Speaking and Listening: Working on a Magnificent Thing | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G1:M1:U3:L4

Speaking and Listening: Working on a Magnificent Thing

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • SL.1.1: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • SL.1.1a: Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
  • SL.1.1b: Build on others' talk in conversations by responding to the comments of others through multiple exchanges.
  • SL.1.1c: Ask questions to clear up any confusion about the topics and texts under discussion. 

Daily Learning Targets

  • I can listen to and learn with my group as we create our magnificent thing. (SL.1.1, SL.1.1a, SL.1.1b, SL.1.1c

Ongoing Assessment

  • During the Closing, track students' progress toward SL.1.1a, SL.1.1b, and SL.1.1c using the Speaking and Listening Checklist (see Assessment Overview and Resources).


AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Chant and Movement: Responsibility Chant (5 minutes)

B. Engaging the Learner: Responsibility (10 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Modeling: Working on a Magnificent Thing (15 minutes)

B. Small Group Practice: Working on a Magnificent Thing (20 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Reflecting on Learning (10 minutes)

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards: 

  • In this lesson, students continue working in groups to create their classroom magnificent things. As in Lessons 2 and 3, students continue to practice the speaking and listening skills they learned in Units 1 and 2 in order to communicate with one another and debrief after the process.
  • Students focus on another habit of character, responsibility, in this lesson. Responsibility is the third habit of character of an effective learner and is introduced to students for the first time in this lesson. Take time to define the word as ownership of materials as well as learning.
  • Lessons 1-3 featured built-out instruction for Goal 2 Conversation Cues. Moving forward, this will appear only as reminders after select questions. Continue using Goal 1 and 2 Conversation Cues to promote productive and equitable conversation. Refer to the Lesson 1 Teaching Notes and see the Tools page for additional information on Conversation Cues.

How this lesson builds on previous work:

  • Students use the writing in their Magnificent Thing notebooks from Lesson 3 to help them decide about tools and materials to use to make their magnificent thing.
  • Students continue to apply their knowledge of habits of character. In this lesson, they focus on responsibility.

Areas in which students may need additional support:

  • In Work Time B, students work in their same small groups to gather materials and tools and begin to make their magnificent thing. Build social skills by guiding students through tricky collaboration situations when necessary.
  • Consider previewing the group work with students who may need additional support collaborating with others.

Down the road:

  • This lesson and Lesson 5 are building lessons, and Lesson 6 is a revisions lesson. In Lesson 7, students will complete their magnificent thing as the first half of their performance task. Students then begin a series of lessons using the Magnificent Thing notebook to complete an informational writing piece about how they created their magnificent thing. 

In Advance

  • Set up a document camera to display the Responsibility Chant. If not using a document camera, copy the Chant onto chart paper.
  • Prepare:
    • Responsibility Chant (see supporting materials).
    • Tools and Work Word Wall card for the word responsibility. Write or type the word on a card and create or find a visual to accompany it (see supporting materials).
  • Consider pre-determining and preparing a few students to model with you during Work Time A.
  • Consider placing Magnificent Thing notebooks in each group's designated workspace for a smoother transition. Set up a table with various materials and tools that students can easily access for Work Time B. Consider limiting the amount of building materials available so students can focus and complete their work.
  • Designate a place to safely store the groups' magnificent things and the tools and materials for the following lesson.
  • Review the Think-Pair-Share protocol. (Refer to the Classroom Protocols document for the full version of the protocol.)
  • Post: Learning targets, Responsibility Chant, "Learning Target" song, Classroom Discussion Norms anchor chart, How to Make a Magnificent Thing anchor chart, Responsibility anchor chart, and Think-Pair-Share anchor chart.

Tech and Multimedia

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

  • Opening A: Record the whole group singing the "Responsibility Chant" 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 and audio recording apps or software.
  • Work Time A: If you recorded students singing the "Learning Target" song in Unit 2, play this recording for them to join in with.
  • Work Time B: Video record students creating their magnificent thing to watch with students to evaluate strengths and areas for improvement in collaborative work. Post it on a teacher webpage or on a portfolio app like Seesaw for students to watch at home with families. Most devices (cell phones, tablets, laptop computers) come equipped with free audio recording apps or software.
  • Closing and Assessment A: Create the Responsibility anchor chart in an online format, for example a Google Doc, to display and for families to access at home to reinforce these skills.

Supporting English Language Learners

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

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs through the practice of collaborative work, and through engaging in experiential learning.
  • ELLs may find it difficult to understand how to show responsibility as the concept may seem abstract to some students. Guide students in brainstorming concrete things they can do to show responsibility. (Examples: I can help a friend; I can pay attention to my work; I can apologize if I hurt someone's feelings.) During reflection, invite students to identify specific things from the list that they did.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • During the Mini Language Dive in Work Time A, invite advanced and intermediate proficiency students to generate verbs to express things they will do as they create magnificent things. Invite beginning proficiency students to act out the verbs that the students generate.
  • Encourage students to use Conversation Cues with other students to promote productive and equitable conversation and to enhance language development.

For heavier support:

  • Use a Frayer Model graphic organizer to discuss responsibility. Invite students to briefly act out situations in which they are or are not taking responsibility. Create a chart of "things we say when we are showing responsibility." (Examples: "I'm sorry," "Thanks for teaching me how to do a better job," and "Let's fix the problem.")
  • Reread a page from The Most Magnificent Thing in which the girl shows responsibility. Discuss how responsibility helped the girl make her magnificent thing.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): The Closing activity of this lesson is designed for students to reflect on the term responsibility. To maximize generalization, invite students to practice sharing a definition of this term. Provide explicit feedback to ensure students have an accurate understanding of this word and its meaning.
  • Multiple Means of Action & Expression (MMAE): During the Opening activity, students learn the Responsibility Chant. You can provide additional options for physical action by creating hand gestures to accompany the lyrics.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): In this lesson, students have time to begin building their magnificent things in small groups. Some students are likely to become very engaged in this hands-on activity. To support an efficient transition and clean up from this work, you can use a visual timer. This will help students with planning and self-regulation. 


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

  • responsibility (L) 


  • Document camera (optional)
  • Responsibility Chant (new; written on chart paper; one to display)
  • Tools and Work Word Wall card (teacher-created; one for each word; see supporting materials)
  • Tools and Work Word Wall (begun in Unit 1, Lesson 3; added to in Opening B; see Teaching Notes)
  • "Learning Target" song (from Unit 2, Lesson 2; one to display)
  • Classroom Discussion Norms anchor chart (begun in Unit 1, Lesson 2)
  • How to Make a Magnificent Thing anchor chart (begun in Lesson 1)
  • Magnificent Thing notebook (from Lesson 2; one for teacher modeling)
  • Various materials and tools for making a magnificent thing (for groups to create their magnificent thing in Work Time B; see supporting materials in Lesson 2)
  • Magnificent Thing notebook (from Lesson 2; one per student)
  • Responsibility anchor chart (new; co-created with students during Closing; see supporting materials)
  • Think-Pair-Share anchor chart (begun in Unit 1, Lesson 1)
  • Speaking and Listening Checklist (Assessment Overview and Resources)

Materials from Previous Lessons

New Materials


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.


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Chant and Movement: Responsibility Chant (5 minutes) 

  • Gather students together whole group.
  • Tell them they will start the day by getting their bodies and their minds warmed up for learning. Invite students to stand up in their spots.
  • Using a document camera, display the Responsibility Chant.
  • Read the chant aloud clearly and slowly.
  • Read a second time, showing students how to clap and stomp to the beat in their spot.
  • Explain that you will now read the chant again, and this time you would like them to read, clap, and stomp with you.
  • Read the chant, clapping and stomping with students.
  • Invite students to sit down in their spots.
  • For ELLs: As you teach the Responsibility Chant, provide options for physical action by creating hand gestures to accompany the lyrics. (Examples: Mime handing in homework while reciting the line turning in work, and shake hands with a partner while reciting the line making friends too.) (MMAE)
  • For ELLs: After reading the chant once, check for comprehension and clarify the meanings of different words and phrases as necessary.

B. Engaging the Learner: Responsibility (10 minutes) 

  • Refocus whole group.
  • Show students the Tools and Work Word Wall card. Have students massage their brains to get ready to learn an important word.
  • Tell students that today, they will begin building their magnificent thing with their groups! Before they begin working, it is important to learn about one more habit of character.
  • Show students the Word Wall card for responsibility. Say the word and show the picture.
  • Ask students to turn and talk to an elbow partner: 

"What is responsibility?" (to take ownership of your actions, words, and learning)

  • Tell students that taking ownership means that you make choices with the words you say and the things you do, and that you accept what happens after you make those choices.
  • Show students the motion of bringing your closed fists to your heart, as if holding on to something really tight. Invite students to join you in the motion.
  • Encourage students to use the word in a sentence to an elbow partner. Have students repeat after you:

"I show responsibility by taking care of my things and accepting my mistakes when I make them."

  • Invite students to turn and talk with an elbow partner:

"How can we take responsibility during our group work?" (I can use scissors safely around my group.)

  • Place the Word Wall card and picture for responsibility on the Tools and Work Word Wall.
  • Tell students that taking responsibility will be important as you trust them to use materials and tools in their work time. They need to take responsibility both for their materials and for their own learning.
  • For ELLs: Practice pronouncing the word responsibility with the class, noting the shape of the mouth and positioning of the tongue. Have students repeat each syllable, noting the stressed vowel: "res-pon-si-BI-li-ty."
  • For ELLs: Point out that take responsibility for are words we hear a lot together. Example: "Remember, when we take responsibility for something, we are not really taking anything. It means we decide to do our best with something." Prompt students to practice using the phrase take responsibility for. Ask:

"What do you take responsibility for at home?" (I take responsibility for doing my homework; for cleaning up; for being nice to my sister or brother.)

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Modeling: Working on a Magnificent Thing (15 minutes)

  • Invite students to sing the "Learning Target" song.
  • Direct their attention to the posted learning target and read it aloud: 
    • "I can listen to and learn with my group as we create our magnificent thing."
  • Invite students to point to a resource in the room that will help them listen to and talk with their group. Call on students pointing to the Classroom Discussion Norms anchor chart to share and explain their idea with the class.
  • Direct students' attention to the posted How to Make a Magnificent Thing anchor chart. Tell students they are beginning the work step, just like the little girl from The Most Magnificent Thing. Say: "The girl started working on her magnificent thing by guessing what tools and materials she should use. We will start our work time by looking at the tools and materials we planned to use with our group."
  • Using the document camera, display the Magnificent Thing notebook (for teacher modeling). Tell students you will model looking at the notes about the magnificent thing before beginning to work.
    • Invite the pre-selected students to help you demonstrate.
    • Open to page 1 of the Magnificent Thing notebook (for teacher modeling) and read some of the descriptions, talking with the student volunteers about the details written.
    • Repeat this process with page 2.
    • Draw students' attention to the notebook sketches on pages 1 and 2. Point out the details that will help create the magnificent thing.
    • Talk with the student volunteers about the materials and decide on a teammate to collect some of the various materials and tools for making a magnificent thing.
    • Begin creating the classwork display sign by demonstrating one or two steps of the process (i.e., drawing the letters, cutting the leaves, punching holes for the string, etc.), talking aloud with student volunteers while working on each task:

"Which part do you think we should start with?"

"I'd really like to draw the leaves. Maybe you could cut them out?"

  • Remind students that often, as they work in their groups, situations come up that could be a little tricky.
  • Using a whole group participation technique, ask:

"What would you do if your group member wanted to do the job you're doing?" (I would take a turn and let them take a turn.)

"What would you do if you noticed your group member doing something incorrectly?" (Ask them why they are doing it that way.)

"What did you notice me doing to work with my group nicely?" (sharing the work)

  • Tell students they will now do something similar with their small groups. They will look over the notes in their Magnificent Thing notebooks before beginning their magnificent thing.
  • For ELLs: Mini Language Dive. Ask students about the learning target: I can listen to and learn with my group as we create our magnificent thing. Examples:
    • "What is listen in our home languages?" (escuchar in Spanish) Invite all students to repeat the translation in a different home language.
    • "Whom will you listen to?" (my group) Draw an arrow from listen to my group.
    • "Who are the members of your group? Point to the group that is helping you make a magnificent thing." (Students point to their group members.)
    • "Are you going to do something else with your group? How do you know?" (Yes. It says and.)
    • "What else will you do with your group?" (learn with them) Draw an arrow from learn with to my group.
  • Point to and reread the phrase as we create.
    • "What does this phrase tell us?" (When we are going to listen to and learn with our teammates. It means when we create.)
    • "What else will you do as you create? Tell a partner. Use the sentence frame: 'I will_____ as I create.'" (try my best; write carefully; pay attention; use discussion norms)
    • "What are we creating? Point to where it says it in the sentence." (our magnificent thing)
    • As you use review page 2 of the notebook on the document camera, provide an opportunity for peer interaction by inviting students to turn to an elbow partner and share one material or tool their group plans to use. (MME)

B. Small Group Practice: Working on a Magnificent Thing (20 minutes) 

  • Invite students to return to their small group workspace from the previous lesson.
  • Distribute students'Magnificent Thing notebooks. Remind each group about responsibility while making their magnificent thing. 
  • Invite students to begin working together to make their magnificent thing.
  • Circulate to support groups, suggesting tools or materials that might be helpful, as necessary.
  • Tell students when they have 2 minutes left to finish their work for today.
  • Refocus whole group.
  • Collect students' Magnificent Thing notebooks.
  • Provide directions for cleanup and where to store their magnificent thing.
  • Invite students to clean up, store their magnificent things, and transition back to the whole group area. 
  • For ELLs: Some students may find it challenging during group work to contribute and keep pace with other students. While circulating, find ways to include students who are reserved or confused. Use students' strengths to suggest ways of including them. (Example: "Harrison, I like the way you noticed Steven was out of glue and you gave him more! Maybe you can show responsibility by making sure there is enough glue for everybody.")
  • When you give students the 2-minute warning before cleanup, provide support for self-regulation during a transition by using a visual timer. (MME)

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reflecting on Learning (10 minutes) 

  • Direct students' attention to the posted Responsibility anchor chart.
  • Tell them they are now going to use the Think-Pair-Share protocol to explain how they showed initiative with their group today. Remind students that they used this protocol in the previous lesson and review as necessary, using the Think-Pair-Share anchor chart. (Refer to the Classroom Protocols document for the full version of the protocol.)
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share:

"How did you take responsibility today?"

  • Circulate and listen in on pairs to collect data on the Speaking and Listening Checklist. Offer the following sentence stem as necessary: "I used responsibility today when I _____."
  • If productive, cue students to expand the conversation by giving an example:

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

  • Invite students to share out whole group. Capture their responses on the Responsibility anchor chart.
  • Add anything you noticed about students taking responsibility that wasn't mentioned.
  • Remind students that collaboration, initiative, and responsibility all will be important to remember as they continue working on their magnificent thing tomorrow. 
  • Before the Think-Pair-Share, provide an opportunity to review the meaning of responsibility. If students do not share an accurate definition, define the term explicitly. (Example: "Can someone remind us what responsibility means?" and "Responsibility means taking care of my things and accepting my mistakes.") (MMR)
  • After the Think-Pair-Share protocol, optimize relevance by inviting students to set shared classroom goals with prompts. (Example: "Give a silent cheer if you saw first graders taking responsibility today. What are some things we can do to get even better at taking responsibility?") (MME)

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