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Reading, Speaking, and Listening: Close Read-aloud Session 6 and Developing Language

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RL.K.1: With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
  • RL.K.4: Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.
  • RL.K.7: With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts)
  • SL.K.3: Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood.
  • SL.K.4: Describe familiar people, places, things, and events and, with prompting and support, provide additional detail.
  • L.K.1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • L.K.1d: Understand and use question words (interrogatives) (e.g., who, what, where, when, why, how).
  • L.K.1f: Produce and expand complete sentences in shared language activities.

Daily Learning Target

  • I can describe how Gertie’s toy preferences changed using details in the text. (RL.K.1, RL.K.4, RL.K.7)
  • I can create a toy using my drawing. (W.K.2)
  • I can ask questions to learn about my classmates. (SL.K.3, SL.K.4, L.K.1d, L.K.1f)

Ongoing Assessment

  • During Work Time A, listen for students to describe how Gertie’s toy preferences have changed using details in the text (RL.K.1, RL.K.4, RL.K.7).
  • During Work Time B, circulate and observe as students create their toy. Notice whether students are able to use their drawing as a plan for creating their toy. Also, notice whether they are able to describe the toy they are creating (W.K.2, SL.K.4).
  • During the Closing, listen for students to ask their partner a question about his or her toy creation. Also, listen for students to answer questions about their own toy creations (SL.K.3, SL.K.4, L.K.1d, L.K.1f).


AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Poem and Movement: “Little Ball” Poem (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Close Read-aloud Session 6: Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon, Pages 25–29 (20 minutes)

B. Developing Language: Creating a New Toy (30 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Reflecting on Learning (5 minutes)

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards:

  • In Work Time A, students continue their close read of the unit’s anchor text: Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon. In Session 6, students work to ask and answer questions about key details and unknown words in a text and to describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (RL.K.1, RL.K.4, RL.K.7).
  • This lesson synthesizes the work of Lessons 1–5, in which students have explored others’ perspectives about toys, including those of children long ago and of their own classmates. In this lesson, students create a toy using recycled materials to reflect their learning and preferences about toys. They also continue to build speaking and listening skills by asking and answering questions about one another’s toy creations using the descriptive language skills they have been developing throughout Units 2 and 3 (SL.K.3, SL.K.4, L.K.1d, L.K.1f).

How this lesson builds on previous work:

  • In Lesson 5, students imagined and drew a new toy. In this lesson, they will use their drawing as a guide for creating that toy using recycled materials.
  • Continue to use Goal 1 and 2 Conversation Cues to promote productive and equitable conversation.

Areas in which students may need additional support:

  • Students may be challenged to refer back to their drawing to create their toy using recycled materials. Some students may attempt to create an entirely new toy or fail to consult their drawing. As needed, prompt them to look at their drawing and consider what specific material could be used. Example: “I see you drew a _____. What materials could you use to make it?”

Down the road:

  • Students have begun to practice asking and answering questions with their classmates in Lessons 1–6. In Lessons 7–13, they will continue to ask and answer questions with a focus on understanding and learning more about their classmates’ toy preferences. This work builds toward the end of unit assessment, in which students will interview a classmate about his or her toy preferences.

In Advance

  • Set up a document camera to display the “Little Ball” poem and other documents throughout the lesson (optional).
  • Preview the Close Read-aloud Guide: Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon (Session 6; for teacher reference) to familiarize yourself with what will be required of students.
  • Prepare recycled materials for students to use to create a toy during Work Time B. Recommended items include:
    • cotton balls
    • cotton swabs
    • cardboard containers/pieces
    • paper towel/toilet paper rolls
    • plastic bottle caps
    • plastic containers/bottles
    • buttons
    • yarn/string
  • Distribute materials for Work Time B at student tables (paper plates and masking tape strips).
  • Cut masking tape into either one long strip or five or six small strips for students to use while creating their toy.
  • Post: Learning targets, “Learning Target” poem, and Ways We Ask Others Questions anchor chart.

Tech and Multimedia

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

  • Opening A: Video record the whole group reading the “Little Ball” poem with actions and post it on a teacher webpage or on a portfolio app like Seesaw for students to listen to at home with families. Most devices (cell phones, tablets, laptop computers) come equipped with free video recording apps or software.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards K.I.B.5, K.I.B.6, and K.II.C.6

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs through the opportunity to use verbal language in a structured way, to examine language closely, and to apply learning through creative expression.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to create original toys. Consider modeling a few suggestions that students can opt to emulate if they have trouble thinking of their own ideas.
  • During the close read, ELLs are invited to participate in a Language Dive conversation (optional). This conversation guides them through the meaning of a sentence in Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon. It also provides them with further practice using the language structures found within the text. Students may draw on their knowledge from this sentence when using their imagination to create their own toys. A consistent Language Dive routine is critical in helping all students learn how to decipher complex sentences and write their own. In addition, Language Dive conversations hasten overall English language development for ELLs. Preview the Language Dive Guide and consider how to invite conversation among students to address the questions and goals suggested under each sentence strip chunk (see supporting materials). Select from the questions and goals provided to best meet your students' needs. Consider providing students with a Language Dive log inside a folder to track Language Dive sentences and structures and collate Language Dive note-catchers.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • During the Language Dive, challenge students to generate questions about the sentence before asking the prepared questions. Example: “What questions can we ask about this sentence? Let’s see if we can answer them together.”

For heavier support:

  • During the close read-aloud, support and engage beginning proficiency students by inviting them to act out parts of the story. Dictate lines for them to recite so that they practice using verbal language.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): As students prepare to create their toy with recycled materials, they will participate in whole class activities. Make sure that you are representing information such as new vocabulary in multiple formats. For instance, you can represent the movements for the “Little Ball” poem with graphic images for students to reference.
  • Multiple Means of Action and Expression (MMAE): In this lesson, students will use their toy drawing from Lesson 5 to make their toy with recycled materials. Some may struggle doing this task individually. Consider being flexible in this process by allowing students to work in pairs or a small group, starting with the previous session and continuing into this one.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): There are several whole class activities in this lesson, such as the “Little Ball” poem with movements and the share-out during the Closing. Be aware that some students may be uncomfortable with public performance. Consider offering alternative means of participation, so that all students can participate in a way that makes them comfortable. For instance, instead of doing the movements in the “Little Ball” poem, a student can point to the words for the rest of the class to follow.


Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T)


  • preference, create (L)


  • imagined (L)


  • Document camera (optional)
  • “Little Ball” poem (one to display)
  • “Learning Target” poem (from Unit 1, Lesson 1; one to display)
  • Close Read-aloud Guide: Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon (from Lesson 1; Session 6; for teacher reference)
    • Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon (one to display; for teacher read-aloud)
    • Toys Molly Lou and Gertie Prefer anchor chart (begun in Lesson 4; see Close Read-aloud Guide)
    • Language Dive Guide (optional; for ELLs; for teacher reference)
    • Sentence strip chunks (for ELLs; see supporting materials)
  • Drawings of toys (from Lesson 5; one per student)
  • Sample of recycled materials (from Lesson 5)
  • Masking tape strips (one long strip or several small strips per student)
  • Paper plates (one per student)
  • Ways We Ask Others Questions anchor chart (begun in Lesson 2)
  • Conversation Partner chart (from Unit 1, Lesson 1; one to display)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Poem and Movement: “Little Ball” Poem (5 minutes)

  • Gather students whole group.
  • Explain that today students will learn another poem about a toy from long ago. Just like yesterday’s poem, this one is special because there are movements to show the toy.
  • Using a document camera, display the “Little Ball” poem and read it aloud slowly, fluently, with expression, and without interruption.
  • Read the poem a second time, inviting students to join in.
  • Explain that you will now read the poem again and show students movements to go along with the words.
  • Read the poem a third time, showing the movements as you read.
  • Invite students to stand up safely. Provide reminders about personal space as needed.
  • Read and act out the movements of the poem again, inviting students to join in.
  • Instruct students to sit down carefully in their seats.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“Which size ball do you think would be the most fun to play with, little, bigger, or great big?”

  • Consider graphically representing the movements for students to visually reference to activate their memory as they join in the movements. (MMR, MME)
  • Some students may feel uncomfortable with the public performance of the movements. Consider giving them an alternative task, such as pointing to the words of the poem for the other students to follow along. (MME)

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Close Read-aloud Session 6: Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon, Pages 25–29 (20 minutes)

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

“I can describe how Gertie’s toy preferences changed using details in the text.”

  • Define preference (a person or thing that is liked better). Explain that today students will think about what kind of toy Gertie preferred at the beginning of the story and what kind of toys she prefers at the end of the story.
  • Invite students to take out their imaginary bows and take aim at the target while you recite the “Learning Target” poem aloud.
  • Guide students through the close read-aloud for Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon using the Close Read-aloud Guide: Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon (Session 6; for teacher reference)
  • Refer to the guide for the use of the Toys Molly Lou and Gertie Prefer anchor chart. Refer to the supporting materials for the Language Dive Guide and sentence strip chunks.
  • For ELLs: Activate students’ prior knowledge from previous lessons by highlighting that the word prefer can be found within preference. Underline or box it in. Discuss how the definitions of prefer and preference are similar. (MMR)
  • For ELLs: During or after Close Read-aloud Session 6, lead students through an optional Language Dive, using the Language Dive Guide (see supporting materials).

B. Developing Language: Creating a New Toy (30 minutes)

  • Invite students to move safely to sit around the edge of the whole group gathering area. Give reminders about moving safely as needed.
  • Direct their attention to the posted learning targets and read the second one aloud:

“I can create a toy using my drawing.”

  • Remind students that in Lesson 5, they imagined a new a toy and showed it with pictures and words. Review the definition of imagination (the power of the mind to make a thought or picture of something that is not real). Tell students that today they will create that toy using recycled objects! Define create (to bring into being).
  • Invite students to take out their imaginary bows and take aim at the target.
  • Distribute their drawings of toys, instructing them to place their drawing in their lap.
  • Prompt students to look at their drawing and think to themselves:

“What materials could you use to create your toy?”

  • Show students the sample of recycled materials from Lesson 5 and briefly model choosing materials to use for creating your toy:

1. Say:

“This work will be challenging, so I need to remind myself to keep trying even when it gets tricky.”

2. Look at the different recycled materials and say:

“I could use a box to make the body of my car, and these round bottle caps to make the wheels.”

3. Point out the masking tape strips and explain that this material will be helpful in the creation process.

4. Briefly model ripping a piece of tape off the strip and then using it to tape the bottle cap onto the box to represent a wheel on the car.

5. Put your box on one of the paper plates and say:

“Once I have created my toy, I will put it on this paper plate.”

  • Invite students to move to their work area with their drawing of a toy and begin creating their toy. Give reminders about sharing materials as needed.
  • As students work, circulate and engage with them about their creations, prompting them with questions such as:

“What would you like to create?”

“What are you using to create your toy?”

  • Also support students by assisting them with masking tape and prompting them to refer to their drawing as a “plan” for their toy creation.
  • After 15–20 minutes, signal all students to stop through the use of a designated sound, such as a chime or whistle.
  • Give instructions for cleanup, keeping them clear and brief. Assure students that unfinished toys can be finished at another time soon (e.g., structured playtime or art center).
  • Instruct students to bring their toy creations—on a paper plate—and walk safely to the whole group gathering area.
  • For ELLs: For students who may need additional support developing a toy individually, consider offering differentiated processes such as collaborating with a partner or in a small group to develop a toy. (MMAE)
  • For ELLs: Allow students to discuss the task in their home languages. (Example: “This task may be very difficult. To make it easier, you can take two minutes to talk about this with a partner who shares your home language. Then we can share in English.”)
  • For ELLs: Briefly model creating a toy for the class. Provide examples of other student-made toys from recycled materials. If unavailable, display a few premade toys and give students the option of using one as inspiration for their own toys.
  • For ELLs: Be aware that some students may find it strange or inappropriate that they are asked to work with materials that some may consider garbage. Explain that it is safe and healthy, and that many people use old materials to make new things. It is fun and creates less waste. Encourage students to be creative and try their best.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reflecting on Learning (5 minutes)

  • Invite students to sit in the whole group gathering area and place their toy (on the paper plate) in their lap.
  • Direct their attention to the posted learning targets and read the third one aloud:
    • “I can ask questions to learn about my classmates.”
  • Briefly review the Ways We Ask Others Questions anchor chart as necessary.
  • Explain that students will now have the opportunity to share their toy creation with a partner and ask their partner to describe his or her toy creation.
  • Referring to the Conversation Partner chart, invite students to pair up with their predetermined talking partner and sit facing each other. Make sure students know which partner is A and which is B.
  • Invite students to turn and talk with their partner:

“Can you describe your toy creation to me?”

  • If productive, cue students to listen carefully and seek to understand:

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

  • Refocus whole group and give students specific, positive feedback on asking questions to learn more about their classmate’s amazing toy creations! (Example: “Roy, I heard you ask your partner what would be fun to do with her toy creation. That is a great question to learn more about her toy.”)
  • Collect students’ toy creations or give explicit directions on where to store them.
  • Provide options for expression by offering sentence starters for questioning. Examples:
    • “What can you tell me about _____?”
    • “Why did you decide to _____?” (MME)
  • For ELLs: If some beginning students are still unable or too uncomfortable to express their ideas through speech, allow them to identify key elements by pointing to their creations. (Example: “Did you use a box to make your car? Point to the box that you used.”)
  • For ELLs: As students interact, identify a pair of ELLs who are successfully interacting to ask and answer questions. Invite them to demonstrate their exchange for the rest of the class.


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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