In this lesson, students will be asking and answering questions about the events in the story. It is important for the students to understand the events in order to retell the story.
"When I think about Halloween, I often think of cute and silly Witches. I found this fun story about a cute witch that I think you will like. Before we read the story I want to fill out a circle map of all the things we know about a witch."
I use name sticks to choose student's names for brainstorming what we know about a witch. When done brainstorming, we review all the words in the circle map.
"I see that you all know a lot about witches! Someone said that witches fly brooms, it that true? Hmmm, I wonder how many people or animals can fit on one broom? Does anyone know?"
I briefly gather a few answers.
"Well, the book I want to read to you is called; Is there room on the broom? By the title, I am thinking that we are going to find out how many can fit on the broom. Let's begin reading. I am excited to see who wants to sit on her broom."
I love this story because it flows so nice and it rhymes. I enjoy reading stories that have a pulse when you read. My students seem to respond and settle in so focused when there is the rhythm. Listening skills are important to kindergarteners. It is through hearing the story, the words, the phrases that help them with vocabulary and English grammar.
When I read this story I like to stop and have the students help me point out the picture details. I often tell the kids that sometimes words don't tell the whole story; picture details are important too.
I like to ask questions that make them feel some emotion with the story, such as, Does the cat seem happy or sad? Oh, he is sad? Let's all make a sad face. Why do you think he is sad? A lot of the time I have read the reason why he is sad, but they haven't made the connection yet. So I will go back in the text to find the answer. Being able to go back into the text to find an answer is an important skill for students to learn for upper grades. I also like to ask the students to predict what might happen next. It is alright that they are wrong, I want them to start thinking of the possibilities of what might happen. A lot of the questioning is to help with the thinking process and to improve comprehension.
I begin reading the book.
"The witch has ginger hair, what does that mean? Does anyone know? It means she has pretty red hair."
"The cat purred, does that mean he is happy or sad? Yes, it means he is happy. Let's all purr like a happy cat. PUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!"
"Then the witch wailed, Hahaaaaa, everyone wail, Hahaaaaa. And the cat spat, everyone Chhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaa."
"oh no, what blew off? The hat? What do you think she will do now? You think she will go get it? Lets turn the page and find out."
"They searched for the hat. Everyone, put your hand over your eyes and search for the hat."
"Oh, the dog wants to do what? Ride on the broom? What do you think the witch will say? Yes!! you are right."
We continue reading and discussing the events as they happen.
"A truly magnificent broom! What a wonderful thing! Everyone has their own place to sit and have a fun ride. I love this new broom! Did everyone have their own place to sit on the old broom? No, it was crowded and it broke. Let's sequence the story events so we can write a story retell."
For the writing activity I use a flow map type of template. I have three boxes labeled Beginning/Middle/End on my template. I have a template that is large and laminated so I can do the "I do" part of the lesson. It is important for the students to be able to sequence a story for a complete story retell. Breaking the story into three sections helps the student narrow down the parts of the story. The students learn to give only the necessary parts of the story. Today the students will only draw pictures and retell the story. I begin with my large template.
"Hmmm, I want to sequence this fun story into three parts, what happened in the beginning, what happened in the middle, and what happened at the end. Would you all turn to your partners? I am going to need some help and it would be good if you would help me. Remember to go, knee to knee, eye to eye using whispering voices. I am going to start at the beginning of the story. Gee, what happened at the beginning? Tell your partner In the beginning ________. Please tell your partner what happened in the beginning. Whisper it to them. Put your hands on your head when you have told your partner what happened in the beginning."
I use my name sticks to call on students for the answer.
"Naomi, what did your partner tell you happened in the beginning of the story? Remember to use the whole sentence frame. In the beginning _______." You are right the witch went for a ride on her broom. So that is what I will draw."
I draw the witch and the cat on the broom in the first box.
"Great job, you were able to help me remember what happened at the beginning of the story. Now I need you help remembering what happened in the middle of the story. Turn to your partner and tell them In the middle of the story;_________. Lots of things happened in the story. Try to remember all the pieces and we will put them all on the template."
I use the name sticks again to choose a student to help me.
"Joel, what did your partner tell you happened in the middle of the story? Remember to use the sentence frame, In the middle of the story __________. Did your partner tell you all that happened? Is there more? We can look in the book to see if we have all the parts." (Going back into the text is an important skill to teach. In upper grades they will need to understand how to go back into the text to find answers to questions on standardized tests. We start now with easy stories that are fun to go back and search for the answer.)
"Wow, we did remember all the parts, that witch is so funny. Lots of things happened in this story. But all we need now is to remember what happened at the end of the story. Using the sentence frame; At the end of the story __________. Please turn to your partner one more time and tell them what happened at the end."
I use the name sticks to choose a student to give me the last answer.
"Ivannah, what did your partner say happened at the end of the story? Remember to use the sentence frame; At the end of the story _____________."
"We filled out the Beginning, the Middle and the End of the story. Let's go over it to make sure it makes sense."
I use the sticks to call someone up to tell us what our picture tells us happened in the beginning of the story.
"Adrian, come up and tell us what the beginning picture tells us happened in the story."
I may have to prompt him, but he should do well. I call a student up for each part of the story. I then erase the template.
"You are going to go to your table to fill out your own template. Let's just review what happened at the beginning of the story. Irvin, what happened at the beginning of the story? Use the sentence frame At the beginning of the story ______."
I am pointing to the empty box entitled Beginning.
"Great job! You were listening and I am so happy."
I choose another student from the sticks to tell us what happened in the middle of the story.
" Emely, can you come up and tell us what happened in the middle of the story? Remember to use the sentence frame; In the middle of the story _________."
I point to the second box on the template that is marked Middle. It is blank, but she should be able to recall what was their. If not, I will prompt her.
"I thought after I erased the pictures that you would not be able to tell me the story. Great job! I did not trick you."
I will choose another student to tell us what happened at the end of the story.
"Noor, could you stand up and tell us what happened here at the end of the story? Can I trick you or can you remember what happened? Remember to use the sentence frame, At the end of the story ________."
Again I am pointing to an empty box, the one label, End. My ELL students need a lot of repetition and opportunities to engage in conversation. Using the sentence frames encourages not only the learning of English language, but correct grammar.
"Yay, you all did it, you retold the story with out pictures. Now it is your turn to go back to your tables and fill out your own templates. I want you to remember what happened in the beginning, what happened in the middle and what happened at the end. Draw as much as you remember.
I call on my paper passers to pass out the writing templates. I then call my other students one row at a time to get up and get their pencil boxes out of their cubbies. They go to their tables and begin drawing.
"If you need help, I will be glad to help you, but I want to see you try your best before you ask for help. When you are finished I will take your papers and you can sit quietly and read library books until we begin reading our templates."
My students gather on the carpet to retell the story using their templates. It is important for my ELL students to hear the retell many times as well as having the opportunity to orally present their work. This activity increases their comprehension and vocabulary skills. I call a row up at a time and have each student retell the story. It is fun to see the differences in fine motor skills. I also like to hear each student's version of the story. We applaud each retell.
The more my ELL students hear a story, the more vocabulary, details and comprehension are gained. I found this video and showed it at the end of the day as a bribe to stack chairs and get their backpacks together.