In this lesson, we continued on in our article called 'Doctor Bugs' from a National Geographic magazine (March, 2008). Rather than placing a single red and green sticker next to two spots in the text, I modeled how to use my pink and green highlighters to code every sentence. I did a think aloud to explain to kids why I made a sentence pink or green. It helped students see that everything we read in a text is either important/essential information or just little extra details.
Like we did in the mini-lesson, students tallied where they found important information while reading the 'Bugs with Horns' section of the article.
My hope was that students would code the text similarly to one another even though they worked independently. As I walked around to assess their progress, I was pleased to see most students highlighted both the entire second and third paragraphs green. Those paragraphs were mainly about the author's personal experience and opinion about the stagflies, which students learned were not important.. The kids discovered there was important information in the fourth and fifth paragraphs, with just one sentence in the fifth paragraph that wasn't important!
In a lesson earlier this week, we made the connection that important information can help us find the main idea of a text. You can see in this student's Thoughtful Log, I modeled for students how to find the main idea of two books we had read previously in the day. (I forgot to take a picture of my SMARTboard slide!) Then I had students read an article on fossils for independent practice. Students wrote in their Thoughtful Logs what they thought the main idea of the article was.
I always try to find ways kids to use technology during our reading block, so today I had students head to the computer lab to use a main idea website. On the website, there are several short stories for students to read, followed by a drop down menu of three choices for a main idea for the reading.
To keep kids honest and to slow down their often 'click-happy' fingers, I had students record what they believed the main idea was for each of the short readings before clicking the 'submit' button.
After writing down the main idea and clicking 'submit', the computer would tell students' whether they got the main idea right or not. Students recorded their progress by circling Yes or No next to each story title on the worksheet I created to coincide with the activity. This was a quick way to assess who understood main idea and who will need more support in guided reading.
Here's a short clip of this student as she reads the text, records what she believes the main idea is, submits her answer, then records whether she got it right!
In writing, we started a new genre - poetry! April just happens to be Poetry Month, too. I used Dr. Seuss' My Many Colored Days to help teach the following objectives (that I put on an anchor chart but forgot to take a picture of!):
- Poetry is compact writing expressing intense emotion.
- Poetry provides opportunities for word play.
Social studies is another excellent subject where students can grow as readers! You may remember a previous blog post about students using a Slaves' Stories website to infer important information about African immigrants' journeys coming to America. I used the book Now Let Me Fly by Delores Johnson to continue what students had learned from the website but to also extend what life was like for these immigrants once they were in America. In the book, many of the children get split from their mother and their lives take them in different directions within the U.S. Here is the anchor chart I started.