Teacher's Guide for CLICK ®September 2005
Teacher's Guide prepared by: Mary E. Shea. Dr. Shea teaches graduate literacy courses and directs the Graduate Literacy Program at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.
The following teacher's guide is designed to support students as they listen, read and compose written responses to selections in the September 2005 issue of CLICK ® magazine. Narrative selections are referred to as stories, but expository pieces should be referred to as informational articles. Children's understanding of text structures becomes confused when distinctions are not clear from the beginning.
Lessons are designed with multiple formats for instruction and learning. These include whole class, small group, partners, individual, and center work.
The readings are used as a starting point for a mini unit on grasslands, specifically looking at how ecosystems, animals, and plants co-exist as a way of sustaining themselves and continuing the cycle of life. Articles are used as content for read-alouds, shared reading, supported guided reading, modeled writing, interactive writing, or independent writing, depending on children's developmental literacy level (Tompkins & Collom, 2004). Suggested activities integrate science content with Language Arts instruction.
Throughout the guide skills in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary (word meaning), word recognition, listening, beginning reading, comprehension, and writing will be refined as children build conceptual understandings related to the topic. Activities will offer differentiated levels of responding to accommodate children's diverse needs, interests, and competencies. The readings may not follow the order of presentation in the issue; issue selections are sequenced in a way that matches the flow of the concept presentation.
Tompkins, G. and S. Collom. 2004. Sharing the Pen. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, Merrill Prentice Hall.
The Overall Plan
Title: Learning About Grasslands
Time: approximately 30-40 minutes each session. Independent Practice is completed later in the day.
Objective: Following instruction and teacher modeling, students will demonstrate through oral responses, artistic productions, and/or written work that they've:
- recognized and segmented sounded parts of words in a variety of ways - by letter, blends, onsets, and/or rimes.
- analyzed similarities and differences in words.
- constructed new words using the making and breaking process (matching new onsets or beginning with the rime part of a word).
- increased their speaking, sight, and writing vocabulary.
- successfully sorted words into categories - by meaning or beginning sound.
- grown in listening comprehension (or reading comprehension if they engaged in supported guided reading).
- begun to develop retelling skills, recognizing that comprehension is a critical component of reading. Reading is more than saying the words correctly.
Bloom's Taxonomy: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, and Synthesis
- copies of the September issue of CLICK ®
- chart paper
- copies of the letterbox grid or sentence cards
- blank sentence strips
- drawing paper and crayons
- Ask students to close their eyes and make a picture in their minds as you describe what's around them.
You're standing in a very big open field that's very flat; there are no hills, buildings, houses, or trees around. There's just lots of tall grass - grass taller than you. It's everywhere you look as you turn slowly around in a circle and it's gently swaying back and forth in the wind. You can see pretty, colorful flowers in the grass too. You feel kind of small - like an ant or grasshopper - as you walk through the tall grasses, but you're enjoying the pretty flowers and the soft feather feel of the grass that touches your face.
- The teacher says, "I'm going to give you a few minutes to sketch the picture in your mind on a piece of paper. I'll be sketching the picture in my head too."
- Have students share their sketch with a partner. Have a few students share details that their partner had in his/her sketch.
- Tell the students that we'll be finding out more about places in the world that look like this. They're called grasslands. Draw students' attention to four wall charts. (One chart is larger than the others. This will be for the American prairie.) Explain that they'll be creating wall charts that show and describe different grassland areas in the world.
- Sound out grassland as two words - grass/ land. Explain that grassland is a compound word. It's made from hooking two words together. Each word used helps describe what the new word names. Grassland is land that is covered with tall grass.
- Say, "Let's think about the sounds we hear in each part of grassland. We hear /gr/ /a/ /ss/ /l/ /an/ /d/."
- Say, "I'll write it out as I sound each part. You can help me if you know the letters I should write." Refer to the directions on the grid for word cards. This procedure is used for all new word introductions.
- Write the word grassland on a word card (w/older students) or on the graph paper grid with one letter per box (w/younger students). Words written on the graph paper are then cut out and used as word cards. Emphasize the distinguishing features (Kibby, 2004) of the word. This includes the way it looks (letter sequences and patterns) as well as the way it sounds (phonemic elements or sounded parts and phonics or sound to letter relationships).
- Place the word grassland on the bulletin board.
- Assign students a partner; give each pair a copy of CLICK ®.
- Tell students that they'll be word wizard detectives as we take a picture walk (skim through) through the issue. Give each dyad a few post-its to flag or record words they think we should investigate. These are new and/or interesting words they want to know more about. When the picture walk is completed, partners share their words. The teacher records these on word cards. Add additional key terms that may not have been identified. Note: Younger children will verbally suggest words to investigate after talking about particular pages and/or illustrations. The teacher records these in letterboxes.
- Read the title of this issue. Discuss the picture on the cover, identifying the animal. Go briefly through the issue, looking at pictures, reading captions, and making predictions for content and connections with prior knowledge.
- Say, "Let's look at the globe (or a world map). I'll show you where grasslands are found. They have different names in different parts of the world, but they're all grasslands." Point out where grasslands are found on different continents and the name used for them in that part of the world. In America they're called the prairie. Write prairie in letterboxes. In South Africa, grasslands are called the veld. Write veld in letterboxes. In Eastern Africa and Australia, they're called the savanna. Write savanna in letterboxes. In Europe and Asia they're called steppes. Write steppes in letterboxes.
- Examine these grassland names one by one. Talk about the letters and sounds. Place the word prairie on the largest chart. Place the words veld, savanna, and steppes on separate charts.
- Tell students that they are to complete one I wonder . . . strip (use reproducible I wonder strips) later in the day after they've done another picture walk on their own (or with a partner). Their wonder slip will describe something they're wondering about or something they want to find out. Explain that they can do more than one if they want to.
- Model how to fill in the wonder slip by recording your own wonder statement. Have slips ready for students to use. The teacher scribes dictated wonder statements for younger students while older students record them independently.
- As you work through the issue return to the wonder slips. The teacher will scribe students' answers as information is uncovered. (Older children continue to record answers themselves.) These answers might be found in the issue, in other texts (in and outside of school), or in discussion with other adults in the children""'s lives. The latter source of information invites parent involvement, strengthening the home-school relationship. When the study is completed, answered wonder slips are bound into a book that's left in the classroom library. Unanswered slips are left in a Research Center. Whenever children have free time, they can investigate independently.
- Have children open to the article, "No Place to Hide" by Buffy Silverman. Ask them to recall what they learned about grasslands in the previous lesson along with the illustrations they made and shared. Then ask children to think why this ("No Place to Hide") is a good title for an article about grasslands. Have students share their thinking with a partner (pair); then, allow partners to share ideas with the whole class. (This is the think, pair, share strategy.)
- Tell students that they will be listening to find out about the different kinds of grasslands we named in the previous lesson.
- Draw children's attention to the animal pictured on page 13. Explain that it's a springbok - a name it was given because of the way it springs in the air.
- Introduce the word prey. Write the word in letterboxes and discuss the sounded parts - the blend /pr/ and /ey/ that sounds like /a/. Compare prey to they, pointing out the different onsets, but similar rime.
/th/ /ey/Explain that a prey is an animal that's hunted and killed for food. The animal that hunts and kills the prey is called a predator. Write predator in letterboxes. Discuss sounded parts in the word. This facilitates children's word identification and word writing -
/pr/ /ed/ /a/ /tor/.
- Introduce the word graze. Write it in letterboxes. Talk about the sounded parts - /gr/ /a/ /z/ and the silent ending e that pinches the vowel before it, making it holler out its name. Talk about its meaning.
Note: Students won't necessarily grasp all the phonemic and phonetic information presented. They'll take what they can from each exposure. Over time, with continuous attention to casual, meaningful explanations of word structures, children will begin to soak in more and more information. Immerse and marinate them in word construction information in meaningful contexts.
- Introduce any other words that you feel are unknown to children using the same procedure. Other selected vocabulary terms can written in letterboxes (or on words cards) and added to the chart - or they can simply be highlighted in children's dictated sentences. Always include discussion of meanings as well.
- Tell children that they are to listen and follow along while you read the article.
After reading about each kind of grassland, ask children to retell what they learned about the grasslands in that area - particularly the predators and prey that make it their habitat. With older children the reading may be done as supported guided reading. This mean they've had an opportunity to preview and practice what they will read. They can read solo or in a duet (two children reading in unison) as their classmates follow along. Stop at appropriate places to discuss the content and carefully monitor children's comprehension.
- Read pages 13, 14, 15, and 16, stopping at the end of each for discussion.
- Ask children to retell what they learned from the reading on that page. The teacher may need to help children clarify their statements before she scribes them onto sentence strips. She might say, "If we write this in book language (conventional form), do you mean it to say . . . "
For example, on page 13, children might retell the following.
Animals that eat grass live in grasslands.Sentences like these pertain to grasslands in general and would go with the printed title grasslands.
Herds of grass-eating animals live in the grasslands.
Animals can't hide because there are only a few trees.
Animals in the grasslands run fast to get away from hunters.
As children retell information specific to the veld in South Africa, record those sentences and place them on the chart with the word veld. These sentences might look like the following.
Grasslands in South Africa are called the veld.As these sentences are completed they are attached to the chart with the word veld.
Springboks live and graze in the veld.
Springbok spring up into the air before they sprint away.
Cheetah, leopards, and lions are predators who hunt springboks.
- Continue this procedure with the remaining pages in the article. Attach word cards and sentences to the appropriate grassland chart.
- Later in the day partners will reread the charts.
- Children will draw pictures to go with each grassland area. The teacher assigns children to particular grasslands to be sure all areas are addressed. Children dictate and the teacher scribes a label or caption for the picture. Older children can do the writing independently.
- Responses will be assessed for intended message and developmental level of word construction. Keep in mind that children need to build conceptual understanding of the function of written language before forms have a purpose. Knowledge of correct forms grows smoothly when preceded by an understanding of function.
- Children's illustrations are attached to the charts.
Bring in a cartoon strip from a local paper. Ask children what this structure for story telling is called. Help them with the word cartoon, if necessary. Write cartoon in letterboxes. Discuss its sounded parts /c/ /ar/ /t/ /oo/ /n/. Ask what words rhyme with /ar/ in the first part of the word. Ask for words that rhyme with the last part /oon/. Scribe their suggestions on the board. These emphasize the /ar/ and /oon/ pattern. Tell students that the story we'll read today is written in a cartoon structure. Guided Practice:
- Ask children to open to the story, "Click and the Kids" by Betsy Page Brown. Explain that this selection is a narrative or story, but it does include lots of information about the prairie.
Introduce the terms characters and setting. Explain each term and decide who the characters are and what the setting is. Draw their attention to the characters and setting pictured on the top of page 3.
Characters = people (or animals) in a story
Setting = where and when the story takes place
- Introduce new vocabulary. Words you expect will be caught (grasped or understood) by students as they follow along are not pre-taught. These include words in their speaking and listening vocabulary - words they know, but have not read. However, understanding of untaught words is checked in follow-up discussion; they are taught after the first reading whenever it seems necessary. Sometimes, words we expect children to know are unfamiliar. Suggested new words that need an introduction are:
burn (as a noun), restoration, bouquet, shallow
- Follow the procedures for reading-aloud or supportive guided reading described in session 2. Add factual statements scribed from children's retelling to the prairie chart.
Children can work with a partner or in dyads to read and sort word cards. Assign students to heterogeneous dyads or groups. Children can sort words by meaning, beginning sounds, or length (words with lots of or few sounded parts). Session 4
Follow the read-aloud or supportive guided reading procedures with the article, "Who's Home in Prairie Dog Town?" by Catherine Ripley. New words suggested for direct teaching before the reading include nibble, grind, blade (of grass), swoop, burrows (as a noun), mound, ferrets, coyote, nutritious, attract, bison, and tender.Session 5
Children will retell; the teacher will scribe their factual sentences on strips of paper. Retelling sentences can be attached to the prairie chart.
Later in the day partners can read sentences on the prairie chart and review word cards for this selection. Children can draw scenes that depict the information they've learned from this selection. The teacher will scribe children's dictated labels or captions. Older children can independently record these. Some pictures will be placed on the prairie chart to represent this population of prairie animals and the remaining pictures will be bound into a book for the classroom library.
Follow the read-aloud or supportive guided reading procedures with the article, "Sea of Grass" by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld. New words suggested for direct teaching before the reading include wade/wading, rippling, swaying, wildflowers, blazing, sweep, thrive, harsh, broad, flexible, topple, bolts, sturdy, shelter, and soar.
Talk about compound words met previously as well as the ones met in this selection. This is a good place to reinforce that concept since there are several compound words in the article.
Children will retell; the teacher will scribe their factual sentences on strips of paper. Retelling sentences can be attached to the prairie chart.
Children can draw scenes that depict the information they've learned from this selection. The teacher will scribe children's dictated labels or captions. Older children can independently record these. Some pictures will be placed on the prairie chart (as space permits) and the remaining pictures will be bound into a book for the classroom library.
Informational Big Book
Narrative Selections in the Issue
Bind the large charts into a Big Book. This can be reread as a class and left in the classroom library for independent reading time. Children can also take turns bringing it home to share with parents. If you can, it's a good idea to laminate the pages before binding them. It makes the book more durable.
"Yo Wants to Know" by Lea and Alan DanielOverall Assessment:
"Flowers on the Roof" by Susan Yoder Ackerman
Use the narratives for read-aloud lessons to emphasize the pleasure of reading and build listening comprehension. Children can partner up with copies of the issue and follow along as the teacher reads. Invite children to choral read (read in unison) with you if they can and/or want to try. Try choral reading with the easier selection, "Yo Wants to Know." It may turn out to be echo reading - children are reading a nanosecond behind you.
I suggest completing "Flowers on the Roof" in three readings (pages 28-29; 30-31; 32-34), perhaps at a transition time perfect for reading aloud (e.g. just after lunch). These page breaks allow you to introduce prediction and guide children's prediction making. Predictions set purposes for reading. Allow children's comments, responses, and reactions to guide after-reading discussions. The teacher also interjects or shares ideas, but doesn't attempt to control the direction or flow of the discussion.
- The teacher will record observational notes on children's oral responses and their ability to work together with a partner or in groups.
- Work samples will be analyzed for children's thinking and comprehension - message quality of scribed sentences (or for message quality and developmental level of word construction when children write their own labels or captions).
- Children's illustrations will be evaluated for the number and accuracy of details represented.
- The teacher will monitor children's growing ability to analyze and sort words in different ways.
- Children's transfer of new words to their speaking vocabulary will be monitored.
- When children engage in supported guided reading, their fluency with word recognition will be noted.