Independent Writing: The Character and Setting in My Weather Story | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA GK:M2:U3:L6

Independent Writing: The Character and Setting in My Weather Story

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • W.K.3: Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened.
  • W.K.5: With guidance and support from adults, respond to questions and suggestions from peers and add details to strengthen writing as needed.
  • L.K.1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • L.K.1a: Print many upper- and lowercase letters.
  • L.K.2: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
  • L.K.2c: Write a letter or letters for most consonant and short-vowel sounds (phonemes).
  • L.K.2d: Spell simple words phonetically, drawing on knowledge of sound-letter relationships.
  • L.K.6: Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts.

Daily Learning Target

  • I can tell the story of my character and the weather using pictures and words. (W.K.3, L.K.1a, L.K.2c, L.K.2d, L.K.6)
  • I can improve my writing using feedback from a partner. (W.K.5)

Ongoing Assessment

  • During Work Time B, as students complete the writing for their weather stories, circulate and note progress toward the writing and language standards of this lesson. (W.K.3, L.K.1a, L.K.2c, L.K.2d, L.K.6)
  • During Work Time C, listen for students to use the feedback their partner provides to support improving their weather stories. (W.K.5)

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Engaging the Learner: Making a Rain Shower (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Modeling: Drafting about Character for a Weather Narrative (15 minutes)

B. Independent Writing: Drafting about Character for My Weather Narrative (20 minutes)

C. Structured Discussion: Critiquing a Partner’s Work (15 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Reflecting on Learning (5 minutes)

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards:

  • Over the course of Lessons 6–9, students use the ideas they generated during Lessons 2–5 to compose the written portion of their weather stories (W.K.3, L.K.1a, L.K.2c, L.K.2d, and L.K.6).
  • The writing task is highly supported through focused teacher modeling and oral practice. This type of scaffolding helps young writers develop their writing skills in a developmentally appropriate way.
  • During Work Time B, students use their drawings to think about the written portion of their weather story (W.K.3, L.K.1a, L.K.2c, L.K.2d, and L.K.6). At this point in the year, most students will spell words phonetically, using beginning and ending consonants. Note students who do not yet seem to understand that the words they say can be written down or that sounds are associated with letters. These students will need additional support as you move into the next module. Encourage students who are comfortable writing and have extra time to add detail to their pictures.
  • During Work Time B, reference the Keyword cards for letter sounds to help students when writing. For example, remind students of the keyword associated with the letter “a” (alligator). Refer to the K-2 Reading Foundations Skills Block Learning Letters book for additional information.
  • During Work Time B, refer students to the Interactive High-Frequency Word Wall (at the back of the K–2 Reading Foundations Skills Block Teacher Guides).
  • During Work Time C, students begin to build skills in giving and receiving feedback (W.K.5). Having a safe and respectful classroom community is important to peer feedback being meaningful and successful, so continue to reinforce how to give kind, specific, and helpful feedback.

How this lesson builds on previous work:

  • Students draw on the experiences of reading The Snowy Day, planning a weather story, role-playing aspects of their story, and drawing to draft their story as they complete the written portion of the module performance task. In addition, as students write about the things their characters do and the clothing their characters wear, they are drawing on the knowledge they built in previous units of different types of weather and how it affects people.
  • Continue to use Goal 1–3 Conversation Cues to promote productive and equitable conversation.

Areas in which students may need additional support:

  • Look for opportunities to support students as they write about their characters and the weather. Consider supporting these students by seating them near anchor charts and models or by providing additional sentence frames as they write.

Down the road:

  • In Lessons 7–9, students will continue writing portions of their weather stories, focusing on one or two elements of their story each day.
  • In Lessons 12, the final lesson of this module, students will participate in the class’s Weather Expo, during which they will share their weather stories and other learning about weather with visitors to the classroom. The structure and setup of the Weather Expo relies on having one visitor for every four or five students. Consider inviting the principal, family and community members, and other teachers and classes to attend.

In Advance

  • Prepare the Peer Feedback anchor chart by writing it on chart paper.
  • Pre-distribute materials for Work Times A and B at student workspaces to ensure a smooth transition.
  • Post: Learning targets, enlarged copy of My Weather Story booklet, Hot Day chart, Windy Day chart, Snowy Day chart, Rainy Day chart, Conversation Partners chart, 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 Peer Feedback anchor chart in an online format—for example, a Google Doc—to display and for families to access at home to reinforce these skills.
  • Video record students critiquing their partner’s work to watch with students to evaluate strengths and areas for improvement. Post it on a teacher webpage or on a portfolio app such as Seesaw for students to watch at home with their families. Most devices (cellphones, tablets, laptop computers) come equipped with free video and audio recording apps or software.
  • Students complete their My Weather Story booklet using word-processing software—for example, a Google Doc.
  • Students use Speech to Text facilities activated on devices, or using an app or software such as Dragon Dictation.
  • If students were recorded participating in the Think-Pair-Share protocol in previous units, consider replaying these recordings to remind students of the process.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards K.I.C.10 and K.I.C.12

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs with opportunities to orally rehearse their ideas about characters and settings with peers before beginning to write.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to understand the writing process and structure of the My Weather Story booklet, as this is the first lesson students will return to their drawings to add writing. If necessary, provide additional modeling and remind students that they will soon write about all of their drawings to make a story.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • During the Mini Language Dive in Work Time C, ask students more open-ended questions to spark deeper discussion. Examples: “What does feedback mean? Can anyone provide an example of a time when you used feedback to improve your work?”
  • During Closing and Assessment A, invite a student to share the meaning of perseverance and to tell the class about a time when he or she persevered while working on something challenging.

For heavier support:

  • During Work Time C, some students may have trouble verbalizing their work. Circulate and help them identify key elements of their booklet and allow them to repeat words and phrases. Example: “It looks like you wrote, ‘One morning, Paco woke up and looked out the window.’ Can you read that to your partner as I point to the words you wrote?”)

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): Kindergarteners are still developing spelling and will benefit from environmental support to sound out words in their writing. Some students may need explicit prompting to use environmental print when they cannot recall letter sounds or sight words. As you model writing, emphasize process and effort by modeling how to sound out a word with tricky spelling and demonstrate how to use environmental print.
  • Multiple Means of Action & Expression (MMAE): Kindergartners have a range of fine motor abilities, and some students may benefit from differentiated tools for writing. Support students’ abilities to express their ideas by offering options for drawing utensils and writing tools such as fine-tipped markers and slant boards.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): In this lesson, student volunteers demonstrate the rain shower activity. To heighten the salience of objectives for community activities such as this, engage the class in discussion about and reflection on what students did well during the demonstration.

Vocabulary

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

New:

  • feedback, improve, kind, specific, helpful (L)

Review:

  • shower, character (L)

Materials

  • My Weather Story booklet (from Lesson 2; page 1; one for teacher modeling and one per student)
  • Peer Feedback anchor chart (new; teacher-created; see supporting materials)
  • High-Quality Work anchor chart (begun in Unit 2, Lesson 7)
  • Conversation Partners chart (from Module 1; one to display)
  • Speaking and Listening Checklist (for teacher reference; see Assessment Overview and Resources)
  • Perseverance anchor chart (begun in Unit 2, Lesson 7)
  • Think-Pair-Share Protocol anchor chart (begun in Module 1)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Engaging the Learner: Making a Rain Shower (5 minutes)

  • Invite students to stand in a spot around the edge of the whole group gathering area. As needed, remind students to move safely and make space for everyone.
  • Review the definition of shower (a period of rain that lasts a short time), reminding students that in the previous unit they made a rain shower with their bodies. Tell students that today they are going to do that again.
  • Select a few students to come to the middle of the circle and model the motions as you perform them all together.
  • Before beginning, make sure the class is quiet.
  • Initiate the process, taking 10–15 seconds for each step:
  1. Rub your fingers together softly.
  2. Rub your hands together, continuing to make a soft sound.
  3. Clap your hands softly.
  4. Snap your fingers (if students struggle to snap, hitting their thumb and forefingers together also works well).
  5. Clap your hands again, a bit more loudly.
  6. Slap your thighs with both hands.
  7. Slap your thighs and stomp your feet.
  8. Reverse this process until the group is quiet and still again.
  • Invite the entire class to join in as you repeat the process.
  • Refocus students whole group and invite them to be seated.
  • If productive, cue students to think about their thinking:

“How does our rain shower activity add to your understanding of rain showers? I’ll give you time to think and discuss with a partner.” (Responses will vary.)

  • After students model the rain shower motions, heighten salience of the objectives for community activities by inviting the class to discuss what students did well during the demonstration. Ask:
    • “What did you notice students do when they helped us do the rain shower activity together?” (They watched the teacher carefully for signals, they stayed in their own space, they sat down calmly after the activity was over.) (MME)

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Modeling: Drafting about Character for a Weather Narrative (15 minutes)

  • Remind students that in previous lessons they did a lot of hard work planning their weather stories by using puppets to think about the character, setting, and events in their stories and then drawing their ideas.
  • Share that today, they will use their drawings to think about what they will write for their weather stories and then they will write them.
  • Direct students’ attention to the posted learning targets and read the first one aloud:
    • “I can tell the story of my character and the weather using pictures and words.”
  • Briefly review the definition of character with students (a person in a story, play, or movie).
  • Direct students’ attention to the phrase tell the story in the learning target.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“What does tell the story mean? What does this learning target tell you about what you will do today?” (We will write about what happens to the character in our story.)

“What are the elements of a story?” (character, setting, events)

  • Direct students’ attention to page 1 of their My Weather Story booklet at their seats.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“What elements of the weather stories are on page 1 of the My Weather Story booklets?” (character and setting)

  • Invite students to turn to an elbow partner and take turns sharing the ideas about the character and setting from their drawings. Circulate to support students and consider asking questions to prompt their thinking and conversation:

“Who is your character? Describe him or her.”

“What type of weather will your character experience?”

  • Support students as needed in using the drawings to recall the character, setting, and weather they brainstormed.
  • Remind students that you also completed drawings to help you plan your weather story. Direct students’ attention to the displayed My Weather Story booklet and briefly review the ideas from page 1 of the booklet. (Example: “My character is a little boy named Fernando. He lives in a city and it was a very hot day.”)
  • Explain that you are going to use the ideas from your drawings of the character and setting to write about those things in your weather story.
  • Using the displayed My Weather Story booklet, model how to first orally rehearse your sentence:

1. Invite students to follow along in their own My Weather Story booklet as you read aloud the sentence frame that is at the bottom of page 1:

    • “One morning ______ woke up and looked out the window. It was going to be a _______ day.”

2. Think aloud about what you want to write, given the ideas you generated in your drawings.

3. Point to the pictures and labels you drew of your character and the weather and setting. Slowly think aloud what words you will use to fill in the blanks. Say: “My character’s name is Fernando. I decided to draw about a very hot day. So my sentences will say, ‘One morning Fernando woke up and looked out the window. It was going to be a hot day.’”

4. Repeat the full sentences fluently:

    • “One morning Fernando woke up and looked out the window. It was going to be a hot day.”
  • Tell students that they are now ready to add a sentence to their weather stories. They will use the pictures they drew to help them get started.
  • Invite students to turn to an elbow partner and do what you just did: say their sentence about their drawing of the weather out loud.
  • Direct students back to the sentence frame in the displayed My Weather Story booklet:
    • “One morning _________ woke up and looked out the window. It was going to be a _______ day.”
  • Circulate and support students in pointing to the appropriate parts of their drawings and help them connect the information in the pictures with the words they are saying.
  • As you circulate, identify one or two students to share their completed sentences.
  • Refocus the students whole group. Invite the one or two students you selected to share their sentences with the group.
  • Using the displayed My Weather Story booklet, model how to now complete the sentence in writing:
  1. Repeat the sentence fluently and point to each word as you read it.
  2. Point to the first blank in the sentence. Say: “This is where my character’s name goes.”
  3. Think aloud as you repeat the character’s name and listen for beginning and ending consonants. Model using a capital letter to start your character’s name.
  4. Point to the second blank in the sentence. Say: “I decided to write a story about a very hot day, so I will write hot in this blank.”
  5. Model using the resources around the room to support writing the weather word.
  6. Read the full sentence back to students, pointing to each word as you read.
  • When modeling how to write in the My Weather Story booklet, emphasize process and effort by modeling how to sound out a word with tricky spelling and demonstrate how to use environmental print to support spelling accuracy. (MMR)
  • For ELLs: Provide sentence frames to bolster student participation. (Examples: “My character is ______.” “She/he lives in _______. My character will experience a _____ day.”)
  • For ELLs: To ensure that the purpose of the teacher model and think-aloud is transparent, prompt students with a Conversation Cue: “Can you figure out why I am writing and thinking about page 1 of my journal for the whole class to see?” (Answers will vary, but could include: so we notice what you do; so we know what to do when it is our turn.)
  • For ELLs: Consider pairing students with a partner who has more advanced or native language proficiency. The partner with greater language proficiency can serve as a model in the pair, initiating discussions and providing implicit sentence frames, for example.
  • For ELLs: Before prompting students to share their sentences with the group, invite a pair of students to model sharing their sentences for the class.

B. Independent Writing: Drafting about Character for my Weather Narrative (20 minutes)

  • Inform students that they now will do what you just did: use their drawings to complete the first sentence of their weather stories.
  • Direct students’ attention back to their My Weather Story booklet. Invite them to complete the sentence at the bottom of page 1. Remind them that they are using words to show the information that they already put in their drawings.
  • Circulate to support students in using the strategies you modeled, prompting students to use the resources around the room, including the Keyword cards and High-Frequency Word Wall. If necessary, invite students to orally dictate their sentences to you.
  • Prompt students to improve their writing or drawings by asking specific questions:

“Did you capitalize your character’s name?”

“Did you use the resources around the room to help you spell any of your words?”

“Does your sentence match your picture?”

  • To help students express their ideas in the independent writing task, offer options for drawing utensils (e.g., thick markers or colored pencils) and writing tools (e.g., fine-tipped markers, pencil grips, slant boards). (MMAE)
  • Minimize distractions during independent writing by providing tools such as sound-canceling headphones or individual dividers. (MME)
  • For ELLs: Some students may need additional prompting to transition to working on the task independently. If necessary, use hand gestures to indicate that students will be writing on the bottom of the page. Display the teacher model next to a student booklet to clarify that they will be completing the same activity that was just modeled.
  • For ELLs: Display a checklist, annotated with illustrations, with the questions:
    • Did you capitalize your character’s name?
    • Did you use the resources around the room to help you spell any of your words?
    • Does your sentence match your picture?
  • Analyze the teacher model of the My Weather Story booklet to illustrate these questions, or briefly model composing a sentence with mistakes and non-examples. Model using the checklist to make appropriate corrections to the sentence.

C. Structured Discussion: Critiquing a Partner’s Work (15 minutes)

  • Refocus students whole group.
  • Offer students specific, positive feedback on their writing. (Example: “I noticed that Octavia and Justice worked hard to tap out the sounds in the names of their characters so they could hear all the sounds in those words.”)
  • Tell students that they have been working very hard on their weather stories, showing a lot of perseverance through this challenging task.
  • Tell students that another way that writers show perseverance is to work to improve their writing by asking others for feedback. Explain that feedback is giving useful information about someone’s work.
  • Direct students’ attention to the posted learning targets and read the second one aloud:
    • “I can improve my writing using feedback from a partner.”
  • Point out the word improve in the learning target and define it for students (to make better).
  • Tell students that today they will share their work with their conversation partner. That partner is going to listen and then offer feedback by pointing out one thing they did well and one thing they might add to or change about their story.
  • Tell students that when giving feedback to someone on their writing (that they have worked hard on), it is important to be kind and helpful at the same time. Tell students that they will want to give feedback to help their partner improve his or her writing, but that feedback should also not hurt their partner’s feelings.
  • Direct students’ attention to the posted Peer Feedback anchor chart and read it aloud:
    • “When we give feedback, we are: kind, specific, helpful.”
  • Define kind (gentle, good, and caring), specific (certain and exact, particular), and helpful (to be useful or of assistance) for students.
  • Tell students that you are going to model giving feedback that is kind, specific, and helpful.
  • Invite a student volunteer to help you model giving kind, specific, and helpful feedback:
  1. Invite the student volunteer to share his or her work with you.
  2. Model giving kind feedback by pointing out something that your partner did well using the sentence frame: “You did a good job of ________.”
  3. Model giving helpful and specific feedback by pointing out something you think the partner could add to or change about his or her story using the sentence frame: “I think you should ________ because _______.”
  4. Model referring to the High-Quality Work anchor chart to provide the criteria for your feedback.
  5. Thank your partner for sharing his or her work with you.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“What did you notice about the way I gave feedback to my partner on his/her writing?” (You were nice about it; you pointed out something specific; you suggested something your partner could change.)

  • Tell students that now it is their turn to share their work with a partner and give feedback to each other.
  • Referring to the Conversation Partners chart, invite students to partner up with their pre-determined talking partner and sit facing each other. Make sure students know which partner is A and which is B.
  • Invite students to begin sharing their work and giving feedback to their partner. Circulate and listen in. Take note of how students are interacting with one another using the Speaking and Listening Checklist.
  • Prompt students to use the sentence frames:
    • “You did a good job of _____________.”
    • “I think you should ________ because _________.”
  • Prompt students to support their feedback using criteria from the High-Quality Work anchor chart.
  • As needed, redirect students using the Peer Feedback anchor chart.
  • After both partners have shared and offered feedback, refocus students whole group.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:
  • “What is one piece of feedback your partner gave you that you will use to improve your writing?” (Responses will vary.)
  • As students share feedback with partners, foster community by prompting students to respond after they have received feedback. Example: “Octavia just told you that your writing is neat, and that you could make your drawing even better by shading the face in right to the edge. How could you respond so she knows you were listening to her thoughtful feedback?” (Thank you, and I agree. I will work on shading the face to make my drawing even better.) (MME)
  • For ELLs: Illustrate the meaning of improve by drawing a sloppy sketch of a smiley face, and then drawing a neat one. Ask students how you improved the drawing. Example: “How did I improve my drawing?” (You made the eyes the same size. I couldn’t tell it was a face before, and now I can.)
  • For ELLs: Mini Language Dive. Ask students about the meaning of the chunks of a key sentence from the learning target: “I can improve my writing using feedback from a partner.” Write and display student responses next to the chunks. Examples:
  • “What does this sentence mean?” Responses will vary.)
    • Point to and read aloud the chunk I and ask:
  • “Who is this sentence about?” (me; students)
    • Point to and read aloud the chunk can improve my writing and ask:
  • “What will you be able to do?” (make our writing better.)
    • Point to and read aloud the chunk using feedback and ask:
  • “What help can we use to make our writing better?” (feedback; helpful information about our work)
    • Point to and read aloud the chunk from a partner and ask:
  • “Who is going to tell us this helpful information?” (our partner)
  • “Now what do you think this sentence means?” (Our partners will tell us information. We can use the information to make our writing better.)
  • For ELLs: Illustrate the meaning of specific feedback by drawing a smiley face and comparing specific and unspecific feedback about the drawing. (Examples: “If I say, ‘Make it better,’ is that specific?” “What if I say, ‘Make the face round’?”)
  • For ELLs: Annotate the Peer Feedback anchor chart with the sentence frames and student observations from the model of feedback. (Example: Saying, ‘You did a good job of coloring’ is kind, so I am going to add this to the anchor chart next to kind. Let’s practice again while we look at the chart. You. Did. A. Good. Job. Of. Coloring.”)

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reflecting on Learning (5 minutes)

  • Refocus students whole group.
  • Offer students specific, positive feedback on their conversations giving feedback to one another. (Example: “I heard partners giving very helpful feedback to each other.”)
  • Tell students they have shown a lot of perseverance as they planned and are writing their weather stories. Remind them that writing a story is challenging work.
  • Direct students’ attention to the Perseverance anchor chart and read it aloud:
    • “Perseverance means … I challenge myself; when something is hard, I keep trying; and I ask for help when I need it.”
  • Tell students they are going to use the Think-Pair-Share protocol to reflect on how they have shown perseverance when working on their weather stories. Remind them that they used this protocol in many previous lessons. Review as necessary using the Think-Pair-Share Protocol anchor chart. (Refer to the Classroom Protocols document for the full version of the protocol.)
  • Referring to the Conversation Partners chart, invite students to partner up with their pre-determined talking partner and sit facing each other. Make sure students know which partner is A and which is B.
  • Invite partners to Think-Pair-Share with their elbow partner:

“How did you show perseverance as you planned and wrote the first part of your weather story?”

  • If productive, cue students to expand the conversation by giving an example:

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

  • Refocus students whole group. Offer specific, positive feedback on how students showed perseverance during today’s lesson. (Example: “I noticed that many of you showed perseverance by identifying ways you want to continue to improve your writing.”)
  • Tell students that in the next lesson, they will continue writing their weather stories.
  • For ELLs: Remind students about the meaning of perseverance. Tell a story about a time when you or a student in class persevered to do something challenging. (Example: “I noticed that Kendra was having such a difficult time writing her name. She tried and tried again. She didn’t think she would ever be able to do it. But guess what? She kept trying. She persevered, and now she can do it! Perseverance really helped her succeed.”)

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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