The following is a lesson plan that was implemented on a fourth grade class at Klein Road Elementary in New Braunfels ISD.
- TLW will comprehend the plot of the story “The Spiders” and be able to orally answer questions about the elements of the story.
- TLW be able to apply their knowledge of the story by writing their own ending.
- The teacher will reinforce good reading strategies learners use (as they occur incidentally) by having learner return to text, pointing out or discussing what they did to help themselves.
- TLW learn new vocabulary words - descent, faint, corpse, scuttled, mourner, determinedly, shrill, accusation, monotonous, rasping, ghastly, pistons, unison – by using context clues, connecting to prior knowledge, listening to direct explanation, writing the word, and using their prior knowledge of a thesaurus to locate words of similar meaning.
- 4.1-A: read aloud grade-level stories with fluency (rate, accuracy, expression, appropriate phrasing) and comprehension.
- 4.2-B: use the context of the sentence (e.g., in-sentence example or definition) to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words or multiple meaning words.[2B]
- 4.2-RCC: establish purposes for reading selected texts based upon own or others’ desired outcome to enhance comprehension.[RCA]
- 4.2-RCA: monitor and adjust comprehension (e.g., using background knowledge, creating sensory images, rereading a portion aloud, generating questions).[RCC]
Materials: 5 copies of The Spiders by Jack Gabolinscy, thesaurus, pencils, black and brown construction paper, lined paper, scissors, glue.
Lesson set-up: A group of four students with a DRA level that is between 53-59 will be arranged around the outer edge of the guided reading table. The teacher will sit inside the table so she can easily see all of the students. The expectations will be set as follows: the students will participate, read aloud at a low volume, and listen to anything the teacher is saying.
Phase 1: Book Orientation (Before):
- The teacher will ask the students what they think a thesaurus is for, and how to use it. The students will explain orally their experiences and knowledge of a thesaurus. The response should include using the thesaurus to find words of a similar meaning, and even to help understand words they do not know.
- Brief overview: The teacher will ask the students to give their opinions on spiders and to use their background knowledge of spiders to support their statements.
- Preview Pictures: The students will flip through the book with the teacher and begin to formulate their own purpose for reading, as well as get an idea of what they think the story is about. At this time the teacher will also point out some of the unknown words she would like them to focus on: “descent” pg. 4, “scuttled” pg. 8, “shrill” pg. 16, “monotonous” pg. 22, “unison” pg. 22. On pg. 20 the teacher will direct the students’ attention to the phrase “scale the walls” and ask them what they think it means.
- Set a reading purpose: At this time the students will decide what it is they want to find out in the story and set their own purpose for reading. The teacher will ask students what they know about the story and what they want to know.
Phase 2: Children Read (During):
- The students will read the story aloud at their own pace as the teacher listens in and takes a running record.
- Discussion questions: On page 4 the teacher will ask the students what they think will happen next. Then, she will stop them at page 20 and ask the students why they think the main character was thoughtful at that point in time.
- Strategy reinforcement: The teacher will listen in at the words stated below and monitor to see if the students are using their comprehension strategies to decipher the unknown vocabulary. If she notices that they have used a strategy, she will ask them to tell her what they think the word means and if they can tell what they did that yielded those results. If strategies are not being used, the teacher will stop the students and ask them to use their context clues to discover the meaning of the unknown words.
- Word work: We will be focusing on “descent” pg. 4, “faint”, “corpse” and “scuttled” pg. 8, “accusation” pg. 20, and “monotonous, rasping, ghastly, pistons, unison” on page 22. The teacher will stop the students at the beginning of page 22 and have them read it line by line. As they come across the unknown words they will use their strategies to decipher them, and the teacher will guide them. After they have made it to the bottom of the page, the teacher will have the students reread the page at their own pace as they had been doing previously.
Phase 3: Respond (After):
- The children will work independently to create their own alternate ending to the story. Before they can do this, they must pick four of the new vocabulary words learned and use the thesaurus to find words of similar meanings. The words they find may not be common, and must either be new or not in the general lexicon of the students. Using the brown and black construction paper, the students will make their own spiders. The legs will be made with the brown paper, and on one set of legs they will write the words they chose from the story, and on the opposite side they will write the respective synonyms that they found. The students will then write their own ending on the notebook paper using either the words from the story or the words from the thesaurus. When they are done they will paste the endings on the body of the spider.
Assessment: The students will be assessed on their learning of the objectives through anecdotal notes, their responses to questions asked and their response activities. To demonstrate quality, the students must show that they created a unique and creative ending to the story that seems plausible and they have used the four words that they had chosen. The words must be appropriately woven into the writing and used properly grammatically, semantically, and syntactically.
Planned Modifications: For ESL students, they will not be required to locate a synonym for the words they chose, and they will orally dictate their response to a teacher or a partner prior to writing it down. SPED students will have a simpler version of the text and the teacher will read aloud with them. SPED students will be pulled in groups no larger than 2.
Closing: What did you learn from the story? Vocabulary, about spiders, answer to their set purposes. What did we do that good readers do? Use strategies, use context clues, used a thesaurus. Why is it important to use the strategies? So we can become better readers, so we can understand what we read, so we can build our vocabularies. What was the meaning of some of the new words we learned? Answers will vary in respect to some of the words. Why did we write our own endings? How can that help you as a reader and writer?