependent questions on their sheet How Do Seeds Travel. To get them to listen for the answer, I have them read the question to themselves and out loud before we begin watching the video. The notes they will take on these questions will be used to synthesize their learning in writing later. Because I have students with different needs, I make the experience an interactive experience and here I have a student shows the title of the video. This build his confidence. While another student helps us to answer the question: What Do Seeds Not Have?
Here are examples of their notes:
Here is the link and the video:
One of the demands of CCSS is for students to be show independence in their tasks without much help from the teacher. Their task for today is to read half of the story. So they are reading pages 178-190. As they read, I have created text dependent questions for The Tiny Seed for them to answer. In order for them to answer the questions they must reread and pay close attention. Since this is the first read, the text dependent questions ask about what the text says explicitly (instead of asking them to analyze the author's choices or evaluate the task).
My students are becoming sophisticated readers--but are not there yet, so to help them out, I have included the page number after the questions. Now, I will be working with 3 students who need support with reading so I need to make sure I am not being interrupted because someone needs helps finding an answer. In giving them the page number this allows me to work without having to take too much time redirecting them. I do plan to wean them off this scaffold.
The three students I am working with are my lowest readers and struggle with comprehension. They need guidance as to how to answer the questions with evidence from the story. While I have modeled this practice and have guided them, they need closer attention. Those who are working at the tables have more confidence about doing it independently.
Sometimes we share with the whole group, sometimes we share with partners. Before they write about their learning, I want them to stop and reflect about they learned. One way is to let them talk about the notes they collected. This helps them to internalize the learning and aids the writing. The CCSS asks teachers to help prepare students to respond to various speaking situations. For my students this is another opportunity for them to build academic language.
Now, my students are engaged in looking at both their notes from the video and the notes from the first part of The Tiny Seed to reflect and write about what they learned about seeds. In this way, I am helping them build their content knowledge. As they write, they need to formulate sentences using the academic vocabulary of the video and story. They are also practicing writing transitional words. They are writing about has resonated with them, even though they may not be aware of it. If there are students who finish before the allotted time, I give them the choice to draw.
During this time, I walk around and give support. Some students need support with finding their materials, others need to be reminded to write the date and the title, while others may have questions about how to spell words. Here are some examples of their writing: