It's Off to the County Fair!

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SWBAT ask and answer questions about key details in a literary text and in an informational text.

Big Idea

Excitement abounds as everyone prepares for the fair. Wilbur gets a buttermilk bath. The Zukermans' dress in their best and Wilbur's crate carries two stowaways.

Introduction: Modeling How to Research Our First Question

12 minutes

Context and Overview

I am asking my students to juggle informational and literary text at the same time. In order for them to do so, I am modeling how I want them to research an insect that we began researching in yesterday's lesson. Themes having to do with the natural world are very important in E.B. White's books, and, in having them research an insect, I am helping them to build content knowledge that will allow them to access Charlotte's Web on a deeper level.

After I model, my students will tackle researching their first question. Then, they will have an opportunity to pair share their findings.

Then we will proceed with reading the next chapter, "Off To the Fair," and I will be asking some text dependent questions to help students read closely and rely on text evidence when formulating ideas about the text.

Some students will work independently answering the text dependent questions, while I work with a small group of students who need more attention at this time of the year.

Today's lesson begins a series on how to answer research questions that will continue into future lessons.

Opening Activity

After sharing the objective of the day from the carpet, I proceed with modeling the research process. For this lesson, I chose an informational book that had quality photographs and other text features: table of content, diagram, headings and subheadings.

I talk them through the process by emphasizing that in navigating an informational book does not always mean reading the whole book, especially when you have a specific research goal in mind. In this case, I am interested in finding out the answer to my first research question: what is a Mosquito is? Therefore, I will need to use the Table Of Contents so that I am guided as to where this information can be found. I read the titles listed and in reading I ask them to raise their hand when they hear a title that would help me do that.

I model how to locate the page number on the table of contents too. Then, I turn to that page. I create a bubble map and I write, what are mosquitoes? in the center of it. I tell that them that as I read I will be looking for information that tells me about what this insect is.

I read the page out loud and I stop and reread when I come upon information that is pertinent. I add this to the Bubble Map. I continue until I have about five good details.

Students Research First Question

20 minutes

As students draw a bubble map to record their findings and get started researching their insect, I walk around and make sure they are on task. They use the books that I helped them find in yesterday's lesson to find more information.

I give support to those who may need it. Some students will need me to answer questions about which details are relevant and which are not. Some will want to know whether they should use words/phrases and/or complete sentences. (I tell them that they can use both.) Others will need help with the information on the page and how to best discern the information.

Some will be very excited to share their discoveries: She Notices There Is A Diagram Of A Butterfly!

With others, I want to check for their understanding.

Here are examples of their work:

Pair Share

10 minutes

My students are English Language Learners. They benefit from much practice with academic vocabulary and I work on giving them plenty of speaking opportunities. That is why I make time for them to Pair Share. For today's pair share, they show their partner their bubble maps and explain what they found out about their insects in their research.

Whole Group Sharing

7 minutes

Some students feel more comfortable speaking in smaller groups than in a whole group. Others feel very comfortable about sharing in larger groups. That is why I incorporate sharing in various groups.

Now a couple of my students will share with the whole group.

After each share, the speakers get feedback. I ask students to follow this protocol when giving feedback:

  • Two stars: Two different students tell the speaker what specifically they liked about the content of their writing.
  • A wish: Another student tells the speaker what specifically about the writing can be improved.

Giving the feedback in this manner keeps this process a respectful one, and students feel safe to share.

Reading: "Off To The Fair!"

20 minutes

In reading this chapter, "Off to the Fair," I want to keep the reading flowing and not get bogged down with answering questions. Thus, I chose a few text dependent questions that will hone in on the characters' behavior before the fair and the morning of the fair.

I also make sure to quickly check in my students about their knowledge about fairs.

In doing so, I don't want to spend too much time (I want the text to take center-stage), but I do want to help make a connection with their young lives and the lives of the people back then. Additionally, I want them to understand how fairs are experiences many of us have had regardless of time, age, and culture. This builds their content knowledge and the excitement/interest in the chapter.

I draw their attention back to the story by asking them how the story begins and why this matters to the plot?

Templeton is the antagonistic and reluctant anti-hero of this story. While I do not define Templeton as the anti-hero for my students, I do want to make sure they understand the role he plays in saving Wilbur. And what them to be aware of how the Old Sheep wisdom comes into play too.

I continue by asking other questions:

  • Why does Charlotte decide to go to the fair too?
  • Why does Wilbur faint?

Journal Response: What Happened In This Chapter?

20 minutes

Today, my students are responding to the question: "What has happened in this chapter?" I am looking to see them write about how the characters get ready for the fair. Also, I am looking for them to include the decisions made by Charlotte to go and her ability to make sure Templeton accompanies them.

Here are some of their responses:

Chapter Response 1

Chapter Response 2

Chapter Response 3

Chapter Response 4

Chapter Response 5

As they write, I walk around and provide support. Some need support to start. Others need support with spelling, others needs support of what to focus their writing.