The Unit of study from our reading curriculum is about our Neighborhood Helpers. During the reading block I am using the suggested books, stories and readers for whole group and small group instruction. In the afternoon I am incorporating this them into my content areas of social studies and writing. I love to weave a single theme through my content areas during the day. This is my seventh writing lesson about Neighborhood helpers. Today we will be getting a visit from our local Fire department. They are always so kind to come and dress up and let my students get into the cab of the fire truck. They have a new program and message they give to the students. It is to not be afraid of them when they are suited up. They come into your house to help you. Many children have died in recent fires because they are afraid of the suit and the noise from the oxygen tank. When they come they suit up and turn on the air tank and encourage the children to touch them and see that it is a good guy inside the suit. My students are always glued to the the firemen as they speak. They ask questions and are so focused. I love to have this kind of teaching experience. Sometimes they get a call during their visit with us and have to leave. They turn all the lights and sirens on and honk the horn as they leave. My students love it. They talk about this visit for days. We will read about the fire fighters and be able to fulfill the standard of writing an informative paper about the fire fighters.
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 Fire Fighter. We learned that a career is a job that someone does. I want to see how much you know about the fire fighters before they get her to talk to you. We will use a bubble map to gather our information. I will draw name sticks so my friends can name some things that the Fire Fighter does. I will write all your answers on the bubble map."
I like to use the bubble map to organize their thoughts and ideas as we have our class discussion. The bubble map is such a great visual representation of what we are talking about. I leave the bubble map up during the writing process so they can refer to it for information.
I call on students for things they think a Fire Fighter does at his/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 an "inappropriate" 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 Fire Fighter does for their 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 Fire Fighter map."
"The title of the book is A Day in the life of a Fire Fighter. 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 a Fire Fighter do. It is amazing how many of my students have been witness to a fire. Everyone had something to say.
"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."
The Fire Fighters were able to come out to our school this year. We love it when they come. They have a set lesson to teach the children to not be afraid of the fire fighters if they come to their house. One fireman suited up with everything. He crawled around the seated children and they could touch him and hear his breather with his oxygen mask on. They taught them about home fire safety. Then we got to sit in the truck. YAY!
We read the book to find out more about the Fire fighter. So we did read with purpose. Everyone was able to give a good answer as to what a Fire Fighter does on his/her job.
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 want you to think of two sentences that you can write that tells about the Librarian. The students job will be to choose something from the bubble map to write on the line.
"You can use this sentence frame for your first sentence, The fire fighter _______________. Let's think about what we else 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. I will give you two gummy bears if you write more than one sentence."
We came up with the sentences; The fire fighter is nice. The fire fighter saves people. The fire fighter drives a big truck. The fire fighter uses a big hose.
"Make up as many sentences that you can think of about the fire fighter. 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 reading their sentences and show off their student writing. We applaud and cheer after each reading.