Reading, Asking Questions, and Writing: Close Read-aloud, Session 1: A Tree for Emmy and Enjoying Trees Journal | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA GK:M4:U1:L2

Reading, Asking Questions, and Writing: Close Read-aloud, Session 1: A Tree for Emmy and Enjoying Trees Journal

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RL.K.1: With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
  • RL.K.2: With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.
  • RL.K.3: With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
  • RL.K.5: Recognize common types of texts (e.g., storybooks, poems).
  • RL.K.6: With prompting and support, name the author and illustrator of a story and define the role of each in telling the story.
  • W.K.8: With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • SL.K.2: Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood.
  • SL.K.4: Describe familiar people, places, things, and events and, with prompting and support, provide additional detail.
  • LK.1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • LK.1b: Use frequently occurring nouns and verbs.
  • L.K.2: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
  • L.K.2a: Capitalize the first word in a sentence and the pronoun I.
  • L.K.2b: Recognize and name end punctuation.
  • L.K.4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on kindergarten reading and content.
  • L.K.4a: Identify new meanings for familiar words and apply them accurately (e.g., knowing duck is a bird and learning the verb to duck).
  • L.K.6: Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts.

Daily Learning Targets

  • I can ask and answer questions about the characters, settings, and major events in the text A Tree for Emmy. (RL.K.1, RL.K.2, RL.K.3, RL.K.5, RL.K.6, SL.K.2)
  • I can describe the different ways people can enjoy trees. (W.K.8, SL.K.4, L.K.1b, L.K.2a, L.K.2b, L.K.6)

Ongoing Assessment

  • During the close read-aloud in Work Time B, use the Reading Literature Checklist to track student progress toward RL.K.1, RL.K.2, RL.K.3, RL.K.5, and RL.K.6 (see Assessment Overview and Resources). 
  • Collect students' Enjoying Trees Journal, Part 1 and use the Language Checklist to track progress toward L.K.1b, L.K.2a, L.K.2b, and L.K.6 (see Assessment Overview and Resources).

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Poem and Movement: "The Many Meanings of Words" (10 minutes)

2. Work Time 

A. Shared Reading: Asking Questions to Understand a Story Anchor Chart (5 minutes)

B. Close Read-aloud, Session 1: A Tree for Emmy (20 minutes)

C. Role-Play Protocol: A Tree for Emmy, Pages 4, 6, 7, 28 (10 minutes)

4. Closing and Assessment 

A. Independent and Shared Writing: Launching Enjoying Trees Journal, Part 1 (15 minutes)

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards: 

  • This is the first lesson in a series of three in which students participate in a close read-aloud of the text A Tree for Emmy. Throughout the read-aloud, students build comprehension by asking and answering questions about the characters, setting, and major events (RL.K.1, RL.K.2, RL.K.3).
  • The pages of A Tree for Emmy are not numbered. For instructional purposes, the page that begins with "Emmy loved all kinds of trees" should be considered page 1 and all pages thereafter numbered accordingly.
  • Students continue to think about the Unit 1 guiding question ("How are trees important to others?") as they talk and write about different ways to enjoy trees in the Role-Play protocol in Work Time C and in independent writing in the Closing.
  • In the Closing, students are introduced to the Enjoying Trees Journal, Part 1. Students use this journal to observe and discuss a picture of people enjoying trees, sketch that image, and then describe it in writing. Throughout the unit, students will observe, discuss, sketch, and write about different ways to enjoy trees. The writing in this journal serves as a way to track progress toward L.K.1b, L.K.2a, L.K.2b, and L.K.6.

How this lesson builds on previous work: 

  • During Lesson 1, students were introduced to the module and unit guiding questions. In this lesson, they continue to reflect on the unit guiding question through role-play and independent and shared writing. 
  • Continue to use Conversation Cues to promote productive and equitable conversation.

Areas in which students may need additional support: 

  • During the Opening, students listen to the poem "The Many Meanings of Words" read aloud. Students may find the language and word use of this text challenging. Depending on the needs of your students, consider taking more time to define new meanings of familiar words in context with realia, pictures, or actions to support their general understanding that a word can have more than one meaning.
  • During independent writing in the Closing, remind students to use the classroom resources such as Word Walls, anchor charts, and texts to improve their writing. Consider allowing students to select a work area in the room that allows them to best use the resources they need.

Down the road: 

  • In Lessons 3-5, students will continue the close read-aloud of A Tree for Emmy and use the information gathered about the characters, setting, and major events to compare and contrast the experiences of Emmy and her family. The culminating task of comparing and contrasting the experiences of Emmy and her family is preparation for the Unit 1 Assessment, during which students compare and contrast the experiences of characters in Oliver's Tree.
  • In Lessons 3, 4, 6, 7, and 9, students continue sketching and describing pictures of people enjoying trees in the Enjoying Trees journal.

In Advance

  • Prepare:
    • Trees Are Important Word Wall cards for swing and climb. 
    • Enjoying Trees journals on clipboards for independent writing in the Closing.
  • Pair students for the Role-Play protocol in Work Time C.
  • Post: Learning targets, "The Many Meanings of Words," and applicable anchor charts (see materials list).

Tech and Multimedia

  • Continue to use the technology tools recommended throughout Modules 1-3 to create anchor charts to share with families; to record students as they participate in discussions and protocols to review with students later and to share with families; and for students to listen to and annotate text, record ideas on note-catchers, and word-process writing.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards K.1.A.3, K.1.B.6, and K.2.C.10

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs with opportunities to reflect on how words have multiple meanings, analyze character enjoyment of trees, and produce writing about people enjoying trees. A focused read-aloud, role-play, and structured writing experience facilitate academic knowledge acquisition.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to independently produce the language to complete the writing in Work Time C. Encourage students to discuss their responses with a partner, use the Word Wall, and request help if needed (see levels of support).

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • During the Opening, consider color-coding the words in the poem that look the same but mean different things. To help students remember the concept, begin a routine that includes a simple refrain and gestures. Point to the pair of words and say that they "Look and sound the same" (point to your eyes and ears) "but mean different things" (separate your hands to opposite sides of your body as if to indicate difference). When learning and practicing the poem in subsequent lessons, repeat this multiple times, and then ask students what they know about those words. 
  • Before students begin writing in Work Time C, invite them to practice their responses with a partner or small group. This allows them to articulate their idea before writing, as well as modify or expand it as a result of their conversation.

For heavier support:

  • During Work Time B, consider collecting a basket of real items or photographs to affix and manipulate along the poem and Word Wall. This will help students internalize the vocabulary by seeing, touching and smelling (multiple modalities).  
  • During Work Time C, circulate and check in with students who may need additional support writing their ideas in their journal. Provide specific questions (e.g., "What do you see here?" "How could you write that?"), and then repeat the prompt. Consider modeling a response and offering to scribe the students' ideas with a highlighter for them to trace.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): In this lesson, students listen to a read-aloud of A Tree for Emmy. Some may need support in incorporating the most valuable information from the text into existing knowledge. Providing explicit cues or prompts to support students in attending to the features that matter most as they follow along. Before reading the text, activate background knowledge by previewing the questions you will ask.
  • Multiple Means of Action and Expression (MMAE): Continue to support a range of fine motor abilities and writing needs by offering students options for writing utensils. Also, consider supporting students' expressive skills by offering partial dictation of their responses. Recall that varying tools for construction and composition supports students' ability to express knowledge without barriers to communicating their thinking.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): Recall that sustained engagement and effort is essential for student achievement. Continue to support students with consistent reminders of learning goals and their value or relevance. Students who may need additional support with sustained effort and concentration are helped when these reminders are built into the learning environment.

Vocabulary

Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T)

New:

  • storybook, climb (L)
  • stick, leave, bark, swing, pasture (T)

Review:

  • character, setting, major events, enjoy, trunk, branch, noun, verb (L)

Materials

  • "The Many Meanings of Words" (one to display; for teacher read-aloud)
  • Asking Questions to Understand a Story anchor chart (new; teacher-created; see supporting materials)
  • Asking Questions to Understand a Story anchor chart (example, for teacher reference)
  • A Tree for Emmy (one to display; for teacher read-aloud)
  • Close Read-Aloud Guide: A Tree for Emmy (Session 1; for teacher reference)
    • Reading Literature Checklist (see Assessment Overview and Resources)
  • Role-Play Protocol anchor chart (begun in Module 2)
  • Enjoying Trees Journal, Part 1 (page 1; one per student and one for teacher modeling)
  • Enjoying Trees Journal, Part 1 (example; for teacher reference)
  • Enjoying Trees image 1 (one to display)
  • Living Things Word Wall (from Module 3)
  • Clipboards (one per student)
  • Pencils (one per student)
  • Colored pencils (a variety of colors per student)

Assessment

Each unit in the K-2 Language Arts Curriculum has one standards-based assessment built in. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Poem and Movement: "The Many Meanings of Words" (10 minutes)

  • Gather students whole group. 
  • Display "The Many Meanings of Words" and read aloud the title.
  • Follow the same routine established in Modules 1-3 to read "The Many Meanings of Words":
    • Direct students' attention to the posted poem.
    • Invite students to first listen as you read the poem fluently and without interruption.
    • Reread the poem with students and invite them to read along as you point to the text.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"What type of text is this?" (a poem)

"How do you know?" (Responses will vary, but may include: The words tree and me rhyme. The writer used a lot of words that describe.)

  • Reread each stanza, focusing on the new definitions of familiar words. Define in context the following words: 
    • stick (to remain or become fixed in place)
    • leave (to go away or depart)
    • trunk (a large container used to store things)
    • bark (the sound made by a dog)
  • Invite students to create a signal or movement for each of the words above.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group: 

"What is this poem about?" (words that have different meanings)

  • Tell students that the poem teaches us that some words have more than one meaning. For example, bark covers a tree, but it is also the sound a dog makes.
  • Provide specific, positive feedback on students' participation with the poem.
  • For ELLs: (Language Dive Connection) Invite students to recall which word was discussed as having multiple meanings in the Language Dive from Gus Is a Tree (strikes). 
  • For students who may need additional support with comprehension: Illustrate key words or phrases in the poem. Remind students that like the pictures in the books we read, these illustrations can help us make sense of the text. (MMR)

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Shared Reading: Asking Questions to Understand a Story Anchor Chart (5 minutes)

  • Direct students' attention to the Asking Questions to Understand a Story anchor chart and tell them that they will use the information from this anchor chart to help them ask questions while they read.
  • Focus students on the columns titled "If you ..." and "Ask ..." on the anchor chart. Tell students that the column "If you ..." points out specific parts of the book that might be confusing, and the column "Ask ..." has a question they could ask to help them understand.
  • Read aloud the Asking Questions to Understand a Story anchor chart from left to right. Pause and provide further explanation as needed (e.g., review character). Refer to the Asking Questions to Understand a Story anchor chart (example, for teacher reference) as necessary.
  • Invite students to stand up and create a signal or gesture for each scenario on the anchor chart as you reread it.
  • Tell students that they will now participate in a read-aloud, and they will use this anchor chart to help them ask questions about the story.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with comprehension: (Partner Talk: Restating the Learning) Consider asking students to turn and talk with a partner to restate what the anchor chart is for and when they would use it. Invite students to share what their partners said. (MMR, MMAE)

B. Close Read-aloud, Session 1: A Tree for Emmy (20 minutes)

  • Refocus whole group.
  • Direct students' attention to the learning targets and read the first one aloud:

I can ask and answer questions about the characters, settings, and major events in the text A Tree for Emmy. 

  • Turn and Talk:

"What are characters?" (people or animals in a story) 

"What is the setting?" (where a story takes place)

"What are major events?" (the important things that happen in the beginning, middle, and end of a story)

  • Remind students that during the read-aloud, they will pause and use the questions from the Asking Questions to Understand a Story anchor chart to help them understand the characters, setting, and major events as they read.
  • Display the text A Tree for Emmy and tell students that this is a storybook, or a book that tells something that happened, either true or made up. Tell students that this story is made up, or fiction. The author imagined these things happening.
  • Guide students through the close read-aloud for A Tree for Emmy using the Close Read-aloud Guide: A Tree for Emmy (Session 1; for teacher reference). Consider using the Reading Literature Checklist during the close read-aloud (see Assessment Overview and Resources).
  • During Session 1, refer to the guide for the use of: 
    • Asking Questions to Understand a Story anchor chart
  • Refocus whole group. Give students specific, positive feedback on their close reading skills. (Example: "I saw you using the Asking Questions to Understand a Story anchor chart to help you better understand the setting of the story.") 
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with vocabulary: (Visuals: Learning Target) Sketch an icon above the words character, settings, and major events. At the completion of this and subsequent lessons, ask students to explain what each of these means. (Responses will vary, but may include: the people in the book, where the story takes place, important things that happen). Each time you reference these story elements in the text, consider referring back to the learning target and the icons. (MMR)
  • Before reading, provide white boards and white board markers as an option for students to record (in drawing or writing) their ideas. This will also help scaffold active listening for key details. (MMR, MMAE)

C. Role-Play Protocol: A Tree for Emmy, Pages 4, 6, 7, 28 (10 minutes)

  • Refocus whole group.
  • Offer students specific, positive feedback on their engagement during the read-aloud. 
  • Tell students they are now going to use the Role-Play protocol to act out different ways Emmy enjoys (to find pleasure or happiness in something) trees in the text A Tree for Emmy with a partner. Remind them that acting out different parts of the text can help them understand it better. Remind them that they used this protocol in previous modules and review as necessary using the Role-Play Protocol anchor chart. Refer to the Classroom Protocols document for the full version of the protocol.
  • Move students into pre-determined pairs and invite them to decide who will play the part of Emmy and who will play the part of the family.
  • Guide students through the Role-Play protocol for pages 4, 6, 7, and 28.
  • Refocus students whole group and, using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"How did Emmy enjoy the mimosa tree?" (Responses will vary, but may include: Emmy swung on the branches; Emmy shook the seedpods to make music; etc.)

Conversation Cue: "Who can add on to what your classmate said? I'll give you time to think." (Responses will vary.)

  • Tell students that by understanding the ways Emmy enjoyed the mimosa tree, they can start to think of other ways people could enjoy trees.
  • Tell students that next they will write about how different people enjoy trees.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support in sustaining interest: (Peer Modeling and Leadership: Role-Play) Invite a few students who might normally shy away from participation to demonstrate their role-play for the class. (MME)

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Independent and Shared Writing: Launching Enjoying Trees Journal, Part 1 (15 minutes)

  • Refocus students whole group and offer specific, positive feedback on their collaboration during the Role-Play protocol.
  • Direct students' attention to the posted learning targets and read the second one aloud:

"I can describe the different ways people can enjoy trees."

  • With excitement, display the Enjoying Trees Journal, Part 1. Briefly flip through the pages, giving students a sneak peek of what they will be writing about.
  • Remind students to write their name on the front cover and model by writing your name on the copy for teacher modeling.
  • Tell students that in this journal they will describe how people in a picture are enjoying trees. Refer to the Enjoying Trees Journal, Part 1 (example, for teacher reference) as necessary.
  • Display the Enjoying Trees image 1 and consider using the routine from Module 3 to closely observe all parts of the picture.
  • Turn and Talk:

"How are the people in this picture enjoying trees?" (The kids are climbing the tree. The dad is helping the kids.)

Conversation Cue: "Who can add on to what your classmate said? I'll give you time to think." (Responses will vary.)

  • Tell students that they can use words and phrases they learned from the text A Tree for Emmy to help them write.
  • Direct students' attention to the previously added Trees Are Important Word Wall card for swing. Tell students that they could use this word while writing, as well as words for tree parts like trunk or branch from the Living Things Word Wall.
  • Show students the Trees Are Important Word Wall card for climb (to go toward the top) and follow the same process established in Modules 1-3: provide its definition, clap out its syllables, use it in a sentence, and place the Word Wall card and picture for it on the Trees Are Important Word Wall.
  • Direct students' attention back to the Enjoying Trees Journal, Part 1. Point out that they will sketch the important details from the picture in the box, and then describe how the people are enjoying the tree in writing.
  • Tell students that their writing should include a noun, the person or people in the picture, and a verb that says what the person or people are doing. Remind them that all complete sentences use a noun and a verb. Provide examples as needed.
  • Distribute the prepared clipboards with students' Enjoying Trees journals, pencils, and colored pencils.
  • Tell students that they may begin sketching and writing to describe how the people in the picture are enjoying the tree. Remind them to use the Word Wall words as needed.
  • Circulate to support students as they sketch and write.
  • After about 8 minutes, signal students to stop and refocus them whole group.
  • Turn and Talk:

"How did you describe the picture on page 1?" (Responses will vary.)

  • Circulate and listen in as students share.
  • Direct students' attention back to the displayed Enjoying Trees Journal, Part 1, and model completing the sketch and descriptive writing with your own sentence(s) (e.g., "A kid climbs up the tree trunk. Another kid swings from a big branch. The dad is helping.")
    • Model capitalizing the first word in the sentence.
    • Model using a period as end punctuation.
    • Reread the sentence and highlight the noun(s) and verb(s).
  • Tell students to put away the pencils and clipboards in the designated area.
  • Provide specific, positive feedback on students' ability to observe closely and describe what they see.
  • Tell students that they will continue describing ways to enjoy trees as they complete the Enjoying Trees Journal, Part 1 in future lessons.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with strategy development: (Peer Modeling and Leadership: Writing) Before modeling your own sentence, consider asking a few students who have strong examples of completing the learning target to sit in front of the class and show their writing. Invite other students to appreciate and notice what their classmate did well. (MMAE)
  • For students who may need additional support with expressive skills: Consider charting some words and phrases from the text as scaffolding for independent writing. (MMAE)

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