Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.
In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet, go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.
When all of the students are seated on their dot in the rug area I tell them they are going to watch a short video about the moon. I use the video from the National Geographic website called Moon 101.
“Boys and girls today I am going to show you a very short video about the moon.”
“Can anyone tell me why we are going to watch a video about the moon?”
I select a student who is following the correct protocol of raising their hand and waiting to be called on.
“Nice one Joshua; we are starting our space unit. As part of learning about space we thought we would start with our nearest neighbor – the moon.”
“I want you to use you good observing skills to collect new information about the moon in the night sky.”
By telling the students to use their “good observing skills,” I am reminding them to listen for new information and to watch for interesting facts.
When the short video clip is over I have the student stand-up and stretch, touch their hand to their opposite foot and then switch sides to help wake up both sides of their brain. Then I ask them to sit back down on their spot.
“Now that you are sitting like responsible students I would like someone to tell me one new piece of information they learned from the video.”
I select three or four students who are following the correct classroom protocol to respond to the question. At this point I am only listening or repeating back to the students what I heard them say so I can reinforce the message of using “good observing skills.” I will have a more in-depth discussion about moon facts with the students during the main activity.
I use this short video clip to arouse their curiosity and set them up with some prior knowledge before reading the book about the moon. Having some prior knowledge will help the students begin to make sense of what is about to be read to them. Watching the video can also help them decode unknown vocabulary words we may come across during group reading.
“Today’s book is called The Moon. This book is written by Thomas K. Adamson. Looking at the cover what kind of book do you think this book will be?”
I will select a student who is following the correct protocol to respond to the question.
“That is a good prediction Rachel. Rachel thinks the book is going to be a non-fiction book. Can anyone explain to me why Rachel might have made that prediction?”
Once again I choose a student who is following the correct protocol.
“Finnley says he thinks Rachel made that prediction because the cover looks like a photo and we are looking for information about the moon so a non-fiction book would be the best type to use. Are those good reasons Rachel?”
“Okay let’s go ahead and read our book.”
During reading I will stop and discuss new vocabulary words such as satellite, crust, revolve, crater, etc.
We might not discuss all of the new vocabulary words as this would take too long and interrupt the flow of the book. I would also run the risk losing the attention of some of my audience members’ focus which can lead to behavior issues. I will gauge the interest of my audience before discussing too many new vocabulary words.
When I have finished reading the book I will ask the students, “Now who can tell me with certainty one fact about the moon?”
I select enough students to respond to this question to cover most of the facts we have heard both from the video and from the book.
Nine times out of ten I have a student who picks up on the fact that the video says the moon takes 29 days to orbit the Earth, but the book says 28.
“I heard that too Carson. I did some research Carson and NASA says that it takes the moon 27.322 days to orbit the Earth but there are 29.53 days between full moons so people will often get confused about how long it takes the moon to orbit the Earth. So if it is okay with you Carson it would be fair to say the moon orbits the Earth at least once during a month; then both numbers would be correct.”
This usually satisfies the questioning student.
“When are we more likely to see the moon?”
I allow the students to call out the answer.
“Your right at night. Haha did you see I made a rhyme? Right – night.”
“Can anyone tell me something they do at night?”
I select a student who is following the correct classroom protocol.
“I go to bed too Jonathan. What else do you do at night?”
“Ahh… I like to listen to bedtime stories Kallee. They make me fall asleep with sweet dreams. What else?”
“Yummy. I like getting dessert after dinner Ava.”
“Hands down. It is okay if you did not get a chance to tell me about what you do at night because at one fo the integrated work stations today you are going to write about what you do at night.”
“You will get a paper like this one (I hold up a sample for the students to see).”
“On it you will need to do what first?”
I allow the students to chant the response, “Write your name!”
“That’s right. Next you will complete the prompt, “At night I…””
“You will write about something that you do at night. Now if I am writing what are some things I need to keep in mind?”
I just point to students to respond and when I have had enough responses I will repeat back what they all said to me.
“You are all right; I need spaces between my words, I need punctuation, I need a picture clue and my sentence needs to make sense. How will I make sure my sentence makes sense to the reader?”
I select one of my more advanced writers to respond as I want the correct answer to be given as a model for everyone else.
“That’s right Ava; I read the sentence to myself and if it makes sense to me it will probably make sense to someone else.”
“What if I need help to write some of the words I need for my sentence? What resources are available to me?”
Once again I just point to students until all of the resources have been covered.
“Those are all good resources; I can tap out the word, I can use the sight word wall, I can use books in book area, I can use a friend or a grown-up. It sounds like you are ready to go and be awesome writers.”
“I will place the checklist at the work station so you can go over it to make sure you have remembered all the things good writers do.”
“Does anyone have any questions?”
Once I feel the group has a good grasp of the instructions I send the students over one table group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. It usually sounds like this;
“Table number one let’s go have some night time writing fun.
Table number two, you know what to do.
Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and
Table number four, you shouldn’t be here anymore.”
Allow the students 15 minutes to work on this activity. Set a visual timer and remind the students to look at the timer so they will use their time wisely.
WHY WRITE TO INFORM?
Students need to practice writing information to share with others for two reasons. First they can share what they know from experience, and secondly they can share information they have learned through reading or discussions.
When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look, listen” technique mentioned above.
“When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”
Students know to put completed work in the finished work bin. Any work that is not completed goes into the under construction bin and can be completed throughout the day whenever the student finds he/she has spare time or it will be completed during free choice center time.
Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to tell me their favorite thing to do at night.
“Today’s exit ticket is you have to tell me your favorite thing to do at night. Once an answer has been used it will not be “off the Menu” today and the reason for that is because what me favorite thing to do at night might also be Kallee’s favorite thing to do at night. People can share opinions. If lots of people share an opinion it is what we call a “popular opinion.””
I use the fair sticks to determine the order of the students.
Once a student has told me his/her favorite thing to do at night they are able to use the hand sanitizer and go to get their snack. If a student is unable to give me an answer, they know they can do one of two things.
Having the student come up with an opinion helps them recall skills from a previous lesson in our Around the World unit. Reviewing skills helps keep the students in practice for when they may need to use that skill again.
I use the What do You do at Night Writing Prompt Checklist to go over the student’s work and once it is complete I will place the student’s work in his/her collection portfolio.
Looking at the student’s work with the checklist helps me to stay focused on the objectives of the lesson. I am looking to see if the student is able to accurately follow the directions for the assignment which means they will meet the overall objective for the lesson. Did the student write their name on their work? Did the student use proper grammar? Does the student’s sentence make sense? Did they draw an illustration which supports their sentence and could be used as a picture clue?
Going over the student's work with my own checklist also helps me to see whether the student used the checklist provided at the integrated work station. If there are lots of missing details, such as spacing, punctuation, etc, I can take this piece of work and the student checklist to discuss with the student. This helps do two things. Reminds the student to use all the resources available to them at the work station to do their best, and clarifies for me any misunderstanding the student has about the checklist.
Students use a round gray piece of construction paper, a water bottle cap and black paint to create a moon. On the back of the moon they glue a fact sheet. We hang these moons up on the ceiling around the room to make ourselves feel like we are in space. The fact sheet will help students recall the information they have learned when they take their moon home later in the unit.
Students look for items with the same sounds in the word moon. For lower performing students I ask them to find items with the same initial sound – monkey, man, mouse, etc. Middle performing students are asked to find items with the same ending sound – rain, can, pin, etc. More advanced students are asked to think of items with the same medial sound – spoon, loom, room, baboon, etc.