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ELA GK:M2:U3

Writing Imaginary Narratives: My Weather Story

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In Unit 3, students learn how to write narratives. Curious Sofia returns one last time, this time sharing a beloved weather narrative, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, with the kindergarten students. Students consider the Unit 3 guiding question—“How can I write a story that teaches my reader about weather?”—as they analyze The Snowy Day as a mentor text about a character whose day is affected by the weather. Students brainstorm ideas, create puppets of their own imaginary character, and engage in role-play activities as they illustrate and write an imaginary weather narrative, the performance task for the module. Students also practice giving and receiving feedback to make their writing stronger.

Toward the end of the unit, students engage in the Unit 3 Assessment, a speaking and listening assessment during which they reflect on their processes as writers (SL.K.4, SL.K.6, and L.K.1). This assessment also serves as preparation for the module culmination, a Weather Expo, in which students share their completed weather narratives, as well as their weather journals and interactive class map from Unit 2.

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • How can I write a story that teaches my reader about weather?
  • Weather has a great impact on the daily life of living things.
  • Weather affects the choices we make.
  • People write stories to entertain and teach others.

The Four T's

  • Topic: Writing Weather Stories
  • Task: Reflecting on My Weather Story
  • Targets: (standards explicitly taught and assessed) SL.K.4, SL.K.6, L.K.1, and L.K.6
  • Text: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

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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Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards and to be taught during the content-based block of the school day. This module also intentionally incorporates social studies content that many teachers across the nation are expected to address in kindergarten. These intentional connections are described below. (Based on your state or district context, teachers may also choose to address additional specific social studies standards during other parts of the school day.)

Science (based on NGSS):

  • ESS2.D: Weather and Climate
  • Weather is a combination of sunlight, wind, snow or rain, and temperature in a particular region at a particular time. People measure these conditions to describe and record the weather and to notice patterns over time.

C3 Framework for Social Studies:

  • D2.Geo.4.K-2: Explain how weather, climate, and other environmental characteristics affect people’s lives in a place or region.

Habits of Character/Social-Emotional Learning Focus

Central to EL Education curriculum is a focus on “habits of character” and social-emotional learning. Students work to become effective learners, developing mindsets and skills for success in college, career, and life (e.g., initiative, responsibility, perseverance, collaboration); work to become ethical people, treating others well and standing up for what is right (e.g., empathy, integrity, respect, compassion); and work to contribute to a better world, putting their learning to use to improve communities (e.g., citizenship, service).

In this module, students work to become effective learners: develop the mindsets and skills for success in college, career, and life. Throughout Unit 3, students continue to practice perseverance (one specific habit of character) as they draft, edit, and revise the imaginary narratives for the performance task.

Unit-at-a-Glance

Each unit is made up of a sequence of between 5-20 lessons. The “unit at a glance” chart in the curriculum map breaks down each unit into its lessons, to show how the curriculum is organized in terms of standards address, supporting targets, ongoing assessment, and protocols. It also indicates which lessons include the mid-unit and end-of-unit assessments.

Accountable Independent Reading

The ability to read and comprehend text is the heart of literacy instruction. Comprehension is taught, reinforced, and assessed across all three components of this primary curriculum: imodule lessons, Labs, and the Reading Foundations Skills block (see Module Overview).

For Unit 3, during the independent reading in the Skills block, reinforce the comprehension skills and standards that students are practicing during the Integrated Literacy block:

  • RL.K.3: With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
    • Invite students to identify the character, setting, and events in a story they read independently.

Supporting English Language Learners

Whereas the Meeting Students’ Needs column in each lesson contains support for both ELLs and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), ELLs have unique needs that cannot always be met with UDL support. According to federal guidelines, ELLs must be given access to the curriculum with appropriate supports, such as those that are identified for ELLs in the Meeting Students’ Needs column.

  • Prioritizing lessons for classrooms with many ELLs: Consider prioritizing and expanding instruction in Lessons 2–5 in which students discuss and practice identifying story elements in a focused read-aloud of the mentor text The Snowy Day and complete a Language Dive. Some students may find transferring the story elements they discuss in that story to the planning of their own My Weather Story particularly challenging. This will afford greater opportunity to prepare for the Unit 3 Assessment. If necessary, place less focus and condense instruction on playing the game “Sofia Says” in Lessons 2–5.
  • Language Dives: This unit includes only an optional Language Dive for ELLs in Lesson 3. Many lessons also include optional Mini Language Dives for ELLs. To maximize language practice and accommodate time, consider dividing or reviewing each Language Dive over multiple lessons. Beginning in module 2 and going forward, create a “Language Chunk Wall”—an area in the classroom where students can display and categorize the academic phrases discussed in the Language Dive. At the end of each Language Dive, students are invited to place the Language Dive sentence strip chunks on the Language Chunk Wall into corresponding categories, such as “Nouns and noun phrases” or “Linking language.” Consider color-coding each category. Examples: blue for nouns and subjects; purple for pronouns; red for predicates and verbs; yellow for adjectives; and green for adverbs. See each Language Dive for suggested categories. Students can then refer to the wall during subsequent speaking and writing tasks. For more information on Language Dives, refer to the Supporting English Language Learners Guidance and the Tools page.
  • Goal 3 Conversation Cues: Continue to encourage productive and equitable conversation using Goal 1–3 Conversation Cues, which are questions teachers can ask students to help achieve four goals: (Goal 1) encourage all students to talk and be understood; (Goal 2) listen carefully to one another and seek to understand; (Goal 3) deepen thinking; and (Goal 4) think with others to expand the conversation (adapted from Michaels, Sarah and O’Connor, Cathy. Talk Science Primer. Cambridge, MA: TERC, 2012. Based on Chapin, S., O’Connor, C., and Anderson, N.  [2009]. Classroom Discussions: Using Math Talk to Help Students Learn, Grades K–6. Second Edition. Sausalito, CA: Math Solutions Publications). Goal 3 Conversation Cues are introduced in Unit 2 of this module. See the Tools page for the complete set of cues. Heightened language processing and development is a primary potential benefit for ELLs.
  • Diversity and inclusion: Investigate the routines, practices, rituals, beliefs, norms, and experiences that are important to ELLs and their families. Integrate this background into the classroom as students continue to think about how the weather affects the choices people make about what to wear and what to do each day. During this unit, students read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats to understand how the weather on a particular day affected what a person wore and what they did. Provide students opportunities to share their own experience with different kinds of weather (snowy, rainy, windy, hot). Consult with a guidance counselor, school social worker, or ESL teacher for further investigation of diversity and inclusion concerns.
  • Strategic grouping: As students are invited to pair up for various tasks and protocols, seriously consider matching ELLs to a partner who has greater language proficiency. The conversations that happen as a result of such strategic grouping will greatly serve the language development of both partners.
  • Language processing time: Give ELLs sufficient time to think about what they want to say before they answer questions, share with other students, or write.
  • Close reading and identifying story elements: Students will participate in a series of close reading sessions during which they will hone their comprehension and interpretive skills by asking and answering questions about how people respond to the weather and by identifying story elements, such as characters and major events. Some students may grapple with recalling and sequencing major events. Provide additional support with this skill when possible. Use manipulatives and familiar examples to reinforce the skill.
  • Rehearsing and writing My Weather Story: Using the book The Snowy Day as a mentor text, students plan and write an imaginary narrative about how the weather on a particular day affected what a person wore and what they did. Before writing, students participate in a protocol that prompts them to plan and orally rehearse their writing. Students benefit from explicitly modeled lessons that support them, step by step, as they complete their My Weather Story booklets independently. Students also revise, edit, and practice reading their original narratives in preparation for sharing them with families and friends at an end-of-module Weather Expo. Some students may need additional modeling before they feel confident enough to complete the task independently. Students who have trouble with writing may also benefit from having an adult scribe their ideas initially.
  • Role play: In Lesson 2, students create a puppet that matches the character in their My Weather Story booklet. Later, in Lessons 3, 4, and 5, they use the puppet to role-play the weather and setting of their weather story, the major events of their weather story, and their character’s reaction in their weather story with a partner. Notice if students are able to verbalize and show the character’s emotions using the character puppet and facial expressions. Although this activity is inherently supportive of ELLs, some students may be hesitant to perform. Empower students to speak up if they need support from teachers or peers.
  • Celebration: Celebrate the courage, enthusiasm, diversity, and bilingual skills that ELLs bring to the classroom.

Texts to Buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please refer to Trade Book List for procurement guidance.

Text Quantity ISBNs
The Snowy Day
by Ezra Jack Keats
Six per Classroom

Materials

For basic lesson preparation, refer to the materials list and Teaching Notes in each lesson. The following are unusual materials that may take more time or effort to organize or prepare.

  • Lesson 1: Prepare the expert meteorologist charts for each small group of students.
  • Lesson 2: If not already done, write a label beside each card in the Activities to Do section of the expert meteorologist charts that students created in Lesson 1. Prepare a My Weather Story booklet for each student.
  • Lessons 10–11: Divide the class into four groups: A, B, C, and D. Ensure materials needed for each group are set up in their designated spaces.
  • Lesson 12: Ensure visitors are available to attend the Weather Expo in this lesson (approximately one or two visitors for each group of four to five students).

 

Technology and Multimedia

  • Google Docs - Create writing products: Students complete their Meteorologist’s notebooks in Google Docs. Students complete their poem and poetry presentation in Google Docs. Students write their My Weather Story booklet in Google Docs.
  • Speech to Text - To create writing by speaking: Students create written work by speaking using speech-to-text technology. Dragon Dictation (many newer devices already have this capability. There are also free apps for this purpose, including Dragon Dictation.)
  • Seesaw - Create student learning portfolios to share with other students, families, and the teacher: Consider audio/video recording students singing “What Makes Weather?” and “What’s the Weather like Today?” to share with families. Consider audio/video recording students reading the poems “Snowflakes” and “Clouds” to share with families.

Labs

Labs are 1 hour of instruction per day.  They are designed to promote student proficiency and growth.

There are 5 distinct Labs: Explore, Engineer, Create, Imagine, and Research. Each of the Labs unfolds across an entire module and takes place in four stages:  Launch, Practice, Extend, and Choice and Challenge.

During their Lab time, students break up into smaller Lab groups and go to separate workstations (tables or other work spaces around the classroom). This structure creates a small collaborative atmosphere in which students will work throughout their Labs experience. It also supports the management of materials (since each workstation has its own materials).

Optional: Community, Experts, Fieldwork, Service, and Extensions

Community:

  • Invite an older class of students (e.g., second grade) to visit the kindergarten class and assist kindergarten students in navigating a student-friendly weather website.
  • If there are students in your classroom with family living far away, invite them to contact their family members and interview them about how the weather is where they live.
  • Invite loved ones of students to visit and share a personal “weather story.”

Experts:

  • Invite a meteorologist to visit the classroom to share knowledge about the weather, weather reports he or she has made, and any sort of tools or devices he or she uses to observe, track, and report on the weather.
  • If living in a rural community in which agriculture is prominent, invite a farmer to visit the classroom and share about how the weather affects his or her work and life.
  • Invite a local author into the classroom to speak about his or her life as a professional writer.

Fieldwork:

  • Visit a local news station to meet a meteorologist.
  • Visit a local science museum or weather center to learn more about weather science.
  • Interview senior citizens living in the community about a major weather event that they encountered in their life.
  • Go to the local library or a bookstore to search for, read, and check out other stories about weather.

Service:

  • Share the class weather journal with other classes in the school.
  • Create a “Preparing for Recess” chart for the school. Create a large chart using weather and clothing icons and display it in a prominent place to help the school community be prepared for recess each day.
  • Work with the school administration to find a way for kindergarten students to share a daily weather report with the school (e.g., live morning assembly, email blast, or TV announcement).
  • Participate in a reading buddies program with another class (older or younger) and have students read their weather stories to their reading buddy.

Extensions:

  • As a class, create a rain gauge to measure the rain over the course of a few weeks.
  • Place a thermometer in an easily accessed outside location (e.g., near the recess area) and check the temperature daily.
  • Begin a class weather mural. As students learn, encourage them to add weather elements, characters, and other weather-related images to the mural.
  • Create a visual representation of a scene from the My Weather Story booklet. Examples include a shoebox diorama, a painting, or a paper collage.
  • Contact a local printing agency and inquire about publishing students’ weather stories into a bound class book.
  • Videotape students reading aloud their narrative weather stories to share with family and friends.

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