Focused Read-aloud, Session 2: The Dot | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G2:M1:U1:L5

Focused Read-aloud, Session 2: The Dot

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RL.2.2: Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.
  • RI.2.7: Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
  • W.2.8: Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • SL.2.1: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • SL2.1a: Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).

Daily Learning Target

  • I can identify the central message in The Dot. (RL.2.2, RL.2.7, W.2.8)
  • I can speak one at a time when I participate in conversations with my classmates. (SL.2.1a)

Ongoing Assessment

  • During Work Time A, use the Reading Literature Checklist (RL.2.1, RL.2.3, RL.2.7) to track students’ progress toward these reading standards (see Assessment Overview and Resources).

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Song and Movement: “What Is School?” Song (10 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Focused Read-aloud, Session 2: The Dot (20 minutes)

B. Independent Writing: What Is School? Notebook (20 minutes)

3. Closing

A. Shared Writing: Revisiting the Guiding Question (10 minutes)

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards:

  • In Work Time A, students complete another focused read-aloud of The Dot. In this session, they revisit key sections of the text to answer text-dependent questions that guide them to identify the central message. Students should be able to explain why the author wrote this story or what he wanted us to learn from it. Recall that the questions for the focused read-aloud are found directly in the body of the lesson; they have a skill-based focus for reading and include fewer questions than a close read-aloud (RL.2.1, RL.2.7).
  • During the Closing, students connect the central message of the story with the module guiding question: “What is school, and why are schools important?” Students add to the Module Guiding Question anchor chart by thinking about what The Dot has helped them learn about school and why it is important.
  • This lesson is the final in a series of three that include built-out instruction for the use of Goal 1 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). As the modules progress, Goal 2, 3, and 4 Conversation Cues will be gradually introduced. Goal 1 Conversation Cues encourage all students to talk and be understood. Consider providing students with a thinking journal or scrap paper.
  • The pages of The Dot are not numbered. For instructional purposes, the page that begins with “Art class was over …” should be considered page 1 and all pages thereafter numbered accordingly.

How this lesson builds on previous work:

  • In Lesson 4, students answered questions about the plot and the development of the character’s feelings. In this lesson, they extend those understandings to identify the text’s central message.
  • Continue to reinforce routines established in earlier lessons, specifically the Think-Pair-Share protocol.
  • This lesson gives students another opportunity to practice the Role Play protocol, which was introduced in Lesson 3.
  • Students continue to practice their speaking and listening skills through the focused read-aloud (SL.2.1a).

Down the road:

  • This is the second of two lessons with opportunities to collect data on students’ progress toward RL.2.1 and RL.2.7 through the focused read-aloud.
  • During the close read-aloud later in this unit, students will have more opportunities to engage in text-based discussions (RL.2.1, RL.2.3, RL.2.7).
  • In this lesson, students add to their understanding of what school is and why schools are important. They will have another opportunity to add to Module Guiding Question anchor chart in Lesson 11.

In Advance

  • Set up a document camera to display the The Dot and other documents throughout the lesson (optional).
  • Distribute pencils and the What Is School? notebook at students’ workspaces. Doing this in advance helps ensure a smooth transition during Work Time B.
  • Predetermine pairs for Work Time A.
  • Review the Role Play and Think-Pair-Share protocols. (Refer to the Classroom Protocols document for the full version of the protocol.)
    • Recall that partnering with the opposite gender during the Role Play protocol may be uncomfortable and inappropriate for some students. If necessary, seek alternative arrangements for these students according to their cultural traditions.
  • Post: Learning targets, Module Guiding Question anchor chart, Classroom Discussion Norms anchor chart, “Learning Target” poem, Role Play Protocol anchor chart, Think-Pair-Share anchor chart, and Important Events from The Dot anchor chart. 

Tech and Multimedia

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

  • Opening A: If you recorded students singing the “What is School?” song in Lesson 4, play this recording for them to join in with.
  • Work Time B: Students complete the What is School? notebooks using a word processing tool, for example a Google Doc.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 2.I.A.1, 2.I.B.6, and 2.I.C.10

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs with opportunities to enhance reading comprehension through the use of role playing and movement. This is beneficial for ELLs, as they will gain a deeper understanding of literature by accessing language and content through a physical medium.
  • Some ELLs may find the independent writing activity challenging, as most of their prior work was heavily supported. If necessary, use additional prompting such as sentence frames and scribing. See below and the Meeting Students’ Needs column for further suggestions.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • Before providing sentence frames or additional modeling during Work Time, observe student interaction and allow them to grapple. Provide supportive frames and demonstrations only after students have grappled with the task.

For heavier support:

  • During the focused read-aloud, support beginning proficiency students by working closely with them during the role play activity. Dictate lines for them to repeat or model scenes with each partner to provide clarity.
  • During Work Time B, distribute a partially filled-in copy of page 5 of the What Is School? notebook. This provides students with models for the kind of writing expected and reduces the volume of writing required.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): During the Closing and Assessment, students will help you add to the Module Guiding Question anchor chart. You can provide options for comprehension by adding a scanned image of Vashti to illustrate “believing in yourself.”
  • Multiple Means of Action & Expression (MMAE): During Work Time B, students write independently. Vary methods for fine motor response by offering options for drawing utensils, writing tools, and scaffolds. (MMAE)
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): Before students choose a character to act out in the Role Play protocol, support them in managing frustration by prompting them to discuss strategies for what to do if their partner selects their preferred character. 

Vocabulary

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

New:

  • central message (L)
  • quite a splash (T)

Review:

  • role play, frustrated (L)

Materials

  • “What Is School?” song (from Lesson 2; one to display)
  • Module Guiding Question anchor chart (begun in Lesson 1; added to during Closing A; see supporting materials)
  • Classroom Discussion Norms anchor chart (begun in Lesson 3)
  • “Learning Target” poem (from Lesson 1; one to display)
  • The Dot (one to display; for teacher read-aloud)
  • Role Play Protocol anchor chart (begun in Lesson 3)
  • Think-Pair-Share anchor chart (begun in Lesson 1)
  • Reading Literature Checklist (RL.2.1, RL.2.3, RL.2.7) (for teacher reference, see Assessment Overview and Resources)
  • Important Events from The Dot anchor chart (begun in Lesson 4)
  • What Is School? notebook (from Lesson 1; page 5; one per student and one to display)
  • Module Guiding Question anchor chart (for teacher reference)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Song and Movement: “What Is School?” Song (10 minutes)

  • Gather students whole group.
  • Display the “What Is School?” song.
  • Remind students of the motions they created for important words and phrases in the song. As a class, invite students to sing the song once without stopping and without doing the motions.
  • Explain that when performers sing a song, they think about the words they are singing and the motion they are doing. They make sure that the audience knows what motions they are doing because they are specific, accurate, and fun to watch!
  • Tell students that as they sing the “What Is School?” song today, they are going to practice and make sure their motions are specific, accurate, and fun to watch.
  • Before singing the song again, practice the motions.
  • Sing the song one or two more times while doing the motions.
  • Give students specific positive feedback for doing motions that are specific, accurate, and fun to watch. (Example: “You did a great job of putting your hands on your hips very clearly.”)
  • For ELLs: For each phrase of the song for which students perform motions, check for comprehension about the meanings. Example: “When we appreciate qualities of others, what does that mean?” (We like different things our friends do and say.)

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Focused Read-aloud, Session 2: The Dot (20 minutes)

  • Direct students’ attention to the Module Guiding Question anchor chart.
  • Tell students that today they will look at key sections of The Dot again to better understand what the book is teaching them about what school is and why schools are important. Doing this will help them to answer the module guiding question.
  • Direct students’ attention to the posted learning targets and read the first one aloud:

“I can identify the central message in The Dot.”

  • Tell students that sometimes fiction authors write a story to teach the reader something or send the reader an important message. Their job today as readers is to think about the central message of The Dot—to think about the important thing Peter H. Reynolds is trying to teach us through this book.
  • Direct students’ attention to the Classroom Discussion Norms anchor chart and review the listed norms.
  • Remind students that yesterday they practiced speaking one a time, and they are going to practice again today.
  • Direct students’ attention to the posted learning targets and read the second one aloud:

“I can speak one at a time when I participate in conversations with my classmates.”

  • Remind students what it means to speak one at a time as necessary. Also remind them that a learning target is a goal for them to work toward during the lesson. Display and focus students on the “Learning Target” poem.
  • Invite students to take out their “magic bows” and take aim at the target while chorally reciting the poem.
  • Display The Dot.
  • While still displaying the text, read pages 1–6 aloud slowly, fluently, and without interruption.
  • Invite students to whisper their answers in their hand and ask:

“What did Vashti draw on her paper?” (a dot)

  • Move students into predetermined pairs.
  • Tell students that they are going to act out this part of the book using the Role Play protocol. Remind them that they used this protocol in the previous lesson and review as necessary using the Role Play Protocol anchor chart. (Refer to the Classroom Protocols document for the full version of the protocol.)
  • Guide students through the protocol.
  • Circulate to support students as they move through the protocol.
  • Refocus whole group. Give students specific positive feedback on their ability to follow the steps on the anchor chart. (Example: “You made tent arms, so I knew when you were doing with the role play.”)
  • Remind students that acting out parts of stories can help them to better understand the story and its characters.
  • Invite students to use their face to act out how Vashti is feeling in the beginning of the text.
  • Remind students that yesterday they discussed that Vashti is feeling frustrated because she thinks she can’t draw.
  • Draw students’ attention back to the text and read pages 7–12 aloud.
  • Invite students to turn and talk with their partner. Refer to the Reading Literature Checklist (RL.2.1, RL.2.3, RL.2.7) as necessary. Then select volunteers to share out:

“What did Vashti’s teacher do with the dot that Vashti had drawn?” (She put it in a frame and hung it on top of her desk.)

  • Draw students’ attention back to the text and read pages 13–14 aloud.
  • Invite students to turn and talk with their partner, then select volunteers to share out:

“What did Vashti decide to do after she saw her picture framed?” (She decided to make more dots.)

  • Draw students’ attention back to the text and read pages 15–18 aloud.
  • Tell students they are now going to Think-Pair-Share with their partner. Remind them that they did this 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.) Ask:

“What is happening here?” (Vashti is making lots of different dots. She is not giving up. She is having fun painting lots of dots.)

  • Draw students’ attention back to the text and read pages 19–20 aloud.
  • Tell students that if you do something that makes quite a splash, it means you get a lot of attention.
  • Think aloud for students. Say: “I think the author wants to teach us something here. He wants to send us an important message. Let’s see if we can figure this out together.”
  • Tell students they are going to think about the question: “What did Vashti learn at school?” To do that, they are going to use the Important Events from The Dot anchor chart. Direct students’ attention to the anchor chart. Invite them to follow along, reading silently in their heads, as you read the chart aloud.
  • Invite students to refer to the anchor chart and Think-Pair-Share with their partner:

“What did Vashti learn at school?” (She learned that if you keep working hard, you will get better at something. She learned that you need to believe in yourself. She learned that you shouldn’t give up if you think you’re not good at something. She learned to create things that matter to her. She learned that she is a good artist.)

  • If necessary, prompt students with questions, such as:

“How did Vashti’s teacher help Vashti?” (She gave Vashti paint to use. She hung Vashti’s drawing, and put it in a frame.)

“What did Vashti believe about herself by the end of the story?” (She believed she was a good drawer.)

“How did Vashti feel about drawing at the beginning of the book? How did she feel at the end of the book? Why did her feelings change?” (At the beginning of the book, Vashti didn’t think she could draw well. At the end of the book, Vashti feels proud of her drawings. Her feelings changed because she practiced drawing a lot and started to believe in herself.)

  • If productive, use a Goal 1 Conversation Cue to encourage students to expand the conversation about what Vashti learned:

“Can you give an example?” (Responses will vary.)

  • Draw students’ attention back to the text and read pages 21–28 aloud.
  • Ask:

“Why does Vashti ask the boy to sign the line he drew?” (She wants the boy to believe in himself, just like her teacher helped her do.)

  • Tell students that they just used their brains a lot to think about what Vashti learned about school, which is the central message of the story.
  • For ELLs: Check for comprehension by asking students to summarize and then to personalize the learning targets. Invite them to paraphrase the targets and then say how they feel about them. Ask:

“Can you put the first learning target in your own words?” (I can tell about the message of The Dot.)

“How do you feel about that target?” (I am excited because I think I already know what it is.) (MMAE)

  • For ELLs: Create triads for students who may have trouble planning their role plays. The student in the triad with advanced or native language proficiency can be the “director” and can be responsible for choosing roles, planning interactions, and feeding lines to students, if necessary. (MMAE)
  • For ELLs: During the focused read-aloud, provide sentence frames for Think-Pair-Shares. (Example: “Vashti said she couldn’t draw because______.”) (MMAE)
  • For ELLs: During the focused read-aloud, display the text on a document camera or display an enlarged copy of the text to help direct students to the appropriate sentences on each page. (MMR)
  • Before students choose a character to act out in the Role Play protocol, support them in managing frustration by prompting them to discuss strategies for what to do if their partner selects their preferred character. (Example: “You and your partner may both want to be the same character. What can you do if your partner picks the character you want to be?”) (MME)

B. Independent Writing: What Is School? Notebook (20 minutes)

  • Direct students’ attention to the posted learning targets and reread the first one aloud:

“I can identify the central message in The Dot.”

  • Remind students that the central message is the most important thing an author wants the reader to remember about a book after reading it.
  • Tell students that they just discussed the central message of The Dot with their partner, and now they are going to write and draw about their idea independently.
  • Display the What Is School? notebook and open it to page 5. Focus students on the sentence stem:
    • “In The Dot, Vashti learns …”
  • Point out the box for drawing, as well as the lines for writing.
  • Invite students to silently think about what they will write and draw on this page in their notebooks.
  • After 2 minutes, invite students to turn to their partner and share what they plan to draw and write to show what Vashti has learned about school.
  • Tell students that their notebooks are already at their workspaces.
  • Remind them how to transition back to their seats for independent work as necessary.
  • Invite students to move back to their seats and begin working.
  • Circulate and support students as they write. Encourage them to use the Important Events from The Dot anchor chart if they are stuck. Give frequent time reminders and encouragement. Prompt students with questions such as:

“What did Vashti learn about drawing?”

“What did Vashti believe about herself by the end of the story?”

“How did Vashti feel about drawing at the beginning of the book? How did she feel at the end of the book? Why did her feelings change?”

“What words will you write to match your drawing?”

  • If students need additional support thinking about what to write, ask them about the idea that they shared with their partner at the meeting area. Help them problem-solve by discussing how they might show their idea with a simple picture and words.
  • If students need additional support spelling words, remind them to use the High Frequency Interactive Word Wall or stretch out the words and listen for all the sounds they hear.
  • As students finish, invite them to add details to their drawing(s) and words.
  • For ELLs: Before transitioning to independent writing, briefly model and think aloud completing page 5 of the What Is School? notebook. Generate an answer as a class as an interactive writing experience. Display the class response as a model while students create their own. (MMR)
  • For ELLs: Invite students to discuss the task in their home languages with a partner. 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 we can share in English. _____ (student’s name), since you are the only student who is able to speak in wonderful _____ (Urdu), feel free to think quietly or write in _____ (Urdu).” (MMAE)
  • When introducing independent writing, vary methods for fine motor response by offering options for drawing utensils (e.g., thick markers or colored pencils), writing tools (e.g., fine-tipped markers, pencil grips, slant boards), and scaffolds (e.g., shared writing, extended time). (MMAE)

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Shared Writing: Revisiting the Guiding Question (10 minutes)

  • Invite students to return to the whole group gathering area, bringing their What Is School? notebook with them. Tell students to turn to page 5 of their notebooks.
  • Direct students’ attention to the Module Guiding Question anchor chart and quickly review it.
  • Tell students that reading The Dot has given them more ideas about why school is important.
  • Invite them to look at page 5 of their notebooks and think about what Vashti learned from being at school.
  • Select a few volunteers to share their thinking.
  • Invite students to turn and talk with an elbow partner:

“What does Vashti learn about giving up?” (She learns that you shouldn’t give up. You should believe in yourself.)

  • Confirm with students that at first, Vashti didn’t think she was a good drawer. But she learned at school to believe in herself, and then she created artwork she didn’t think she could do. Say: “At school, Vashti learned that believing in yourself can help you learn new things and accomplish goals.”
  • Add “Learn that believing in yourself can help you learn new things and accomplish goals” in the column next to “Foster character and relationships” on the Module Guiding Question anchor chart. Refer to the Module Guiding Question anchor chart (for teacher reference) as necessary.
  • Invite students to turn and talk with an elbow partner:

“What does Vashti learn about the kind of work she should create?” (She learns that you should create work you care about. You should create work that matters to you.)

  • Confirm with students that Vashti realized she loved painting dots, so she decided to paint more and more of them. Say: “At school, Vashti learned that it’s important to create work that you care about or that matters to you and others.”
  • Add “Create work that matters to you and to others” in the column next to “high-quality work” on the Module Guiding Question anchor chart. Refer to the Module Guiding Question anchor chart (for teacher reference) as necessary.
  • Give students specific positive feedback regarding how much they are learning about what school is and why it is important. (You learned that school is important because it can help you believe in yourself.)
  • Tell students they will travel to a new place tomorrow, and you can’t wait for them to go there
  • For ELLs: Clarify student responses as necessary with a Goal 1 Conversation Cue:

“Can you say more about that? I’ll give you a minute to think and write or sketch."

  • When adding to the Module Guiding Question anchor chart, provide options for comprehension by adding a scanned image of Vashti to illustrate “believing in yourself.” (MMR)

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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