This week we have taken the standards one-by-one and shared book titles and lesson ideas for each. Today we continue this series of posts with K-1, 2-3, and 4-5 lessons for teaching standard 3, which we have nicknamed The “Things Change” Standard. Of course, given the nature of the standards, these books and lesson ideas aren’t limited to standard three, but support a number of the standards. Since these are lesson ideas for back-to-school, the titles continue to explore topics such as community, learning to read, loving books, the importance of print, and identity.
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Kindergarten and First Grade Lessons
ELA.RL.K.3 With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
ELA.RL.1.3 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
Suggested Title: Mr. George Baker by Amy Hest
At first, it doesn’t seem that George and Harry have much in common, since George is an old man and Harry is just a child. George has never learned to read, however, so he waits with Harry for the bus and goes to first grade. George is 100 years old, is a jazz musician, and dances with his wife. What we love about this book is that it shows the many dimensions of George; learning how to read at 100 doesn’t diminish George’s character, it rounds it out. The other thing we love about this book is that it captures the challenge inherent in learning to read.
Have a conversation with students about why they want to learn to read. Tell them that you are going to read a book about two students who are learning to read in the same classroom. Read aloud Mr. George Baker asking questions that prompt students to think about what it takes to learn to read and the way that George’s mindset helped him take on that challenge even though he was 100 years old. You might point out that George was loved for himself, which made it safe for him to take this risk in his old age. After reading, introduce students to Venn Diagrams by drawing one on the board and comparing George and Harry.
Second and Third Grade Lessons
ELA.RL.2.3 Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
ELA.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.
Suggested Title: Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox
Next door to Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge’s home is a nursing home in which several of Wilfred’s good friends reside. His favorite, a 96 year old woman with four names just like him, is Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper. Unfortunately, Miss Nancy has “lost” her memory and Wilfred sets about collecting things that not only help Miss Nancy “find” her past, but also help Wilfred understand the true meaning of a memory.
Before beginning to read aloud Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge to students, present students with the list of following words and discuss the meanings of each: curious, compassionate, helpful, playful. As you read aloud, ask students to think about which words describe Wilfred? Miss Nancy? Both? What evidence from the story allows them to draw these conclusions? Do these words influence the choices/behavior of the characters or would another word better describe what motivates each character? After considering how these words relate to the characters in this book, ask students to think about how these characteristics might contribute to an inviting classroom environment and ask students to imagine what actions would reflect curiosity, compassion, helpfulness, and playfulness in the classroom.
As an extension, set up a basket in the classroom. During the year, put significant items into the basket when you do special activities as a class. At the middle or end of the year, pull the items out of the basket to remember the special times your classroom community has shared.
Fourth and Fifth Grade Lessons
ELA.RL.4.3 Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.e., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).
ELA.RL.5.3 Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).
Suggested Title: That Book Woman by Heather Henson
Set in the Appalachian Mountains, Cal and his family live too far away from school for the children to attend, but a pack librarian travels by horse to their home every two weeks to bring books. Cal’s sister loves to read, but Cal calls print “chicken scratch” and boasts that he is better at chores. The relentlessness of the pack librarian, Cal’s sister’s passion for books, and a nasty winter storm set in place circumstances that prompt Cal to take on the challenge of learning to read. This is one of the best books out there on learning to read! Heather Henson’s story, written in dialect, is insightful and tender, as the travelling librarian gives two children, who have very little, the gift of books.
Read aloud That Book Woman. As you are reading, have students engage in conversations about the character development of Cal and his sister. What does the author reveal about them through her words. What does the illustrator reveal through his pictures? How are the two different? The same? Why doesn’t Cal want to learn to read? How do they know? After reading the book aloud, engage students in a shared reading experience by printing informational text, such as this article, about the pack librarians. Print out copies Here is a link to photographs of the pack librarians.