This unit revolves around the multiple accounts common core standards (RI5.6 and RI5.8) . Next to poetry, this is, by far, my favorite unit. I've asked my students what types of information they'd like to be reading, so much of what I've included in this unit comes from their thoughts. Students will be asked to open their eyes to see things in different ways, serve as jurors, act as lawyers, participate in debates, solve crimes, and spot fake articles spread through social media. The students will be synthesizing information from multiple sources to form opinions and stand their ground. They will also break out of their comfort zone to defend positions they may not necessarily agree with. I'm hoping through this unit my students can learn to read with a critical eye and truly process the information.
Before starting the unit, my students will be setting up their new interactive notebooks for the unit. For more information on this, here is a quick overview of my notebooks. We start off by placing the district Student Learning Map and "Know, Understand and Do" forms in their notebooks. These serve as the road map for our students. I let the students look these over and discuss with their groups what looks easy, hard, confusing, etc. In this unit, we will be reviewing the text structure standards, but I will be doing this mostly through small groups and workstations since I've explicitly taught the skills in my nonfiction unit. My students do still have some needs with discussion of the author's choices for these structures, so I want to make sure I add that into my small groups. Main idea was also still a struggle for my class in the nonfiction unit, so I'll throw that into groups as well.
To start this big idea of seeing things differently, I like to give the kids the optical allusion pictures to take a look at because they get the students excited and into the unit.
You're going to see a series of pictures. In your notebooks, I want you to write down only what you see first. Don't discuss this with your partners. We'll have a chance to chat in a few minutes.
I give the students copies of these pictures and let them fill in their thoughts for each picture. For the Fed Ex truck, I just ask them to show me where they think the arrow is. Here is a quick visual of what my SMART notebook would look like.
Now that you have all of your ideas written down, let's discuss. Talk with your table partners about what you see. If anyone has something different written down, explain that thought and show your partners how you see that. You have about a minute to discuss and then we'll share.
I use numbered heads a lot for sharing, but for this activating, I wanted them to hear more viewpoints just in case both numbered heads had the same answer. My students sit 5 or 6 to a table, so I figured this way they were bound to have at least one person see the pictures differently.
So one night while I was reading "The Little Engine That Could" to my daughter, I realized that a serious issue in viewpoints had happened. Throughout the whole story, this optimistic, perseverant little clown tried as hard as he could to find a train to help all the toys get over the mountain. Each time he was rejected, he got back up and tried again. Yet, the little engine that comes strolling along at the end of the book is the one who gets all the glory. I immediately thought my students would love to hear about this, so I threw it into the launch for my lesson. I wanted something that would show my big idea for the unit and this is it. I want to make sure my kiddos know that all of these years, I hadn't really read that book closely and thought about it with a critical eye. I also want them to know it's okay to have thoughts that are different from others.
Today I'm going to read you the classic children's book, "The Little Engine That Could." Who knows that story? Who is the "hero" in that story? Today while I am reading, I want you to try to think differently. I want you to listen for any other person who may be a hero. We'll discuss this after I finish.
You can either check out the book or use the youtube read aloud. I actually prefer the youtube video now because there is no bias in the narrator's voice.
Now that you've finished reading, let's talk about the possible heroes in this story. We're going to write the possible names and then fill in some evidence to prove our thinking.
I'll make a quick t-chart to record the students' thoughts. Here is what they came up with today.
Based on this evidence, do you think it would be fair to title the story, "The Little Clown that Could?" 1s tell your 2s your thoughts for 1 minute. 2s will acknowledge the 1s response and share your thoughts for one minute.
I'll set a timer to help move them along and then have the whole class share briefly.