Noticing and Describing: Looking at Models of a Magnificent Thing | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G1:M1:U3:L2

Noticing and Describing: Looking at Models of a Magnificent Thing

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • SL.1.1: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • SL.1.1a: Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
  • SL.1.1b: Build on others' talk in conversations by responding to the comments of others through multiple exchanges.
  • SL.1.1c: Ask questions to clear up any confusion about the topics and texts under discussion.
  • W.1.8: With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question. 

Daily Learning Target

  • I can use describing words to explain how our magnificent thing will look. (SL.1.1, SL.1.1a, SL.1.1b, and SL.1.1c)
  • I can write details about my magnificent thing using describing words. (W.1.8

Ongoing Assessment

  • Use the Speaking and Listening Checklist to track students’ progress toward the lesson’s standards (SL.1.1a, SL.1.1b, and SL.1.1c) (see Assessment Overview and Resources).

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Engaging the Learner: How We Collaborate (10 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Modeling: Describing a Magnificent Thing (10 minutes)

B. Small Group Practice: Describing a Magnificent Thing (10 minutes)

C. Modeling and Guided Writing: Describing a Magnificent Thing (20 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Reflecting on Learning (10 minutes) 

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards:

  • In this lesson, students begin working in groups to create their classroom magnificent things. Each small group is assigned one thing to create, based on the list of possibilities the class brainstormed in Lesson 1. Students use the speaking and listening skills they learned in Units 1 and 2 in order to communicate with one another and debrief after the process.
  • This lesson gives students the opportunity to begin building their writing stamina. Students practice recording their experiences through guided writing pages in their new Magnificent Thing notebook. This helps prepare them for the writing portion of the performance task and the Unit 3 Assessment.
  • Students focus on collaboration, one of the habits of character, in this lesson. Students revisit the meaning of collaborate in the Opening to encourage them to demonstrate this habit of character during work time.
  • This lesson asks students to demonstrate progress on SL.1.1: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups. Use the Speaking and Listening Checklist during the Think-Pair-Share protocol to collect data on every student.
  • This lesson is the second in a series of three that include built-out instruction for the use of Goal 2 Conversation Cues to promote productive and equitable conversation (adapted from Michaels, Sarah and O’Connor, Cathy. Talk Science Primer. Cambridge, MA: TERC, 2012. Based on Chapin, S., O’Connor, C., and Anderson, N. [2009]. Classroom Discussions: Using Math Talk to Help Students Learn, Grades K–6. Second Edition. Sausalito, CA: Math Solutions Publications). Goal 2 Conversation Cues encourage students to listen carefully to one another and seek to understand. Continue drawing on Goal 1 Conversation Cues, introduced in Unit 1, Lesson 3, and add Goal 2 Conversation Cues to more strategically promote productive and equitable conversation. As the modules progress, Goal 3 and 4 Conversation Cues are also introduced. Consider providing students with a thinking journal or scrap paper.

How this lesson builds on previous work:

  • Students continue to apply their knowledge of tools from Unit 1 by choosing tools that will help them build their magnificent thing. 
  • Students continue to apply their knowledge of habits of character from Unit 2 by focusing on the habit of collaboration in this lesson.
  • Students begin to work with the items they brainstormed in the previous lesson by using picture models of these items in this lesson (see supporting materials).
  • Students continue to apply their knowledge of habits of character. In this lesson, they focus on collaboration.

Areas in which students may need additional support:

  • In Work Time B, students collaborate in small groups to describe the magnificent thing their group is assigned to create. Help students use descriptive language by asking them to describe specific characteristics of their magnificent thing (size, shape, color, etc.).
  • In Work Time C, students write notes to describe their magnificent thing. This is the first of several writing lessons; encourage students to complete what they can on the page in the time provided.

Down the road:

  • In this lesson, students begin preparing to build the magnificent thing. Begin collecting materials like tape, string, shoeboxes, cardboard, and paper towel tubes.
  • Students are presented with picture models of their magnificent things in this lesson. As the work continues, students should use the picture to help them understand the materials and tools needed to create it but can have artistic license with the final product in order to personalize it.
  • This lesson is the first of several in which students build their writing skills. Throughout future lessons, students will refer back to their work. Therefore, prioritize quality work on each page more than completion.
  • In the performance task, students will complete their magnificent thing and a piece of informative writing to explain how they made it. 

In Advance

  • Set up a document camera to display the Magnificent Thing notebook and other documents throughout the lesson (optional). If not using a document camera, copy the Magnificent Thing notebook onto chart paper.
  • Prepare:
    • Ways We Work Together anchor chart and the Collaboration anchor chart (see supporting materials). 
    • Sections of the room where each group will work.
    • Magnificent Thing notebook for each student and one copy for the teacher (see supporting materials). Copy pages and staple them together, making sure to include one blank page at the back of the packet for later use.
  • Pre-determine
    • Groups of four for Work Time B. Students will stay in this same group for the remainder of Unit 3.
    • Each group’s magnificent thing; for easier distribution, consider labeling the picture with the group members’ names.
  • Hide teacher notebook to dramatically reveal it in Work Time C.
  • Review the Think-Pair-Share protocol. (Refer to the Classroom Protocols document for the full version of the protocol.)
  • Post: Learning targets, Ways We Work Together anchor chart, "Learning Target" song, How to Make a Magnificent Thing anchor chart, Classroom Magnificent Things anchor chart, Collaboration anchor chart, and Classroom Discussion Norms anchor chart 

Tech and Multimedia

Consider using an interactive whiteboard or document camera to display lesson materials.

  • Opening A: Create the Ways We Work Together anchor chart in an online format, for example a Google Doc, to display.
  • Work Time A: If you recorded students singing the "Learning" song in Unit 2, play this recording for them to join in with.
  • Closing and Assessment A: Create the Collaboration anchor chart in an online format, for example a Google Doc, to display and for families to access at home to reinforce these skills. 

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 1.I.A.1, 1.I.B.5, and 1.I.C.10

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs through the practice of collaborative work, through modeling the task, and through the use of visual aids.
  • ELLs may find metacognitive and reflective conversations, such as self-evaluating collaborative work, to be challenging. Support students by illustrating these concepts by providing examples or using fishbowls. Frequently commend students who exemplify effective collaboration.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • During Opening A, challenge intermediate and advanced proficiency students to think of some words and sentences they might hear when they are collaborating with their partners. Display the sentences they generate so students can refer to them as they collaborate to describe their magnificent things.

For heavier support:

  • Some students may need additional support using adjectives to describe shape and color. Project or enlarge a copy of the adjective word bank provided on page 1 of the Magnificent Thing Notebook. Briefly review the adjectives and facilitate practice using them.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): Throughout this lesson, embed support for unfamiliar vocabulary by providing explanation and visual examples. This will help students make connections and support comprehension.
  • Multiple Means of Action & Expression (MMAE): During Work Time B students are asked to engage in a collaborative small group conversation. To support positive and productive small group discussions, consider providing groups with mini group conversation checklists.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): During the Closing, students are invited to share experiences with classroom collaboration in these lesson activities. This is a great opportunity to identify some collective strengths and to set shared classroom goals related to collaboration. 

Vocabulary

Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T); Vocabulary Used in Writing (W)

New:

  • sketch (L) 

Review:

  • collaboration, describe (L)

Materials

  • Ways We Work Together anchor chart (new; co-created with students during Opening; see supporting materials)
  • "Learning Target" song (from Unit 2, Lesson 2; one to display)
  • How to Make a Magnificent Thing anchor chart (begun in Lesson 1)
  • Document camera (optional) Magnificent Thing Model: Teacher Picture (one to display)
  • Magnificent Thing Model: Student Pictures (one picture per group)
  • Classroom Magnificent Things anchor chart (new; teacher-created; see supporting materials)
  • Magnificent Thing notebook (one per student)
  • Magnificent Thing notebook (one for teacher modeling)
  • Collaboration anchor chart (new; co-created with students during Closing; see supporting materials)
  • Think-Pair-Share anchor chart (begun in Unit 1, Lesson 1)
  • Speaking and Listening Checklist (see Assessment Overview and Resources) 

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Engaging the Learner: How We Collaborate (10 minutes) 

  • Gather students together whole group.
  • Direct their attention to the Ways We Work Together anchor chart.
  • Tell students today is the day they get into groups to begin creating their magnificent thing for the classroom. Before they begin working, it is important to remember what they learned about collaboration during Unit 2.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite students to use the megaphone response to share:
  • "What does collaboration mean?" (working together; to listen to other people’s ideas and help make them better) 
  • Point to the columns on the Ways We Work Together anchor chart and show students they need ideas about what collaboration looks like and sounds like to write on the anchor chart.
  • Invite students to turn and talk:

“What would we see when a group is collaborating well?” (They take turns sharing ideas. They listen to each others ideas. They each do some of the work.)

  • Offer the following sentence stem as necessary: "I can see collaboration when people ______."
  • As students share out, capture their responses on the Ways We Work Together anchor chart under the "looks like" column.
  • Repeat this process with the "sounds like" column.
  • Tell students to pretend to circle the ideas they will remember as they begin their group work.
  • For ELLs: As you introduce the word collaboration, offer an alternative to visual information by introducing a physical gesture, indicating the word’s meaning. (Example: Hold both hands together and pump once as if shaking hands.) (MMR)
  • For ELLs: Before asking the turn-and-talk question, activate background knowledge by providing one or two examples of what collaboration looks and sounds like. (Example: "When students are collaborating, I see them taking turns. What do you see?") (MMR)
  • For ELLs: Discuss using kind words during collaboration. Prompt students to share some kind words in their home languages. Examples:
    • "How do you say please in Spanish?" (por favor)
    • "How do you say thank you in Arabic?" (shukraan)
  • Call on student volunteers to share. Choral repeat the translations and the words in English.
  • After adding student responses to the anchor chart, optimize value by inviting students to reflect on why collaboration matters. (Example: "Now we have some fabulous examples of what collaboration looks like and sounds like. In first grade, how does collaborating help us? Why is it important?") (MME) 

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Modeling: Describing a Magnificent Thing (10 minutes) 

  • Invite students to sing the "Learning Target" song.
  • Direct students’ attention to the posted learning targets and read the first one aloud:
    • "I can use describing words to explain how our magnificent thing will look."
  • Ask students to whisper the answer into their hands:

“What does it mean to describe?” (explain what something looks like; give details about something)

  • Invite students to share out.
  • Direct students’ attention to the posted How to Make a Magnificent Thing anchor chart. Tell students they are beginning the planning step, just like the little girl from The Most Magnificent Thing. Say:  

“The girl started planning by using her imagination to think of something to create. We started our planning by thinking about what we need. To help us create those things, I have printed pictures of examples to help us with our planning.”

  • Using a document camera, display the Magnificent Thing Model: Teacher Picture. Tell students you will model using describing words for the magnificent thing you will make for the classroom.
  • Say: "My magnificent thing is a classwork display sign. It will help show off our classwork to visitors. The sign is big and long. It is kind of like a rectangle. I see that it has many colors on it: yellow letters, striped leaves, brown background. I notice it has string as a place to help it hang."
  • Invite students to turn and talk with an elbow partner:

“What sorts of words did I use to describe my magnificent thing?” (colors, shapes, size)

  • Tell students that they will now do something similar with their small groups. They will look at a picture of the magnificent thing their group will be making, and describe what it will look like.
  • For ELLs: Before the turn and talk, provide opportunities for supported practice with describing. Invite a few student volunteers to describe classroom items (Example: "Leia, will you describe this stapler? What colors and shapes do you see?" (It is black and shaped like two long rectangles.) "I love how Leia described the stapler!" (MMAE) 

B. Small Group Practice: Describing a Magnificent Thing (10 minutes)

  • Move students into pre-determined groups and distribute each group’s Magnificent Thing Model: Student Picture.
  • Assign each group an area of the room in which to work. Tell students that they will be working with this same group in this same space in the room today and in future lessons. Invite students to transition to their new workspace.
  • Remind students to refer to the Ways We Work Together anchor chart as they describe their magnificent thing.
  • Invite students to begin describing their magnificent thing with their group.
  • Circulate to support groups with collaborating. If necessary, prompt groups with questions such as:

“What size is it?”

“What shape is it?”

“What parts do you notice?”

  • Refocus whole group. Tell them they will now write about their group work.
  • Ask students to take a picture of their magnificent thing with their brain to help them with their writing.
  • For ELLs: Create heterogeneous groups based on language proficiency. If possible, create triads in each group with advanced, intermediate, and beginning proficiency students. If there are students who speak the same home language, place them together.
  • For ELLs: To make group work more manageable, assign roles for different students. (Example: Assign an advanced proficiency student to identify different parts, assign a beginning proficiency student to identify colors, and assign an advanced proficiency student to identify shapes.)
  • Before moving students into groups, support strategy development and executive functioning by providing groups with mini group conversation checklists that include the words "color," "shapes," and "size." (MMAE)

C. Modeling and Guided Writing: Describing a Magnificent Thing (20 minutes) 

  • Gather students back together whole group. Collect and save the Magnificent Thing Model: Student Pictures.
  • Direct students’ attention to the posted Classroom Magnificent Things anchor chart. Tell students you’ve written down everything that will be created for the classroom for them to refer back to.
  • Direct students’ attention to the posted learning targets and read the second one aloud:
    • "I can write details about my magnificent thing using describing words."
  • With excitement, reveal the Magnificent Thing notebook. Slowly page through the notebook for students to see inside. Tell them that an important part of creating something is taking notes about each step to help remember what you did.
  • Using the document camera, display the Magnificent Thing notebook (for teacher modeling) and write your name on the cover.
  • Open to the first page and read the first sentence stem aloud: "My magnificent thing is a __."
  • Think aloud while writing "classwork display sign" to finish the sentence.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“What would you write on this line?” (Responses will vary.)

  • Clarify that they are writing their own group’s magnificent thing on the line.
  • Continue modeling how to write about your magnificent thing:
    • Read aloud some of the description words on page 1.
    • Read aloud each question and think aloud as you write a response to each.
    • Point out the box at the bottom of page 1 and read the directions aloud.
    • Ask:  

“What does the word sketch mean?” (a quick outline or drawing)

    • Sketch a picture of the student work sign, thinking aloud about the shapes used to draw it. (Example: "The sign was a rectangle. The leaves were like ovals with a little point on the end.")
  • Invite students to close their eyes and picture the magnificent thing that they described with their group.
  • Transition students back to their tables.
  • Distribute the Magnificent Thing notebooks. Allow students some time to look through them.
  • Tell students to write their name on the cover and turn to the first page.
  • Guide students through page 1 by reading each question and allowing time for students to write an answer.
  • Circulate, carrying the Magnificent Thing Model: Student Pictures. Support students with their responses by showing them the picture of their magnificent thing and asking them to describe its shape or color aloud before writing.
  • Collect students’ Magnificent Thing notebooks.
  • Invite students to clean up and transition back to the whole group area.
  • For ELLs: For students who have trouble writing, invite them to first draw an arrow from the word bank above to the appropriate line below. If they do not get a chance to write the complete word in the line, they can use the arrow as a placeholder and finish another time.
  • For ELLs: As each group works, provide them their own copy of a picture of their respective magnificent thing to refer to.
  • For ELLs: Invite students to use their home languages to help them understand the task. (Example: "This task may be very difficult. To make it easier, you can take 2 minutes to talk about this with a partner who shares your home language. Then you can discuss in English.")
  • As you model writing about your magnificent thing in the notebook, emphasize process and effort by modeling how to sound out a word with tricky spelling. Encourage students to try their best and utilize environmental print if they get stuck. (MME)
  • For independent writing, differentiate the degree of difficulty.to optimize challenge. Students may be more appropriately challenged with the options to use sentence frames or dictation. (MME)
  • To help students express their ideas in the independent writing task, offer options for drawing utensils (Examples: thick markers or colored pencils) and writing tools (Examples: fine-tipped markers, pencil grips, slant boards). (MMAE) 

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reflecting on Learning (10 minutes) 

  • Direct students’ attention to the posted Collaboration anchor chart.
  • Tell students they are now going to use the Think-Pair-Share protocol to explain how they collaborated with their group to describe their magnificent thing. Remind students that they used this protocol in the previous lesson and review as necessary, using the Think-Pair-Share anchor chart. (Refer to the Classroom Protocols document for the full version of the protocol.)
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share:

“How did you use collaboration with your group today?”

  • Circulate and listen in on pairs to collect data on the Speaking and Listening Checklist. Offer the following sentence stem as necessary: "I used collaboration today when I _____."
  • If productive, use a Goal 2 Conversation Cue to encourage students to listen carefully and seek to understand:

“Who can tell us what your classmate said in your own words?” (Responses will vary.)

  • Invite students to share out whole group. Capture their responses on the Collaboration anchor chart.
  • Add anything you noticed about the groups’ collaboration that wasn’t mentioned.
  • Remind students that collaboration will be important for them to remember as they continue working on their magnificent thing tomorrow. 
  • For ELLs: To provide further scaffolding for the discussion, share notices about students who were collaborating before initiating the Think-Pair-Share. (Example: "I noticed that Paco’s group used collaboration when they were taking turns speaking. Now think for a minute about how you used collaboration.")
  • For ELLs: As students interact, notice instances in which students make verb tense errors. Identify the error and recast the sentence correctly. Invite students to repeat. Example: "I heard you say that you used collaboration when you listen. I think you meant to say you used collaboration when you listened. Now you say it."
  • After the Think-Pair-Share protocol, optimize relevance by inviting students to set shared classroom goals with prompts. (Example: "Give a thumbs up if you saw some good collaborating in first grade today. What are some things we can do to get even better at collaborating?") (MME)

Assessment

Each unit in the K-2 Language Arts Curriculum has one standards-based assessment built in. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

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