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ELA GK:M2:U2

Reading Narrative Texts: How Weather Affects People

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In Unit 2, students learn how weather affects people both locally and around the world. As in Unit 1, the unit begins with a story about the inquisitive Sofia. This time, Sofia and her friend Jack inquire: “What is weather like around the world?” and “How does weather affect people?” Thus begins students’ challenge to help Sofia and Jack answer these questions. The unit begins with a focused read-aloud of the book On the Same Day in March: A Tour of the World’s Weather by Marilyn Singer. Through this text, students begin to learn about how weather affects people around the world. Students use the words and illustrations in the text to gather information; they then contribute an illustration and sentence to an interactive world weather map. Students continue to use the concepts and vocabulary learned in Unit 1 to explore how weather might affect the lives of other children.

In the second half of the unit, students engage in a close read-aloud of the text Come on, Rain! by Karen Hesse. Students also read and retell several narratives about the experiences of fictional characters in different types of weather, including: Brave Irene by William Steig and Umbrella by Taro Yashima. Students continue to record the local weather as they write entries in individual weather journals based on the class weather journal routine built throughout Unit 1. For the Unit 2 Assessment, students identify story elements of the text One Hot Summer Day by Nina Crews to demonstrate progress toward CCSS ELA RL.K.3, W.K.8, L.K.1a, and L.K.6.

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • What is weather like around the world?
  • Weather can be different in different places and at different times.
  • How does weather affect people?
  • Weather has a great impact on the daily life of living things.
  • Weather affects the choices we make.

The Four T's

  • Topic: Weather in narrative texts
  • Task: Identifying story elements in One Hot Summer Day
  • Targets: (standards explicitly taught and assessed): RL.K.3, W.K.8, L.K.1a, and L.K.6
  • Texts: One Hot Summer Day by Nina Crews

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 literacy block of the school day. It 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. In the first part of Unit 2, students continue to practice responsibility (one specific habit of character) as they engage in a series of activities, discussions, and reflection. In the latter part of the unit, students begin to learn about perseverance, another specific habit of character.

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: module lessons, Labs, and the Reading Foundations Skills block (see Module Overview).

For Unit 2, 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.1: With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
    • Invite the students to point at a picture in a narrative text and then answer questions about the illustration.
    • Read aloud the first few pages of a narrative text and ask: “What questions do you have? What are you wondering?”
  • RL.K.2: With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.
    • Invite students to retell a story just read aloud as a whole class.
    • Invite students to retell a story they read independently.
  • 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.
  • RL.K.4: Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.
    • Read aloud a page of a narrative text and ask, “What questions do you have about the words you heard?” or ask a question about the meaning of a word.
  • RL.K.7: Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.
    • When conferencing with students, ask them to explain how the illustration or details in the text relate to its key ideas.
    • Ask:

“How do these illustrations help you understand the text?”

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 11–14 in which students discuss and practice identifying story elements, as some students may find sequencing major events particularly challenging. This will afford greater opportunity to prepare for the Unit 2 Assessment. In addition, be sure to guide ELLs through the optional Language Dives in Lessons 8 and 10. If necessary, place less focus and condense instruction on discussing weather around in the world in Lessons 1–5.
  • Language Dives: This unit includes only optional Language Dives for ELLs in Lessons 8 and 10. 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: Encourage productive and equitable conversation with 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). Refer to the Tools page for the complete set of cues. Goal 3 Conversation Cues are introduced in Lesson 1. 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 explore informational texts taking place across different cultures and countries. During this unit, students will discuss experiences with weather around the world. Provide opportunities for students to share their own experience with the weather if they have traveled to or lived in different places around the globe. 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 pairing 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 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 the weather in different parts of the world 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.
  • Writing weather journals: Students will record information about the weather outside each day. They will benefit from whole class demonstrations and built-in visual support as they complete their journals independently. Some students may need additional modeling before feeling 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: Students will participate in a Role Play protocol, during which they will imagine how they might prepare for weather around the world. Later in the unit, they will act out major events of stories they read to deepen their comprehension. 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. Allow students opportunities to observe the protocol before participating.
  • 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
Umbrella
by Taro Yashima
One per Classroom
Brave Irene
by William Steig
One per Classroom
On the Same Day in March: A Tour of the World’s Weather
by Marilyn Singer and Frane Lessac
Six per Classroom
Come On, Rain!
by Karen Hesse
Six per Classroom
One Hot Summer Day
by Nina Crews
One Per Classroom

Materials

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

  • Lesson 1: Prepare the class interactive map. Many items will be added to the map throughout the course of Lessons 1–5, so it is important that it is large enough to accommodate various artifacts.
  • Lesson 2: Weather Word Wall words: chinook, huddle
  • Lesson 3: Weather Word Wall word: sleet
  • Lesson 6: Prepare weather journals for each student. These are used throughout Lessons 6–15. Weather Word Wall word: shower
  • Index cards for Weather Word Wall.

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).

Lessons

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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