Speaking and Listening: Preparing to Write Weather Stories | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA GK:M2:U3:L1

Speaking and Listening: Preparing to Write Weather Stories

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • SL.K.1: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • SL.K.1a: Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others and taking turns speaking about the topics and texts under discussion).
  • L.K.6: Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts.

Daily Learning Target

  • I can work with my classmates to create an expert meteorologist chart. (SL.K.1, L.K.6)

Ongoing Assessment

  • During Work Time A, monitor students’ general understanding of The Snowy Day.
  • During Work Time B, circulate and observe students as they work collaboratively to create the expert meteorologist charts. Notice if students are able to correctly select appropriate clothing and activities for the type of weather listed on their chart. (SL.K.1, L.K.6)
  • During the Closing, circulate as students share their weather story ideas with a partner. Listen for students to discuss the kind of weather story they would like to write, as well as the actions that might take place in their story. (SL.K.1, SL.K.1a)

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Engaging the Learner: “Sofia the Storyteller” Story (10 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Reading Aloud: The Snowy Day (10 minutes)

B. Engaging the Writer: The Snowy Day as a Mentor Text (5 minutes)

C. Developing Language: Creating Expert Meteorologist Charts (25 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Preparing to Write: Planting Story Seeds (10 minutes)

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards:

  • In the Opening, students are introduced to a new challenge from Sofia: to showcase their knowledge about weather and understanding of stories by writing their own weather story. The Unit 3 guiding question reflects this challenge: “How can I write a story that teaches my reader about the weather?” Students’ weather stories will serve as the performance task for the module: Students will use their learning about weather and stories from Units 1 and 2 to craft their own story (W.K.2).
  • During Work Time A, students hear The Snowy Day read aloud for enjoyment and general understanding. During Work Time B, students are introduced to the idea of this as a mentor text. A mentor text illustrates some aspect of author’s craft that students can analyze and emulate. These kinds of texts work best when they are read repeatedly and the teacher guides students to understand what makes the author’s craft effective.
  • In Work Time B, students collaborate in small groups (four or five students each) to create “expert meteorologist charts” that show their growing weather knowledge about three types of weather. Students will use these notes as they brainstorm and write their imaginary weather narratives throughout the unit.
  • In the Closing, students use these expert meteorologist charts to help them brainstorm ideas for their weather stories. Orally rehearsing their ideas before they draw them (in Lesson 2) helps all learners build strong oral language skills.

How this lesson builds on previous work:

  • Throughout Units 1 and 2, students have been encouraged to view themselves as developing meteorologists, scientists who are experts in studying the weather. During Work Time B, students draw on this weather knowledge as they create the expert meteorologist charts.
  • Throughout Unit 2, students were introduced to Goal 3 Conversation Cues to promote productive and equitable conversation. Continue using Goal 1–3 Conversation Cues in this way, considering suggestions within lessons. Refer to the Unit 1, Lesson 3 Teaching Notes and see the Tools page for additional information on Conversation Cues.

Areas in which students may need additional support:

  • Collaborating on an expert meteorologist chart will be a challenge for some students. Consider enlisting the help of other adults to guide and manage small group work in Work Time B.

Down the road:

  • Students will use The Snowy Day as a model as they write their own weather stories in Lessons 2–9. Both the Clothing to Wear and Activities to Do sections of the charts provide information and vocabulary that students can use as they draw and write their weather stories.

In Advance

  • Preview:
    • The Snowy Day to familiarize yourself with the story.
    • The teacher modeling with the Snowy Day chart in Work Time B, to be prepared to model in a way that feels natural for you.
  • Prepare the expert meteorologist charts—Snowy Day, Hot Day, Windy Day, and Rainy Day—by writing the title and section headings on blank chart paper (one for Snowy Day and two each for Hot Day, Windy Day, and Rainy Day).
  • Pre-distribute materials for Work Time B at student workspaces to ensure a smooth transition.
  • Pre-determine small groups for collaborative work during Work Time B. Consider breaking students up into six groups—two groups each for the three types of weather about which they will create the Weather Research Notes (Hot Day, Windy Day, and Rainy Day) to keep group sizes to four or five students.
  • If possible, consider inviting a few extra adults (classroom family members or school colleagues) to assist students during Work Time B. These adults could help students glue items onto their chart and dictate information onto each chart as needed.
  • Post: Learning targets, “Sofia the Storyteller” text, Snowy Day chart, Hot Day charts, Windy Day charts, and Rainy Day charts, and applicable anchor charts (see materials list).

Tech and Multimedia

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

  • Create the expert meteorologist charts in an online format—for example, a Google Doc—to display and share with families.
  • Use a search engine such as Google to find additional images of clothing and activities to do for students to add to their expert meteorologist charts.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards K.I.A.1 and K.I.B.5

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs through the comprehensive scaffolding of collaborating to create meteorologist charts and through opportunities to use verbal language in a structured way.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to listen to The Snowy Day without stopping, especially if they do not understand some of the language used in the text. Encourage students to use the pictures to help them understand what is happening in the story. Tell them that if they do not understand everything right now, it is okay. Remind students that they will read the text again in the next four lessons.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • During the read-aloud, invite more proficient ELLs to provide sentence frames for Think-Pair-Shares. (Example: The snow affected Peter’s day because _____.)

For heavier support:

  • During Work Time C, as students create their expert meteorologist charts, support language development by asking students questions that encourage them to participate. (Examples: Can you tell me about what you drew here for a rainy day? Why do you think the sunglasses would be appropriate to wear on a sunny day?)

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): Some students will need increased access to texts to process texts that are read aloud. To support comprehension, offer students alternatives for auditory information by sharing texts (“Sofia the Storyteller” and The Snowy Day) on a document camera or projector.
  • Multiple Means of Action & Expression (MMAE): Some students will better understand material with the opportunity to engage physically. Provide options for physical action by inviting children to act out sections of the Snowy Day chart.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): Students are more likely to use new vocabulary when they are able to see how it applies to their own lives. When introducing new vocabulary words (such as mentor), optimize relevance by helping students connect this new word to individuals who may have mentored them by teaching or coaching them outside of school.

Vocabulary

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

New:

  • mentor, expert, chart (L)

Review:

  • meteorologist (L)

Materials

  • Sofia paper doll (from Unit 1, Lesson 1; one to display)
  • “Sofia the Storyteller” (one to display; for teacher read-aloud)
  • The Snowy Day (one to display; for teacher read-aloud)
  • Unit 3 Guiding Question anchor chart (new; teacher-created; see supporting materials)
  • Expert meteorologist charts (new; co-created with students during Work Time B)
    • Snowy Day chart (one; for teacher modeling)
    • Hot Day chart (two; created by students in small groups during Work Time B)
    • Windy Day chart (two; created by students in small groups during Work Time B)
    • Rainy Day chart (two; created by students in small groups during Work Time B)
  • Clothing pictures (one set for teacher modeling and one set per group of four or five students)
  • Crayons (one set for teacher modeling and one set per groups of four or five students)
  • Glue sticks (one for teacher modeling and one per student)
  • Blank card (one for teacher modeling and one per student)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Engaging the Learner: “Sofia the Storyteller” Story (10 minutes)

  • Gather students in the whole group area.
  • Display the Sofia paper doll.
  • Remind students that they have persevered in the challenge to learn a lot about weather and become meteorologists.
  • Tell students that today is an exciting day because you have a new “Curious Sofia” story to read to them. In this story, Sofia has a writing challenge for all of us!
  • Display “Sofia the Storyteller” and read aloud pages 1 and 2 slowly, fluently, with expression, and without interruption.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“Do you recognize the book that Sofia is reading?” (Responses will vary, depending on students’ familiarity with the text The Snowy Day.)

  • While still displaying the text, read aloud page 3. Ask:

“Would you like to hear the story that Sofia found?

  • As you read “Sofia the Storyteller,” offer students alternatives for auditory information by sharing the story on a document camera or projector. (MMR)
  • ELLs may not understand why the story is not read in its entirety during the Opening. Consider telling students you will return to the story later in the lesson.
  • For ELLs: Mini Language Dive. Ask students about the meaning of a phrase from “Sofia the Storyteller: the world around her. Write and display student responses next to the chunk. Examples:
    • Remind students that in Unit 2 they learned about the phrase around the world. Write this phrase on the board and ask:
  •  “Do you remember what around the world means?” (to travel to different places and countries in the world)
  • “Knowing what around the world means, what do you think the world around her means in ‘Sofia the Storyteller’?” (Responses will vary.)
    • Invite students to point their finger to everything around them.
    • Ask:
  • “What are some different places your finger is pointing to?” (the board; the shelves; the ceiling)
  • “In your own words, what do you think the world around her means? (everything that surrounds her)

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reading Aloud: The Snowy Day (10 minutes)

  • Introduce The Snowy Day by showing students the cover and reading the title aloud.
  • Share that this text is a story about a little boy whose day is affected by the snowy weather. Invite students to remember that the weather affects what people wear and do every day.
  • Tell them that first, they are just going to listen to the story and enjoy it.
  • While still displaying the text, complete a first read of the text, reading slowly, fluently, and without interruption.
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share with an elbow partner:

“How was Peter’s day affected by the snowy weather? What did he wear? What activities did he do?” (Peter’s day was affected because he played outside in the snow all day; Peter wore a snow suit; Peter made tracks in the snow, built a snowman, made a snow angel, slid down a hill, and made a snowball.)

  • If productive, cue students to provide evidence:

“What, in the text, makes you think so?” (Responses will vary.)

  • Refocus students whole group and select students to share out.
  • After reading, promote comprehension by prompting children to discuss what happened to Peter’s snowball. (Example: “When Peter looked in his pocket, his snowball was gone and he was sad. What do you think happened?”) (MMR)
  • For ELLs: Review the meaning of the word affected by rephrasing the question “How was Peter’s day affected by the snowy weather?” (Examples: “What did Peter do because of the snow?” “How did the snow affect Peter’s activities?”)
  • For ELLs: Pair students with a partner who has more advanced or native language proficiency. The partner with greater language proficiency in the pair can serve as a model during the read-aloud, initiating discussions and providing implicit sentence frames.
  • For ELLs: During the read-aloud, display the text on a document camera or an enlarged copy of the text to help direct students to the appropriate sentences on each page.

B. Engaging the Writer: The Snowy Day as a Mentor Text (5 minutes)

  • Display page 4 of “Sofia the Storyteller” and read it aloud slowly, fluently, with expression, and without stopping.
  • Display the Unit 3 Guiding Question anchor chart and read the question aloud:
    • “How can I write a story that teaches my reader about the weather?”
  • Tell students that in addition to this being a great story about weather, The Snowy Day can also be a book that helps us as writers. We call this kind of book a mentor text.
  • Define mentor (a coach or teacher), and share that the author of this text, Ezra Jack Keats, is a mentor for students because he is an excellent writer. Students can use this text, The Snowy Day, to learn how to write their own weather story.
  • Share that students will work to answer Sofia’s question by writing their own weather stories over the next few weeks. They will even get to share their stories with classroom visitors!
  • When introducing the word mentor, optimize relevance by helping students connect this new word to their previous experiences. Ask:

“Can you think about someone you know besides me who coaches you or teaches you something? Give a silent signal if you can think of a mentor.”

  • Select a few volunteers to share who their mentors are and what they teach them. (MME)

C. Developing Language: Creating Expert Meteorologist Charts (25 minutes)

  • Direct students’ attention to the posted learning target and read it aloud:

“I can work with my classmates to create an expert meteorologist chart.”

  • Reread the target, emphasizing the words expert and meteorologist.
  • Review the definition of meteorologist (scientist who studies the earth’s weather and climate).
  • Define expert (someone who knows a lot about a particular thing). Share that because students are becoming expert meteorologists now, they are ready to work together to create an expert meteorologist chart (a sheet that gives information) about different kinds of weather.
  • Invite students to take out their imaginary bows and to take aim at the target.
  • Direct students’ attention to the Snowy Day chart.
  • Point out that the title of the chart names what kind of weather this chart teaches the reader about: snow.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“What other kinds of weather could we record information about?” (sunny, windy, rainy)

  • After several students share out, show students the other expert meteorologists charts and read each chart title aloud: Hot Day chart, Windy Day chart, Rainy Day chart.
  • Remind students that they will use these charts to help them as they begin to write weather stories in the next lesson.
  • Refer to the Snowy Day chart again. Read each section title aloud:
    • “Clothing to Wear”
    • “Activities to Do”
  • Tell students that for each kind of weather, they will put information into each section of the chart.
  • Invite students to turn and talk to an elbow partner:

“What clothing would be appropriate to wear in snowy weather?” (boots, snowsuit, mittens, hat)

  • On the Snowy Day chart, model adding to the Clothing to Wear section:
  1. Choose a clothing picture that is appropriate for snowy weather (e.g., coat, mittens, or snow boots).
  2. Using crayons, color the clothing picture.
  3. Using a glue stick, secure the picture in the Clothing to Wear section.
  • Invite students to turn and talk to an elbow partner:

“What activities would be appropriate to do in snowy weather?” (making a snow angel, sledding, taking a walk in the snow)

  • Still on the Snowy Day chart, model adding to the Activities to Do section:
  1. On a blank card, think aloud about an activity that is appropriate for snowy weather. (Example: “Hmm, when it snows I love to make snowballs.”)
  2. Using crayons, sketch the activity on the blank card.
  3. Using a glue stick, secure the card in the Activities to Do section.
  • Share that students will work on only one expert meteorologist chart in today’s lesson in a small group. Each group will have either a Rainy Day, Hot Day, or Windy Day chart since they’ve already completed the Snowy Day chart as a whole class.
  • Emphasize that each student will add a clothing picture and draw an activity for his or her chart.
  • Divide students into pre-determined small groups and invite each group to walk safely to their workspace.
  • When all students have moved safely to their workspaces, refocus students whole group.
  • Invite students to turn and talk to a partner in their group:

“What clothing would be appropriate to wear in the weather on your chart?” (Responses will vary, but should include clothing items that match the weather on their chart.)

  • If productive, cue students with a challenge:

“Can you figure out what kind of clothing would be inappropriate to wear? I’ll give you time to think and discuss with a partner.” (Responses will vary.)

  • Invite groups to begin working on their chart, specifically the Clothing to Wear section. Circulate and assist students in finding appropriate clothing pictures, coloring the pictures, and/or gluing the clothing pictures onto the chart.
  • After 5–7 minutes, signal all students to stop working and refocus students whole group.
  • Invite students to turn and talk to a partner in their group:

“What activities would be appropriate to do in the weather on your chart?” (Responses will vary, but should include activities that match the weather on their chart.)

  • Direct students to now complete the Activities to Do section of their chart. Circulate and help students think about an activity to draw, draw the activity on the blank card, and/or glue the card to their chart.
  • As time permits, dictate the name of the activity beside each card on the chart.
  • After 5–7 minutes, signal all students to stop working.
  • Give directions for cleanup, instructing students to bring their completed charts to the whole group area for the Closing.
  • When discussing the Snowy Day chart, contextualize the discussion based on students’ experiences with climate. For example, some students may have never seen snow. (MME)
  • When reviewing the Clothing to Wear and Activities to Do sections of the Snowy Day chart, provide options for physical action by inviting children to act out putting on clothing (warm coat, mittens, and snow boots) and/or engaging in activities (making a snow angel, sledding, taking a walk in the snow). (MMAE)
  • For ELLs: Create groups with varying levels of language proficiency. The students with greater language proficiency can serve as models in the group, initiating discussions and providing implicit sentence frames. If possible, consider grouping students who speak the same home language together to help one another interpret and comprehend the conversation in their home languages.
  • ELLs might not understand how the word gives is used in the phrase a sheet that gives information when they are talking about what a chart is. Clarify how this word is used by showing another chart the students are familiar with (i.e., the Temperature chart from Unit 1) and pointing out the information that particular chart gives or shows.
  • For ELLs: After showing students the titles of the four meteorologist charts, consider eliciting examples of each kind of weather and drawing a small icon by the poster (example: a sun by the Hot Day chart). This visual support can help students as they work on creating the charts later.
  • For ELLs: Before modeling how to add to the Clothing to Wear section, review all the clothing pictures by pointing to them as students say their names.
  • For ELLs: Some students may be confused about why a pair of sunglasses and an umbrella are included with the “clothing to wear” pictures. Explain that although the sunglasses and the umbrella are not clothing, they are accessories you need in different kinds of weather.
  • For ELLs: After you ask, “What clothing would be appropriate to wear in the weather on your chart?” discuss the meaning of the word appropriate since it is used several times throughout this lesson. Ask: “What do you think the word appropriate means here?” (exact, right) “Would it be appropriate to wear a swimsuit on a snow day?” (yes)

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Preparing to Write: Planting Story Seeds (10 minutes)

  • Gather students back together. Display the Rainy Day chart, Snowy Day chart, Windy Day chart, and Hot Day chart.
  • Remind students that Sofia challenged them to write their own weather story just like The Snowy Day.
  • Share that now, students will look at the charts and think of an idea for their own weather story. The story can be one they imagine, as long as it is about a real weather event on a rainy, snowy, windy, or hot day.
  • Invite students to look carefully at the information on the charts: Clothing to Wear and Activities to Do.
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share with an elbow partner:

“What kind of weather story would you like to write?” Again, remind students of their four choices: a rainy day story, a snowy day story, a windy day story, or a hot day story.

  • Refocus students whole group and invite several students to share the kind of weather story they would like to write with the whole group. (Example: I would like to write a rainy day story.) If needed, provide a sentence stem for sharing: “I would like to write a ____ day story.”
  • Prompt students to view the four charts again. Point to the Activities to Do section. Remind students that they can use these charts as resources to help them think of an idea for something that could happen in their weather story.
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share with an elbow partner:

“Think about the kind of weather story you would like to write. Look at the chart that matches that kind of weather. What might happen in your weather story?” (Responses will vary, but should include activities that a character might do in their weather story.)

  • If productive, cue students to listen carefully:

“Who can repeat what your classmate said?” (Responses will vary.)

  • Refocus students whole group. Invite several students to share what might happen in their weather story with the whole group. (Example: In my rainy day story, a little boy will find a huge puddle to splash in!) As needed, guide students toward sharing about an activity that matches the weather as a story idea.
  • Tell students that in the next lesson, they will begin writing their own weather story based on their ideas. Share that it will take lots of perseverance to tackle Sofia’s challenge to write a great weather story like The Snowy Day!
  • For ELLs: Give students time to process the charts by inviting each group to quickly present their chart to the class before thinking about what kind of weather story to write about. (Example: “Before you think about your story, let’s see what information each of the expert meteorologist charts gives. This will help us think about what to write. Let’s hear from each group now.”)

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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