Writing Narrative Texts: Drafting the Beginning of a Pourquoi Tale | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G3:M2:U1:L4

Writing Narrative Texts: Drafting the Beginning of a Pourquoi Tale

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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.3.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.
  • RL.3.5: Refer to parts of stories, dramas, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter, scene, and stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections.
  • RF.3.3: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
  • RF.3.3c: Decode multisyllable words.
  • RF.3.4: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • RF.3.4a: Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.
  • RF.3.4b: Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.
  • RF.3.4c: Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.
  • W.3.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
  • W.3.3a: Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
  • W.3.4: With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.
  • W.3.5: With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
  • L.3.3: Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
  • L.3.3a: Choose words and phrases for effect.
  • L.3.4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning word and phrases based on grade 3 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
  • L.3.4a: Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
  • L.3.4b: Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known affix is added to a known word (e.g., agreeable/disagreeable, comfortable/uncomfortable, care/careless, heat/preheat).

Daily Learning Targets

  • I can fluently read a poem aloud. (RF.3.4a, RF.3.4b, RF.3.4c)
  • I can refer explicitly to the text when answering questions about the text. (RL.3.1, RL.3.2, RL.3.4, RL.3.5, RF.3.3c, RF.3.4, L.3.1a, L.3.4a, L.3.4b)
  • I can write the beginning of a pourquoi tale that establishes the situation and introduces the characters. (W.3.3a, W.3.4, W.3.5)

Ongoing Assessment

  • Choral reading of "The Wood Frog" (RF.3.4a, RF.3.4b, RF.3.4c)
  • Close Reading: "The Wood Frog" note-catcher (RL.3.1, RL.3.2, RL.3.4, RL.3.5, RF.3.3c, RF.3.4, L.3.1a, L.3.4a, L.3.4b)
  • Participation in creation of the beginning of "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" class narrative (W.3.3a, W.3.4, W.3.5)

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

A. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Close Reading: "The Wood Frog" (15 minutes)

B. Analyzing a Model (15 minutes)

C. Shared Writing: Drafting the Beginning of a Pourquoi Tale (20 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Exit Ticket (5 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Vocabulary. Follow the directions in your Unit 1 homework packet.

B. Choose and respond to a Narrative QuickWrite prompt in your Unit 1 homework packet.

C. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt to respond to in the front of your independent reading journal.

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards:

  • In this lesson, students begin by fluently reading the poem "The Wood Frog" (RF.3.4). They then participate in a teacher-led close read of the poem. This close read guides students through the text's challenging vocabulary and helps them to understand the meaning of the poem (RL.3.1, RL.3.2, RL.3.4, RL.3.5, RF.3.3c, RF.3.4, L.3.4a, L.3.4b).
  • In this lesson, the habit of character focus is working to become an effective learner. The characteristic they are reminded of specifically is collaboration, as they will be working in partners and small groups as they read and analyze "The Wood Frog" and draft the class pourquoi tale.
  • In Work Time B, students analyze a new narrative model, "Why the Poison Dart Frog Is So Colorful." This text is used as a model throughout the drafting process in addition to "Why the Frog Has a Long Tongue." "Why the Poison Dart Frog Is So Colorful" is an exemplar for students of narrative writing at the third-grade level.
  • In Work Time C, the teacher and students draft the beginning of a narrative text together, both contributing their thoughts and ideas to the process, while the teacher acts as scribe (W.3.3a, W.3.4, W.3.5). Shared writing enables teachers to make the writing process concrete and visible to students. This allows students to focus exclusively on the thinking involved in writing, not the process.
  • Shared writing is also a powerful way to model and guide key skills and concepts related to the writing process (e.g., organizing, drafting, revision, mechanics, and conventions). Students gain competence and confidence in their writing skills as the teacher models and guides the thinking process writers go through. Consider modeling, revising, or editing the completed narrative "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" based on students' identified areas for improvement.
  • The research reading students complete for homework helps to build both their vocabulary and knowledge pertaining to frogs and specifically frog adaptations. 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.
  • Students practice their fluency in Work Times A and B by following along and reading silently as the teacher reads "The Wood Frog" and "Why the Poison Dart Frog Is So Colorful" aloud, as well as choral reading.

How it builds on previous work:

  • Students have read and analyzed the structure of "Why the Poison Dart Frog Is So Colorful" for gist.
  • Students use the Narrative Planning Graphic Organizer: "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" from Lesson 3 to draft the beginning of the class narrative in this lesson.
  • Continue to use Goals 1 and 2 Conversation Cues to promote productive and equitable conversation.

Areas where students may need additional support:

  • Throughout Lessons 2-4 and Lesson 6, students should work with a reading partner. Consider how to strategically partner students so they can support one another well as they read this complex text.
  • For students who may need additional support with oral language and/or auditory processing, provide sentence frames to refer to during discussions.

Assessment Guidance:

  • Throughout the teacher-led close read, call on students to share their responses with the whole group to build knowledge collectively and clarify any misconceptions. As students are writing, circulate to clarify misunderstandings and use these as teaching points for the whole group.
  • Consider using the Speaking and Listening Informal Assessment: Collaborative Discussion Checklist during students' partner discussions in Work Time A.
  • Consider using the Reading: Foundational Skills Informal Assessment: Reading Fluency Checklist during students' reading of the poem in Work Time A.
  • Consider using the Writing: Writing Informal Assessment: Observational Checklist for Writing and Language Skills as students draft the class narrative in Work Time C.
  • Collect in Narrative QuickWrite homework from Lesson 2.

Down the road:

  • In the next two lessons, students will continue to use the narrative plan developed in Lesson 3 to draft the remainder of the class narrative.
  • After closely reading the poem "The Wood Frog," students add questions to the Why? anchor chart. Students will continue to generate "why" questions to add to this anchor chart throughout the unit, and these questions will guide students' research in Unit 2. The question(s) specified in the body of the lesson must be added to the chart, as several of these questions will be what students read and write about in Unit 2. Adding them in this unit gives purpose for reading and writing in the next unit.

In Advance

  • Read the Close Reading Guide: "The Wood Frog" to familiarize yourself with what will be required of students.
  • Strategically pair students for partner work in Work Time A.
  • Post: Learning targets.

Tech and Multimedia

  • Work Time A: For students who will benefit from hearing the text read aloud multiple times to find the gists, consider using a text-to-speech tool like Natural ReaderSpeakIt! for Google Chrome, or the Safari reader. Note that to use a web-based text-to-speech tool like SpeakIt! or Safari reader, you will need to create an online doc, such as a Google Doc, containing the text.
  • Work Time A: Use a search engine like Google Images or websites such as Flickr to find images or videos of poison dart frogs at the end of the close read.. Consider that YouTube, social media video sites, and other website links may incorporate inappropriate content via comment banks and ads. Although some lessons include these links as the most efficient means to view content in preparation for the lesson, be sure to preview links and/or use a filter service, such as SafeShare.tv, for viewing these links in the classroom.
  • Work Time A: Students complete their note-catchers in a word processing document, for example a Google Doc using Speech to Text facilities activated on devices, or using an app or software like Dictation.io.
  • Work Time C: Digital narrative draft: Instead of using chart paper, record shared writing on a class Google Doc for students to refer to when working on their writing outside of class.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 3.I.B.6, 3.I.B.8, 3.I.C.11, 3.III.

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs with opportunities to talk explicitly about English during the close read of "The Wood Frog." Students discuss the meaning of vocabulary in context and focus on the function of the pronoun I, for example. The poem introduces an element of language play with the ending -sicle, which may help students enjoy and see other patterns in English.
  • ELLs may find reading the two different genres of narrative and poetry challenging, as in the previous lesson. Some students unfamiliar with either the narrative or poetry formats--or both--may become confused. Make clear when transitioning between Work Times A and B that the class will be discussing a different kind of text. Compare and contrast each genre occasionally. Example: "How are poems different from narratives? Does this poem have a setting or a resolution? No, because poetry does not need settings or resolutions."

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • Invite students to notice other language patterns in "The Wood Frog" beyond the playful -sicle ending. Example: word forms froze, frozen, antifreeze.
  • Ask students to compare the language used in "The Wood Frog" to "Why the Poison Dart Frog Is So Colorful." How are poetry and prose different? Example: The poem uses rhyming words and short lines, whereas the prose does not rhyme and has longer, more complex sentences.

For heavier support:

  • Throughout the close read, stop often to check for comprehension. Ask students to summarize the events and ideas in the poem. When necessary, invite a more proficient student to paraphrase the events in more comprehensible language.
  • Some students may not understand the word play based on icicle in "The Wood Frog." Consider displaying a picture of icicles before reading the poem and explaining what they are and how they happen. Tell students it is very important to know about icicles for the poem and invite them to try to guess why after reading the poem.
  • In preparation for the mid-unit assessment, review the exit ticket after its completion or before the next lesson. Review the process of choosing the best answer for selected response questions. Observe students who have difficulty with these kinds of questions and review accordingly.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): For students who may need additional support analyzing narratives: Provide some direct instruction in advance. Read "Why the Poison Dart Frog Is So Colorful" and model how to color-code various narrative structures, using a format similar to the format used during the lessons. Discuss author's craft with these students and emphasize the importance of writing being organized to help readers understand.
  • Multiple Means of Action and Expression (MMAE): As there are many learning targets in this lesson and it requires students to shift the focus of their thinking multiple times, consider quickly revisiting and pointing out learning targets throughout the lesson as an indicator for students that they will now be working on referring explicitly to the text when answering questions, identifying structures of narratives, or finding the meanings of unfamiliar words. Some students who may need support attending to the task may also benefit from having a personal "map" of the lesson that they can physically point to or use to check off what they have accomplished and "see" what they need to focus on next.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): Provide support for students who may need additional guidance in peer interactions and collaboration. For example, offer prompts or sentence frames that support students in asking for help or clarification from classmates. To support students who may need additional support in sustaining effort and/or attention, provide opportunities for restating the goal. In doing so, students are able to maintain focus for completing the activity. 

Vocabulary

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

  • establish the situation, introduce the characters, audience, purpose (L)
  • frogsicle, logiscle, fogsicle, bogsicle, at ease, antifreeze (T)
  • polliwogs, tadpoles, tails, forest (W)

Materials

  • Lizards, Frogs, and Polliwogs (one to display; for teacher read-aloud)
  • Close Reading: "The Wood Frog" note-catcher (one per student)
  • Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart (from Module 1)
  • Close Reading Guide: "The Wood Frog" (for teacher reference)
  • Vocabulary logs (from Module 1; one per student)
  • Academic Word Wall (started in Module 1)
  • Domain-Specific Word Wall (started in Lesson 1)
  • Why? anchor chart (begun in Lesson 2; added to in Work Time A)
  • "Why the Poison Dart Frog Is So Colorful" (from Lesson 3; one per student and one to display)
  • Narrative Texts handout (from Lesson 2; one per student and one to display)
  • Narrative Planning Graphic Organizer: "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" (from Lesson 3; one per student and one to display)
  • Narrative Template: "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" (one for display)
  • Narrative Planning Graphic Organizer: "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" (from Lesson 3; example, for teacher reference)
  • Exit Ticket: Plot Structures (one per student)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

  • Direct students' attention to the first two learning targets and read them aloud:

"I can fluently read a poem aloud."

"I can refer explicitly to the text when answering questions about the text."

  • Explain that today students will read and analyze a new poem about frogs, and then begin drafting their class narrative.
  • Ask for a volunteer to read the remaining learning target:

"I can write the beginning of a pourquoi tale that establishes the situation and introduces the characters."

  • Underline the words establishes the situation and introduces the characters and ask:

"How do authors establish the situation in a narrative?" (They explain what is happening, when, and where.)

"How do authors introduce characters in a narrative?" (They tell who the main characters are and describe them.)

  • Have students give a quick thumbs-up, thumbs-down, or thumbs-sideways to indicate how well they understand today's learning targets.
  • For students who may need additional support understanding the terms in the learning targets: Write synonyms or descriptions above these key terms. (MMR)
  • For ELLs: Some students may be confused by the terms characters and characteristics. Ask: "What is the difference between a character and a characteristic?" (A character is a person or animal in a story. A characteristic is a quality or description that makes something what it is). As these words arise during the lesson, remind students of the difference.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Close Reading: "The Wood Frog" (15 minutes)

  • Pair students.
  • Display "The Wood Frog" from Lizards, Frogs, and Polliwogs and read the poem aloud, inviting students to follow along as you read.
  • Use a total participation technique to invite responses from the group:

"What is this poem about?" (Responses will vary but may include that it is about how wood frogs freeze in winter.)

  • Read the poem a second time, inviting students to chorally read with you.
  • Distribute the Close Reading: "The Wood Frog" note-catcher.
  • Point out the Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart and focus students on bullets 5-11.
  • Tell students you are going to guide them through this close read. Some of the questions will be discussed as a whole group, and others will be discussed with a partner.
  • Focus students on the Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart, specifically collaboration. Remind students that as they will be working in pairs as they work, they will need to collaborate.
  • Guide students through the close read using the Close Reading Guide: "The Wood Frog" (for teacher reference).
  • Invite students to record new vocabulary in their vocabulary logs. Add new words to the academic word wall and domain-specific word wall and invite students to add translations in native languages.
  • Display the Why? anchor chart. Using a total participation technique, invite students to share "why" questions they have about frogs after reading the poem "The Wood Frog." Record the questions on the anchor chart.
  • Add the question "Why is the wood frog frozen in winter?" if students do not ask it themselves.
  • For students who may need additional support with planning for writing: Provide a partially filled-in Close Reading: "The Wood Frog" note-catcher, leaving empty the portions that require students to work on skills they need extra practice completing. Graphic organizers and recording forms engage students more actively and provide the necessary scaffolding that is especially critical for those with lower levels of language proficiency and/or learning. (MMAE)
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with writing: Model doing quick sketches within the graphic organizer as placeholders for information. Say: "You can sketch first so that you don't forget the information you want to add. Then you may go back later and write." (MMAE)
  • For ELLs: Model and think aloud asking a "why" question and self-correcting. Example: "Hmm ... how about 'Why the wood frog called a wood frog?' Is that right? No! Oh, 'why is the wood frog called a wood frog?'"

B. Analyzing a Model (15 minutes)

  • Display and invite students to take out their copies of "Why the Poison Dart Frog Is So Colorful." Remind them that they will analyze this model over the next several lessons to understand what makes a strong narrative. They should be familiar with it from their work in Lesson 3 and for homework. Explain that using this model will help them determine what to include in their own narratives and how to organize them.
  • Read "Why the Poison Dart Frog Is So Colorful" aloud, inviting students to chorally read with you.
  • Display and invite students to retrieve their Narrative Texts handout and read the text aloud a second time. After each page, ask and note student responses on each page of the "Why the Poison Dart Frog Is So Colorful":

"Based on what you know about the plot structure of a narrative, what structures are included on each page?" (page 1: establish the situation; page 2: introduce the characters; page 3: describe the problem; page 4: explain how the characters respond to the problem; pages 5-6: provide a solution/resolution; page 7: tell the point of the narrative)

  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"Why is it important for writers to organize narratives in this way?" (It makes the writing clearer for the reader.)

  • If productive, cue students to listen carefully and seek to understand:

"Who can tell us what your classmate said in your own words?" (Responses will vary.)

  • Validate student responses and explain that it might be confusing to start off the essay by talking about the problem of the story without knowing who the characters are or where the story takes place.
  • Point out the first page of the model narrative. Use a total participation technique to invite responses from the group:

"Where and when does this story take place?" (long, long ago in a magical cave in Africa)

"Who is the main character?" (Ranna)

  • Turn to the second page of the model narrative. Use a total participation technique to invite responses from the group:

"Who are the other characters in this story?" (Drab, Ash, and Grey)

"Based on the text, what are the characters like?" (Ranna is a boy; Drab, Ash, and Grey are tiny frogs with dull gray-green skin.)

"What other details did the author give to tell the reader what is happening in the story?" (Ranna lives in the cave with his frogs.)

  • For students who may need additional support identifying plot structures: Use the same color-coding system established in previous lessons in this unit to clearly label structures on each page of "Why the Poison Dart Frog Is So Colorful." (MMR)
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with comprehension: Display "Why the Poison Dart Frog Is So Colorful" and annotate each paragraph as you discuss it. For example, next to Paragraph 1, write "beginning: setting and main characters" and underline key phrases. (MMR)
  •  For ELLs: Mini Language Dive. Ask students about the meaning of the chunks of a key sentence from "Why the Poison Dart Frog Is So Colorful." Write and display student responses next to the chunks. Examples:

"Place your finger on: Long, long ago, deep in Africa, a boy named Ranna lived by himself in a secret, magical cave."

"Why does the author write Long, long ago instead of just long ago?" (to show that it was really long ago)

"Where is Africa?" Locate Africa on the map and ask students where deep in Africa might be.

"Has anybody been to Africa? Is it like in the story, or is it different? Why do you think it might be different?" (The story is set in a different time, different place in Africa. Africa is very big with lots of different countries and ecosystems.)

"What does the author mean by deep in Africa?" (very far inside Africa; in the middle of Africa)

"What does the author mean by lived by himself?" (He lived alone.)

"What is a cave?" (a space underground or on a hill or mountain that is big enough for people and animals to go inside)

"What words does the author use to describe the cave? What do they mean?" (secret and magical; nobody else knew about it; it had magic or mystery in it)

"How does this sentence tell us about the setting and characters?" (It tells about Ranna, the main character. It says he lived in a cave in Africa.)

C. Shared Writing: Drafting the Beginning of a Pourquoi Tale (20 minutes)

  • Begin a shared writing experience to write a narrative that answers the question "Why do polliwogs wiggle?"
  • Ask students to bring their Narrative Planning Graphic Organizer: "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" and gather where they can see the posted Narrative Template: "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?"
  • Ask:

"Who is the audience of this narrative?" (other third- and fourth-grade students)

"What is the purpose of the narrative?" (to tell a story that explains why polliwogs wiggle)

  • Tell students that today they will write the Establish the Situation and Introduce the Characters pages; they will continue writing the story in Lessons 5 and 6.
  • Direct students' attention to the box labeled Beginning and select a volunteer to read the headings, questions, and notes added in Lesson 3 for the Establish the Situation part of this box.
  • Invite students to turn to an elbow partner and establish the situation the way they would write it, using the notes on the Narrative Planning Graphic Organizer: "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?"
  • Model writing a sentence that establishes the situation. Refer to the Narrative Planning Graphic Organizer: "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" (example, for teacher reference).
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"What is happening in the beginning of our story? Where and when does it take place?'" (Responses will vary.)

  • Drawing from students' ideas, continue writing the Situation page on the Narrative Template: "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" Refer to the Narrative Planning Graphic Organizer: "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" (example, for teacher reference).
  • Continue this process to write the Characters page on the narrative template, referring to the Narrative Texts handout, "Why the Frog Has a Long Tongue," "Why the Poison Dart Frog Is So Colorful," and the domain-specific word wall as necessary. Refer to the Narrative Planning Graphic Organizer: "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" (example, for teacher reference).
  • Invite students to chorally read the finished Establish the Situation and Introduce the Character pages of the draft they wrote as a class.
  • Ask:

"Is our 'Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?' class narrative appropriate for the task and purpose? How do you know?" (Yes, because it tells the reader what is happening, where, and when, and introduces the main characters in the story.)

  • If productive, cue students to listen carefully and seek to understand:

"Who can tell us what your classmate said in your own words?" (Responses will vary.)

  • Focus students on the learning targets. Read each one aloud, pausing after each to use a checking for understanding protocol for students to reflect on their comfort level with or show how close they are to meeting each target. 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 collaborated in this lesson.
  • For students who may need additional support with reading: Consider asking them to share creative ideas for narrative writing. Consider meeting with them in advance to prep them. Having their ideas heard during the lesson will build confidence and reinforce that their voices are important. (MMR)
  • For ELLs: To further scaffold toward independent writing, consider writing some sentences as an interactive experience. Example: Invite an intermediate or advanced proficiency student to write a sentence on the board. Encourage the class to support the student in self-correcting any errors.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Exit Ticket (5 minutes)

  • Distribute Exit Ticket: Plot Structures.
  • Read the questions on the exit ticket aloud for students. Select students to read each option aloud and invite students to underline the answer they think is correct.
  • For ELLs: Remind students that they can use clues and the process of elimination to choose the best answer even if they don't understand every word in the question. Think aloud the process of choosing the right answer.

Homework

HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs

A. Vocabulary. Follow the directions in your Unit 1 homework packet.

B. Choose and respond to a Narrative QuickWrite prompt in your Unit 1 homework packet.

C. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt to respond to in the front of your independent reading journal.

  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with reading and writing: Refer to the suggested homework support in Lesson 1. (MMAE, MMR)

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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