Boys and girls come join me on the rug so I can share some books with you. I want to share and compare a kindergarten science text and the book, Underground by Denis Fleming (You could probably do this lesson with any of her other books: In the Tall, Tall Grass or In a Small, Small Pond. I choseUnderground because it is new to me and because I teach a unit about Earth Science.) Including more informational text may improve attitudes toward reading and even help in overall literacy development.
The science text that I have chosen has labeled pictures. I point them out to my students and say: when we learn about scientific information, the author of the text books will often label the pictures to give us more information, but also because he feels the information that the picture gives to us is important.
I read a paragraph or so to the children from the text and show them how the pictures connect to the reading.
Then I show the class the book Underground and say: This book is also filled with information that the author feels is important for children to understand, but it is written in a different way. It is written in a storytelling way (narrative). Our goal for today's lesson is to think about how we could take this story and retell it in a way that the information that is important stands out for the reader.
I proceed in reading the story Underground to the children. I try to make a habit of reading the story through once, just to enjoy the story, and then through a second time to look for key details.
Today I will be reading this story twice. Once, so that we can enjoy the story and a second time to look for important details. I really want you to look at the rich illustrations that are full of details and colors. Then we will make a list of the things we saw in the book. This list will help us later as we begin to label our own pictures.
I ask: If we were going to take this information we just gathered and make it more like the textbook, what would we want to do? Hopefully, the discussion leads to talk of drawing pictures and labeling them, but if not, you will want to lead the discussion that way.
I say: You can create pictures like Denise Fleming by adding lots of details and colors, but we are going to add labels to indicate what we want the reader to know is important.
Each of you will get a sheet of large white paper. I want you to draw an underground scene from the information gathered from the book. Add many details, work carefully and use many colors like our author, Denise Fleming.
When it is time to label your picture, I will give you three sticky labels. You will write the words that you want people to know about your drawing on the labels and then peel them and stick them in place. Make sure that you know where you want to place them before you stick them to your paper because they will not peel off.
Since it is difficult for young children to draw rectangles, especially appropriate to their writing size, I provide my students with three return address labels for them to write their key words and stick those to their paper. The children can look to the chart for words and reference how to draw some of the pictures.
Students will once again gather on the rug and be given time to share their writing. Each child will have a chance to come up and tell about their picture and the choices they made about what was important to them from the story. I will be able to tell who was able to understand the concept by how their page is presented. It will be important to fill my classroom library with book containing labels so that the concept is reinforced during the year.
Boys and Girls, since you did an awesome job labeling your pictures, I want to give you one more experience to remember what we have learned today. We will be making a model of the underground by creating an edible "dirt cup" to show the layers "underground" and include some of the "organisms" that you might find digging in the dirt. A model is a small representation of something that you are studying. It is often not made with the real things that we are studying. Ours will be made out of food ingredients. We will be doing this in steps so that you can see the layers and that we can talk about the different parts that the food items represent. On your tables are plates with ingredients, pudding cups, spoons, plastic cups and napkins. We are going to start with "sand". This is graham cracker crumbs. Put on spoonful in the bottom of your cup. Next open your pudding cup; if you need help raise your hand and I will come to you. The pudding represents the soil or dirt. Put three spoonfuls of that in next. The "Oreo" cookie crumbs are the clay. Add two spoonfuls of this and one more spoonful of sand. Add three more spoonfuls of pudding. Do you see how the layers are building? Also on your plate are some M&M's that represent rocks, and some gummy worms. You may have six "rocks" and one worm. Layer the rest of your ingredients as you would like. Look at what you have created and then you may eat.
Even though I had a couple of students who did not like the taste of the pudding, they enjoyed the activity. The important part of this section in the process, not the eating. I wanted them to create a model of the underground that we had been talking about.