Reading for Gist and Determining a Lesson: Rain School | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G3:M1:U1:L4

Reading for Gist and Determining a Lesson: Rain School

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RL.3.1: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • RL.3.2: Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.
  • RL.3.3: Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.

Daily Learning Targets

  • I can determine the gist of Rain School. (RL.3.1, RL.3.3)
  • I can identify the central message, lesson, or moral of Rain School. (RL.3.2)

Ongoing Assessment

  • Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story: Rain School (RL.3.1, RL.3.2, RL.3.3)

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Reading Aloud: Rain School (20 minutes)

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Reading for Gist and Determining the Lesson: Rain School (30 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Overcoming Learning Challenges (5 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Read your research book for at least 10 minutes.

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards:

  • This lesson follows a similar structure to Lesson 3. Students listen to a new text read aloud (Rain School), then reread it in triads and work together to complete the Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story note-catcher and determine the story's central message or lesson (RL.3.1, RL.3.2, RL.3.3). The story is set in Chad and focuses on the challenges a boy named Thomas faces with access to education. In the next lesson, students will gather evidence to explain how the central message/lesson/moral is conveyed by details in the text (RL.3.2).
  • Since students work in triads throughout this lesson, the Think-Pair-Share protocol is modified to Think-Triad-Share. Given the increase in the number of voices that must be heard during the triad share, provide additional time during this part of the protocol. Also ensure that each student gets to ask the question to another student (e.g., student A to student B, student B to student C, student C to student A).
  • This lesson is the second in a series of three that include built-out instruction for the use of Goal 1 Conversation Cues to promote productive and equitable 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). As the modules progress, Goal 2, 3, and 4 Conversation Cues will be gradually introduced. Goal 1 Conversation Cues encourage all students to talk and be understood. Consider providing students with a thinking journal or scrap paper.
  • Students who finish quickly, require an extension, or are motivated by engaging in Chadian culture could research to find out more about the country of Chad in books or on the internet.
  • In this unit, the habit of character focus is working to become ethical people. The characteristic students are reminded of is respect because of the sensitive nature of the text in relation to student experiences and family/cultural backgrounds.
  • The research reading that students complete for homework will help build both their vocabulary and knowledge pertaining to overcoming challenges in access to education, books, and reading near and far. By participating in this volume of reading over a span of time, students will develop a wide base of knowledge about the world and the words that help describe and make sense of it.
  • Recall that students are not given independent reading journals until Lesson 6. The homework reflects this by simply asking students to read their research text for at least 10 minutes. In the second half of the unit, they will begin responding to prompts in their independent reading journals.

How it builds on previous work:

  • This lesson is similar to the previous lesson in structure: Students hear the book read aloud, reflect on it, and determine the gist and central message, moral, or lesson. For gradual release, students work in triads to fill out the Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story note-catcher rather than doing it together whole group.

Areas where students may need additional support:

  • Some students may need additional support rereading the text and filling out their Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story note-catcher. Consider using technology to support those students (see Technology and Multimedia). Consider also forming a small group of students who will need additional support with both reading and completing their note-catcher to work with you to hear the text read aloud and fill in the note-catcher.

Assessment guidance:

  • Review students' Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story note-catchers to determine whether they fully understand the story and its lesson/message/moral.
  • Review student vocabulary logs to ensure that they have been set up appropriately and help students correct any issues.

Down the road:

  • In the next lesson, students will closely read this text to more deeply understand how the central message or lesson is conveyed through details.

In Advance

  • Consider whether any students may be sensitive to the issues that this book raises based on cultural background and family history. Consider explaining to families that this book will be read aloud to students so that they can appropriately prepare them and discuss it afterward.
  • Prepare a small label with the book title and author to attach to a pin and place on the world map. This needs to be large enough to see, but not too large to cover up too much of the map.
  • Predetermine triads based on reading ability. Students read the text and complete the Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story note-catcher in these groups, so each group will need at least one skilled reader.
  • Review the Think-Pair-Share protocol. (Refer to the Classroom Protocols document for the full version of the protocol.)
  • Post: Learning targets, Guiding Questions anchor chart, Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart, Experiences with Overcoming Challenges anchor chart, Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart, and Overcoming Learning Challenges anchor chart.

Tech and Multimedia

  • Work Time A: Students complete their note-catchers in a word-processing document, such as a Google Doc, using speech-to-text facilities activated on devices or using an app or software like Dictation.io.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 3.I.B.6, 3.I.B.7

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs with opportunities to celebrate cultural, linguistic, and educational diversity; ease into a new complex text, Rain School, by reading for gist using a supportive graphic organizer; experience gradual release as they move from whole class work to work in triads; notice and enjoy how James Rumford, the author of Rain School, sprinkles French sentences and words into the English language; and practice test-taking ability and strategies as part of showing what they understand about the book.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to understand the gist of Rain School after the first two reads in class and then complete the note-catcher. See levels of support and the Meeting Students' Needs column for specific supports.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • Encourage students to independently create their own graphic organizer or story map to frame the character, setting, motivation, challenge, and solution in Rain School.
  • Encourage students to deepen their thinking. (Example: "How well do the details of Rain School support the lesson of the story? Can you give an example? I'll give you a minute to think and write or sketch.")

For heavier support:

  • Consider keeping students in a larger group and working with them to complete the note-catcher together.
  • During the reading for gist, distribute a partially filled-in copy of Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story: Rain School. This will provide students with models for the kind of information they should enter and reduce the volume of writing required.
  • Encourage students to push their thinking. (Example: "Can you describe the details of Rain School that support the lesson of the story? I'll give you a minute to think and write or sketch." One detail that supports the lesson of the story is _____. "So, do you mean _____? I'll give you a minute to think and write or sketch." Yes, you've got it/No, sorry, that's not what I mean. I mean_____.)
  • Introduce, model, and think aloud strategies for reading unfamiliar texts. Examples:
    • Chunk the text into manageable amounts, e.g., sentences or paragraphs.
    • Underline important people, places, and things.
    • Read aloud.
    • Read repeatedly.
    • Silently paraphrase the chunks.
    • Summarize what you read for someone else, perhaps first in your home language.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation: This lesson will build on the previous lesson using a new text. Help students build on their prior knowledge by providing opportunities to make connections across lessons. Allow them to reference the note-catcher from the previous lesson to help guide the discussion.
  • Multiple Means of Action and Expression: The focus of this lesson is to support students' comprehension of a new text, Rain School. For students who may need additional support with comprehension skills: Consider ways to support them as they grapple with this new text. Examples: Provide prewritten sticky notes with various options for the gist that they can match on the Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story: Rain School note-catcher. Encourage students who are still unsure of the text to paraphrase their peers' answers in Closing and Assessment A.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement: Build student excitement about the new text by introducing information from multiple media sources about Chad. This can include representations of culture such as art, music, dance, or literature. This will help build engagement so that students are invested in tackling a challenging text. Furthermore, it will provide another means of representation to build background knowledge and facilitate greater comprehension. 

Vocabulary

N/A

Materials

  • Guiding Questions anchor chart (begun in Lesson 1)
  • Rain School (book; one per student and one to display)
  • World map (from Lesson 3; one to display)
  • Labeled pin (one to display)
  • Compass points (from Lesson 3; one to display)
  • Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart (begun in Lesson 2)
  • Experiences with Overcoming Challenges anchor chart (begun in Lesson 3; added to during Opening A)
  • Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart (from Lesson 3)
  • Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story: Rain School (one per student and one to display)
  • Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story: Rain School (example, for teacher reference)
  • Equity sticks (class set; one per student)
  • Strategies for Answering Selected Response Questions anchor chart (begun in Lesson 3)
  • Overcoming Learning Challenges anchor chart (begun in Lesson 3; added to during Closing and Assessment A)
  • Overcoming Learning Challenges anchor chart (example, for teacher reference)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reading Aloud: Rain School (20 minutes)

  • Move students into predetermined triads and invite them to label themselves A, B, and C.
  • Focus students on the Guiding Questions anchor chart and reread the questions aloud.
  • Tell students that they are going to continue this work of overcoming challenges by hearing about a boy who faced challenges.
  • Show students the cover of Rain School and explain that this story is set in Chad. Focus students on the world map.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"Where is Chad located on the map?" (Responses will vary.)

  • Place the labeled pin on Chad and explain that is in the continent of Africa. Remind students of each of the continents on the map.
  • Display the compass points. Remind students that they can use compass points to explain where places are. Read through each of the compass points.
  • Point to the pin marking your location.
  • Ask students to turn and talk, and select volunteers to share their responses with the whole group:

"What do you notice about the size of Chad in relation to the rest of the continent?" (It's a small country in a big continent.)

"Which continent do we live in?" (Responses will vary.)

"Where are we in relation to Chad?" (Responses will vary, but students should use the compass points.)

"Has anyone had any experience with Chad that they would like to share?" (Chad or neighboring countries may be the country of origin for some students.)

  • While still displaying Rain School, complete a first read of the text, including the dedication in French at the beginning. This is an opportunity to explain that in Chad, the official languages spoken are French and Arabic, not English. Consider inviting students to act out the roles as you read. Switch actors throughout the book.
  • After reading, invite students to spend 5 minutes reflecting silently. Reflection can include thinking or writing/drawing on paper. Students must be silent when they do this, though. Ask:

"What did this story make you think about?"

  • Invite students to begin reflecting.
  • After 5 minutes, refocus whole group.
  • Focus students on the Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart and remind them of the habit of character already recorded, respect.
  • Tell students they will now have the opportunity to share their reflections, if they would like to, with the whole group. Tell them that they need to be respectful as they listen to other students sharing. Explain that part of being respectful means treating others with care.
  • Invite students to share their reflections with the whole group as they feel comfortable. Do not force anyone to share their ideas with the group, but provide those who desire it with the chance to voice their reflections.
  • As students share out, capture any challenges they share on the Experiences with Overcoming Challenges anchor chart.
  • Ensure students recognize that this story is about one child and that not every child in Chad faces the same challenge. Explain that some students in Chad go to schools that are permanent buildings. Explain also that just because this way of life is different, it does not mean it is any better or worse than the way that they live. It is just a different way of life. Take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work done by Thomas and his community in the name of education, in a context that is different from what students experience in this classroom.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with comprehension:

- Invite students who need heavier support to act out key sections of the text with you as you read. (Example: When reading "It is the first day of school. The dry dirt road is filling up with children," act out pointing to the first day of school on the calendar, then joining hands and walking to school.)

- Stop often to check for comprehension.

- When necessary, paraphrase the events in more comprehensible language.

- For written reinforcement, display brief notes describing the key sections as you go.

- Dictate lines for students to recite so that they practice using verbal language. (MMR)

  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with comprehension: Model and think aloud the process of reflecting by thinking, drawing, and writing. (MMR)
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with expressive language: While silently reflecting on the text, students can focus their thoughts by choosing one of several provided sentence frames. Invite them to read the sentence frames aloud before beginning to reflect. Examples:

"This story reminded me of _____."

"This story made me think about a time when _____."

"This story inspired me because _____."

"This story made me feel _____."

"This character reminds me of Ana because _____." (MMAE)

  • If students are not familiar with Chad, help build excitement about the country by sharing art, videos, visuals, etc., that provide background knowledge about the culture. (MMR, MME)

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

  • Direct students' attention to the posted learning targets and select a volunteer to read them aloud:

 "I can determine the gist of Rain School."

 "I can identify the central message, lesson, or moral of Rain School."

  • Focus students on the Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart. Remind them that the gist is what the text is mostly about.
  • Point out that these are the same learning targets from the previous lesson and tell students that they will do many of the same things as they did in the previous lesson, but they will use a different text to do them. 
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with comprehension: Invite students to paraphrase the learning targets and make quick sketches to symbolize the meaning of the targets. (MMR)
  • To activate background knowledge, ask:

"What did you learn in the previous lesson?" (MMR)

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reading for Gist and Determining the Lesson: Rain School (30 minutes)

  • Distribute Rain School.
  • Distribute and display Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story: Rain School.
  • Remind students that they completed the same note-catcher in Lesson 3 using Waiting for the Biblioburro. Read through each of the boxes and remind students of what they will record in each box. Remind students that they will record notes on this note-catcher, and that notes help them remember their thinking and do not have to be full sentences.
  • Show the cover of Waiting for the Biblioburro again and model writing the book title and author in the box at the top of the note-catcher.
  • Explain that students are going to reread Rain School together in triads, whisper-reading.
  • Select a volunteer to demonstrate whisper-reading a page of the book to the group.
  • Explain that when they have finished reading, they will use the book to discuss in triads possible answers to write on the Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story note-catcher. Emphasize the importance of discussing answers before writing anything and referring back to the text when trying to figure out the answers.
  • Invite students to begin whisper-reading.
  • Circulate to support students in reading and completing their note-catchers. Refer to the Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story: Rain School (example, for teacher reference) as necessary.
  • Refocus whole group and use equity sticks to select students to share what they recorded with the whole group.
  • Tell students to cover the questions and answers in the boxes at the bottom of their note-catcher.
  • Explain that often when an author writes a book, there is an important message that he or she wants readers to take away or a lesson to learn relevant to the real world outside of the book. Remind students that sometimes the author explicitly states--or comes right out and says--the text's message or lesson. Other times, the message or lesson needs to be inferred from details in the text.
  • Invite students to Think-Triad-Share, leaving adequate time for each partner to think, ask the question to their partner, and partner share:

"Use your note-catcher to think about what happened in this story. What message or lesson relevant to the real world outside of the story do you think the author wants you to learn and take away from this story? What details make you think that?" (Responses will vary, but may include: Education and learning is important enough for students to build a school to be able to learn.)

  • If productive, use a Goal 1 Conversation Cue to encourage students to clarify the conversation about the message and the details that convey it in relation to the possible answers on the note-catcher:

"So, do you mean _____?" (Responses will vary.)

  • Invite students to uncover the questions and possible answers in the boxes on the bottom of the Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story note-catcher.
  • Tell students you are going to read Question A and the possible answers aloud. Then, they will have time to discuss possible answers with their triad before selecting one.
  • Read Question A and the possible answers.
  • Direct students' attention to the Strategies for Answering Selected Response Questions anchor chart and focus them on the final bullet. Invite them to look back in the text to find details that support the answer.
  • Encourage students to practice this strategy when discussing with their triad.
  • Invite students to turn and talk with their triad:

"Which answer do you think is correct?"

  • Invite students to underline the answer they think is correct on their note-catcher.
  • Use equity sticks to select students to share out and clarify any misconceptions. Refer to the Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story: Rain School (example, for teacher reference) as necessary.
  • Explain that students will closely read Rain School again in the next lesson to more closely examine the story's lesson.
  • Refocus students on the learning targets. Read each one aloud, pausing for students to give a thumbs-up, thumbs-down, or thumbs-sideways to indicate how close they are to meeting that target now. Make note of students who may need additional support with each of the learning targets moving forward. Repeat, inviting students to self-assess against how well they showed respect.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with memory: To provide students with an opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the structure and language of the Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story note-catcher, invite them to retell Waiting for the Biblioburro using their note-catcher from Lesson 3. (MMR)
  • For ELLs: Before students write, invite them to turn to an elbow partner and retell Rain School in 1 minute or less. Remind them of the feedback you gave them on summarizing Waiting for the Biblioburro in Lesson 3. Have them share out and give them feedback on their language use and summarizing skill. Then, invite them to turn to their partner and summarize once again, this time in 30 seconds or less. Repeat the feedback process.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with comprehension: Display, repeat, and rephrase the questions and answers on Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story: Rain School. (MMR)
  • For students who may need additional support with fine motor skills: Offer choice with Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story: Rain School by providing a template that includes lines. (MMR, MME)

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Overcoming Learning Challenges (5 minutes)

  • Focus students on the Overcoming Learning Challenges anchor chart.
  • Ask students to turn and talk, and cold call students to share their responses with the whole group:

"What challenge did Thomas face?" (no school building)

"How was the challenge overcome?" (Students built a school together with their teacher before they started learning.)

  • If productive, use a Goal 1 Conversation Cue to encourage students to clarify the conversation about the message and the details that convey it in relation to the possible answers on the note-catcher:

"So, do you mean _____?" (Responses will vary.)

  • As students share out, capture their responses on the Overcoming Learning Challenges anchor chart. Refer to the Overcoming Learning Challenges anchor chart (example, for teacher reference) as necessary.
  • For students who are unsure of the answers to these questions at first, ask them to repeat or rephrase what their peers say. (MMAE) 

Homework

HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs

A. Read your research book for at least 10 minutes.

  • For ELLs: Choose from these strategies to practice reading unfamiliar texts:

- Chunk the text into manageable amounts, e.g., sentences or paragraphs.

- Underline important people, places, and things.

- Read aloud.

- Read repeatedly.

- Silently paraphrase the chunks.

- Summarize what you read for someone else, perhaps first in your home language.

Assessment

Each unit in the 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. 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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