The essential questions for this unit of study are:
The Carrot Seed
This week we studied the text, The Carrot Seed by Ruth Kraus. This choice is for the following reasons:
· Most students have grown some kind of plant. (familiarity and prior knowledge)
· The structure is somewhat procedural and uses a seesaw effect. (opposing opinions)
· The illustrations are large. (they are not colorful: this text was written in 1945)
· Text and pictures match (emphasizing picture-word match)
· There is a pattern to the text.
· Most students have experienced trying to do something others say they cannot accomplish. (familiarity and prior knowledge)
Monday-Teacher read the book and students listened. There was a follow-up conversation about the book. Most students had not heard this story before.
Tuesday-Teacher and students read the book together. Dialogue was introduced as were the phrases talking marks and quotation marks. Students were asked to take on the persona of the characters in the book when reading what they said.
Thursday-Students read the book chorally. Students talked about how Ruth Kraus had structured this story. With coaching from the teacher they saw the pattern of the boy thinking he could while everyone else said he could not. Several children brought up the word perseverance remembering what we had learned previously about expectations in first grade.
Friday-Students read the book chorally with a student helper pointing to the words. The teacher asked if anyone had thought of a situation when they had tried to do something and others said they could not. Isabel shared that she had a wiggly tooth and everyone said it was not going to come out. The class responded. Most first grade students have lost at least one tooth by now. This scenario was one that all students could identify with and we used it as topic for our story. Quickly the students offered up the ideas for the story using the pattern of someone wanting to lose a tooth and everyone else saying it was not going to come out. They voted as a class for the gender and names of the main character and her sibling. They agreed to keep a mother and father in the story as well. The first draft was written by the teacher on the whiteboard while the students brainstormed. Some revision was done by the students as we worked. We reread what we had scripted. Students appeared satisfied with their work. The teacher then set up the LCD projector and her laptop. She began to write the story page by page. As she did, she asked, “Is there anything you want to change, add, or delete?” Students began discussing changes. Each change was voted on by the class. Most changes were accepted but one at the end was not.
First Draft on the whiteboard
Emma’s Loose Tooth
By Mrs. Brown’s First Grade
Emma had a wiggly tooth.
“It’s not going to fall out”, said Mom.
“It’s not going to come out”, said Dad.
“It’s never ever going to get out of your mouth”, said her older brother, Caleb.
Emma chomped on a juicy cheeseburger with tomatoes and lettuce. The tooth got looser but it didn’t come out.
Mom said, “I don’t think it’s ever going to come out.”
Dad said, “If you chomp on a juicy cheeseburger it will get looser but it is not coming out.”
Caleb said, “It’s never ever going to fall out.”
So…Emma put her fingers into her mouth and pulled on her tooth.
“It’s just never ever, ever going to come out”, said Mom.
“It’s never ever, ever going to come out, never”, said Dad.
“Maybe…it will come out”, said Caleb.
So…Emma poked at it with a sharp toothpick but it didn’t come out.
Mom said, “It will never come out unless you drill it with a dentist drill.”
Dad said, “If you pull harder it might come out.”
Caleb said, “Maybe…it will come out.”
Then…Emma bit into a Granny Smith apple and her tooth came out! Just like Emma knew it would.
The students are in the process of illustrating each page now. Hopefully we will have it complete by next week and I can post a picture.
Each book we do becomes more meaningful. Students are making many connections between their reading and writing now, talking more about craft, and recognizing that they can do the same types of writing that career writers do. I can’t wait to get started on the next featured big book.