Writing a Pourquoi Tale: Establishing the Situation and Character | EL Education Curriculum

You are here

ELA G3:M2:U1:L8

Writing a Pourquoi Tale: Establishing the Situation and Character

You are here:

These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Daily Learning Targets

  • I can write the beginning of a pourquoi tale that establishes the situation and character and uses precise and interesting words and phrases. (W.3.3a, W.3.4, W.3.5, L.3.3a)
  • I can read my pourquoi tale aloud accurately and with expression. (RF.3.4a, RF.3.4b, RF.3.4c)

Ongoing Assessment

  • Narrative Planning Graphic Organizer: New "Why" Question
  • Beginning of a pourquoi tale

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Reviewing Learning Targets (10 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Analyzing Class Pourquoi Tale (10 minutes)

B. Preparing for Independent Writing: Sketching the Beginning of a Pourquoi Tale (10 minutes)

C. Independent Writing: Beginning of a Pourquoi Tale (20 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Reading Aloud: Beginning of a Pourquoi Tale (10 minutes)

4. Homework

A. 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 write the beginning of their pourquoi tale (W.3.3, W.3.3a). They are reminded to use Vocabulary Logs and the domain-specific Word Wall to ensure their language is precise and interesting (L.3.3, L.3.3a).
  • In Work Time A, students begin using the Narrative Writing Checklist (W.3.3). Throughout the school year, students are provided with checklists for their writing, which outline the key criteria that the CCSS require of the writing type. These checklists are closely aligned with the teacher rubrics used to grade student assessments. An empty column is provided on each student checklist for students to add criteria for the specific characteristics required by the writing prompt, and time, directions, and examples for this process are built into the relevant lessons.
  • The focus standard in this half of the unit is W.3.3a, W.3.3b. W.3.3c, W.3.3d. Please be aware that the Narrative Writing Checklist also addresses many other skills and standards that are not taught in great detail in this half of the unit. Those skills and standards are present on the checklist because it is important for students to become familiar with what is required in an effective piece of narrative writing. It is important that they are made aware of these skills and practice them, even though they aren't the focus of this half of the unit.
  • In the interest of time, students revise and edit their pourquoi tale as they go. Those who require more writing time may not be able to thoroughly revise and edit their pourquoi tales, but this isn't an emphasis of this unit.
  • Students who finish quickly or require an extension can illustrate the beginning of their stories.
  • In this unit, the habit of character focus is working to contribute to a better world. The characteristic they are reminded of in this lesson is: use my strengths as they read their drafts aloud in small groups.
  • 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 this lesson by reading the beginning of their pourquoi tale aloud in Closing and Assessment A.

How it builds on previous work:

  • In Lessons 5 and 7, students began planning their pourquoi tales using the Narrative Planning Graphic Organizer: New "Why" Question. They have also written a class pourquoi tale in preparation for writing their own stories.
  • Continue to use Goals 1 and 2 Conversation Cues to promote productive and equitable conversation.

Areas where students may need additional support:

  • Some students may require more time to orally tell the beginning of their story with a peer or an adult before writing.
  • Some students may require support with recording their writing. Consider allowing those students to use word processing software, slant boards, speech-to-text technology, or a scribe.

Assessment guidance:

  • Use the appropriate sections of the Narrative Writing Rubric to guide your feedback as you view student work. Rubrics can be found in the Grade 3: Writing Rubrics document.
  • Consider using the Reading Fluency Checklist (see Informal Checklists) to informally assess students as they read aloud the beginning of their stories in Closing and Assessment A of this lesson.
  • Consider using the Reading: Foundational Skills Informal Assessment: Phonics and Word Recognition Checklist (Grade 3) to informally assess students as they read aloud the beginning of their stories in Closing and Assessment A of this lesson.
  • Collect in Narrative QuickWrite homework from Lesson 6, and check students' vocabulary homework from Lesson 6.

Down the road:

  • Students will continue writing their pourquoi tale in the second half of this unit.
  • Students will write another pourquoi tale for the End of Unit 1 Assessment in Lesson 13. The scaffolding in the lessons leading up to the assessment will help them understand the steps they need to take to write a pourquoi narrative independently.
  • Students will read their finished pourquoi tales in a Frog Festival in Lesson 14, so they will continue to practice reading aloud in the lessons leading up to that.

In Advance

  • Post: Learning targets, Fluent Readers Do These Things anchor chart.

Tech and Multimedia

  • Work Time C: Students type their drafts using Google Docs or other word processing software.
  • Work Time C: Students complete the beginning of their drafts 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.
  • Closing and Assessment A: Students record themselves reading the beginning of their stories using software or apps such as Audacity or GarageBand.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 3.I.B.8, 3.I.C.10, 3.II.A.1, 3.III.

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs with opportunities to participate in a draft-writing process that is often typical of U.S. education, transferring notes and thoughts into narrative prose.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to synthesize a lot of prior learning as they begin to draft their narratives. Ensure that they understand how to use their graphic organizers, Vocabulary Log, and Narrative Writing Checklist to create their stories. Ensure that students are using their Narrative Writing Checklist correctly. Encourage them to sketch icons next to each item on the checklist if it helps them remember its meaning. Help students locate evidence of relevant checklist items in their writing.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • For Opening A, buy or ask for large paint chips from a local hardware or paint store or print them online. Write the words precise, specific, and exact, each one on a different shade of the paint chip. Place them on the wall and discuss the shades of meaning in relation to narrative writing.
  • Encourage students to identify the strategies helpful to transferring notes and thoughts about frogs into complete English sentences for a narrative beginning. Example: "My notes were all noun phrases or things, so I made sure to add a predicate or an action. Also, I checked the graphic organizer to make sure I included all of the elements listed in my beginning.

For heavier support:

  • Some students may be unfamiliar with the practice of sharing their work with others. Explain that authors often present their work in front of a group of people, and since all of the students are the authors of the tales, they too will present their work. Reassure students that all of them have something to be proud of, even if they are not completely finished with their stories.
  • Review academic vocabulary and narrative writing structure as needed. Students may refer to their Vocabulary Log.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): In order to facilitate effective learning during this lesson, ensure that all students have access to the directions in each activity, and feel comfortable with the expectations. Vary the ways in which you convey expectations for each activity or task. Consider engaging in a clarifying discussion about the directions, or creating an outline of the steps for each activity.
  • Multiple Means of Action and Expression (MMAE): Before the lesson, check students' Narrative Planning graphic organizer in advance to ensure that they have a strong plan to work from as they begin drafting. Conference with those who may need additional support getting some ideas on paper.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): Invite students to reflect on their learning from the previous lessons with porquoi tales.  This supports students in understanding the value and relevance of the activities in this lesson. Provide support for students who may need additional guidance in peer interactions and collaboration.

Vocabulary

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

  • establish, situation, character, precise, expression (L) 

Materials

  • Narrative Texts handout (from Lesson 2; one per student and one to display)
  • "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" class narrative (completed in Lesson 6; one to display)
  • Narrative Planning Graphic Organizer: "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" (from Lesson 3; one to display)
  • Narrative Planning Graphic Organizer: New "Why" Question (from Lesson 5; one per student)
  • Narrative Writing Checklist (one per student and one to display)
  • Narrative Writing Checklist: Lesson 8 (example, for teacher reference)
  • Narrative Template: New "Why" Question (one per student)
  • Fluent Readers Do These Things anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Working to Contribute to a Better World anchor chart (from Lesson 1)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reviewing Learning Targets (10 minutes)

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

 "I can write the beginning of a pourquoi tale that establishes the situation and character and uses precise and interesting words and phrases."

  • Underline the words establishes, situation, and character. Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"What is the situation?" (what, where, when, who)

"What is the character?" (who is in the story)

"What does establishes mean?" (sets up)

"So what will the beginning of your pourquoi tale do?" (It will set up the who, what, where, and when.)

  • Display and invite students to retrieve their Narrative Texts handout, focusing them on the criteria about the beginning of a story. Invite students to make connections between this criteria and the learning target.
  • Underline the word precise. Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"What does precise mean?" (details are accurate)

"Why do we want our writing to be precise?" (It makes people take the story more seriously, which makes them want to read it.)

"What are some synonyms of the word precise? Remember, synonyms are words that mean the same thing. (Record student suggestions on the board: exact, accurate, correct, detailed, particular, specific)

  • Select a volunteer to read the third target aloud:

"I can read my pourquoi tale aloud accurately and with expression."

  • Underline the word expression. Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"What does reading aloud with expression mean?" (changing the tone of voice according to the content of the story)

  • Explain that today students will begin writing their pourquoi tales using their Narrative Planning graphic organizers. 
  • For ELLs and students who may benefit from visual supports: Provide the opportunity to draw or sketch definitions, act them out, or list synonyms for key terms in learning targets, such as pourquoi tale, establishes, situation, character, precise, accurately, and expression.  (MMR)
  • For ELLs: To facilitate the transfer of vocabulary skills across languages, point out that establish is establecer in Spanish. Example: "Establish in Spanish is establecer. That sounds so similar. So if you know the meaning of establecer, that might give you one clue about what establish means. Does anybody know establish in other languages?"

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Analyzing Class Pourquoi Tale (10 minutes)

  • Focus students on the "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" class narrative written in the first half of the unit.
  • Select volunteers to help you reread the whole story for the group.
  • Focus students on the beginning of the story, where the character and setting are established. Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"How did we establish or set up the character?" (Responses will vary depending on the story generated, but generally the characters are introduced through a description of what they are doing at the beginning of the story.)

"How did we establish or set up the setting?" (Responses will vary depending on the story generated, but generally the setting is introduced through details about where the characters are situated.)

  • Display the Narrative Planning Graphic Organizer: "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" and focus students on the Beginning section.
  • Remind students that they used the plan to write the class narrative. Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"What evidence of the plan can you see in the beginning of the finished story?" (Students should identify evidence of what, where, when, who.)

  • For ELLs and students who may need support organizing their ideas in writing: Consider color-coding the Narrative Planning Graphic Organizer: "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" and the "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" class narrative to help students make clear connections between the plan and the way that plan became a pourquoi tale. (MMAE)
  • For ELLs: Display the "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" class narrative on the board and annotate each paragraph as you discuss it. For example, next to Paragraph 1, write "beginning: setting and main characters" and underline key phrases that establish the setting or introduce a problem.

B. Preparing for Independent Writing: Sketching the Beginning of a Pourquoi Tale (10 minutes)

  • Invite students to retrieve their Narrative Planning Graphic Organizer: New "Why" Question and spend a few minutes reviewing what they have planned for the beginning of their stories. Students who did not finish planning their narratives in Lesson 7 or for homework should use this time to do so.
  • Explain that students are first going to sketch the beginning of their story in the appropriate place on their graphic organizer. Explain that this will help them to imagine the situation, which will help them to be more precise in their writing.
  • Explain that there should be evidence of what, where, when, and who in their sketch. If it will help them remember key details that they would like to include in their writing, they can label the sketch too.
  • Circulate to support students in sketching out the beginning of their pourquoi tale. Question them about the evidence of what, where, when, and who in their sketches.
  • For ELLs and students who may need support organizing their ideas in writing: Invite students to verbalize their ideas to an elbow partner before sketching. Encourage them to label the what, where, when, and who in their drawings to reinforce vocabulary and to scaffold toward writing. (MMAE)

C. Independent Writing: Beginning of a Pourquoi Tale (20 minutes)

  • Display and distribute the Narrative Writing Checklist. Read the relevant criteria about the beginning of a story and invite students to either highlight or draw a symbol next to them as a reminder of the criteria for this lesson. Refer to the Narrative Writing Checklist: Lesson 8 (example, for teacher reference) for which criteria will be worked on in this lesson.
  • Ensure that students understand what each checklist criterion requires of their writing.
  • Remind students that the Narrative Writing Checklist is for all pieces of narrative writing. Invite them to consider the Characteristics of My Pourquoi Tale column, where they can add criteria specific to this particular piece of writing, a pourquoi tale. Go through each of the rows they have highlighted/marked with a symbol and ask them to consider any specific criteria for this piece of writing. Refer to the Narrative Writing Checklist: Lesson 8 (example, for teacher reference) for ideas on how to provide general guidance for all students. Where there isn't specific criteria, this is because the criteria is precise enough already or because it will be specific to the individual pourquoi tale.
  • Give students 5 minutes to add anything specific to their particular pourquoi tale to the Characteristics of My Pourquoi Tale column of their checklist.
  • Focus students on the length of the beginning of the "Why Do Polliwogs Wiggle?" class narrative. Tell students that their beginning should be no more than three sentences long.
  • Invite students to turn to an elbow partner to use their sketch to say the beginning of their story aloud before they write it down.
  • Distribute Narrative Template: New "Why" Question.
  • Remind students to use the domain-specific words recorded in the back of their Vocabulary Logs and the words about frogs recorded on the domain-specific Word Wall in their stories where appropriate. Remind them that this will help make their writing precise.
  • Invite students to begin writing.
  • Write the following directions on the board for those who might finish quickly:
  1. Write the beginning of your story on the Situation and Characters pages of your template.
  2. Silently read the beginning of your story twice.
  3. Fix any errors and revise your writing based on what you notice.
  4. Find someone else who has finished and read each other's work. Make kind and helpful suggestions using the criteria on the Narrative Writing Checklist.
  5. Practice reading the beginning of your story aloud.
  • Circulate to support students in writing the beginning of their narratives. Provide reminders of the recommended length and of the what, where, when and who.
  • Invite students to record 'Y' for 'Yes' and the date in the final column of their Narrative Writing Checklist if they feel the criteria marked on their checklists have been achieved in their writing in this lesson.
  • For ELLs and students who may need support organizing their ideas in writing: Model using the Narrative Writing Checklist and graphic organizer sketches to write three sentences to reinforce the process. (MMAE)
  • For ELLs and students who may need support organizing their ideas in writing: Invite students who need lighter support to create sentence frames such as: "A long time ago, there was a _(character)_. The __(character)__ lived in __(place)____. The __(character)__ was __(description)." Invite students who need heavier support to use these frames in their pourquoi beginning. (MMAE)
  • For students who may need additional support in building writing stamina: Consider offering built-in breaks, where students can choose an activity such as getting water or stretching. Reduce the number of these breaks over time as students increase their stamina. (MME)

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reading Aloud: Beginning of a Pourquoi Tale (10 minutes)

  • Display the Fluent Readers Do These Things anchor chart. Remind students that they have used this anchor chart before.
  • Select volunteers to read the criteria loud.
  • Explain that at the end of this unit, students will participate in a Frog Festival in which they read their pourquoi tales aloud, so they will continue to practice reading aloud.
  • Focus students on the Working to Contribute to a Better World anchor chart and remind them of the habit of character already recorded, using my strengths. Remind students that they all bring different strengths to the group as they practice reading the beginning of their pourquoi tales aloud. For example, some students may have strengths in reading aloud smoothly, while others may have strengths in noticing and correcting mistakes as they read.
  • Invite students to get into groups of four and to follow the criteria on the Fluent Readers Do These Things anchor chart to read the beginning of their pourquoi tale aloud to their group.
  • Circulate to support students in reading their stories aloud.
  • 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 used their strengths in this lesson.
  • For students who may need additional support with fluency: Model reading the beginning of their narrative and have them repeat it back to you.  (MMR)

Homework

HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs

A. 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.

Get updates about our new K-5 curriculum as new materials and tools debut.

Sign Up