Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Curriculum Expectations:
* identify and order main ideas and supporting details, using graphic organizers (e.g. a story grammar: characters, setting, problem, solution; a sequential chart: first, then, next, finally) and organizational patterns (e.g. problem/solution, chronological order)

Specific Expectations:
* use a graphic organizer to order ideas
* understand that stories have a specific sequence to develop the characters, problem and the solution
* use ideas to elaborate and to write descriptively in order

writing paper
"Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" by Judith Viorst
pictures from the book
chart paper divided into three sections

Ministy of Education: Language (2006)
Trait Based Mini-Lessons for Teaching Writing
Using Picture Books to Teach Writing With the Traits
Getting Started With the Traits
Website: http://so024.k12.sd.us/organization/htm

Lesson Plan:
• Review how we develop ideas. (chart paper)
• Read the book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and periodically stop and ask what will happen next.
• After reading and briefly discussing the book, make a list of words that could describe how Alexander felt during the day.
• Show pictures from the story and have volunteers put the story in order.  Have them briefly retell the story in order with the pictures.

• Show a picture of a child that  looks totally content and happy and ask them to imagine that this is them at the end of the day.
• What would have had to happen so that they look and feel like that?  Brainstorm words that could describe how the content child felt during the day.
• Hand out graphic organizer to pairs and invite them to complete the organizer (by writing or drawing pictures) describing their "Most Fabulous, Awesome, Great, Very Good Day".
• After 15 minutes, call students back to the circle to share what they have done so far.
• Give them time to finish the organizer and then write their story in pairs on chart paper.
• Walk around, observe, discuss and ask questions.

• Have students share a part of their stories with the group.
• They can also share their descriptions with another group.  Groups can also ask each other questions to fill in any missing details from the story.

• Discuss success criteria for this writing assignments.
• Give at least 1 more writing session to complete partner stories and have them share it with another group.

• Observations and anecdotal notes.
• Use of success criteria.

Feedback/Debriefing Session (Co-Teachers)
 • Next steps - Develop Success Criteria around expanding ideas, e.g. Success Criteria for "Showing Sentences", "Vocabulary", "Paragraphs"
• During consolidation circle, each pair shared one part of their fabulous day.  There were lots of great ideas.
• While pair writing, some groups just copied the plan, not adding extra details, e.g. "When I woke up, I watched my favourite tv show.  Then I played on the computer." Teacher needs to ask questions to expand ideas (e.g. What is your favourite tv show?  What happened during it? What were you doing while you were watching?)  Students needed some modeling re. how to turn sections of brainstorming into paragraphs.
• Margaret recommended the book "Knowing What Counts: Setting and Using Success Criteria" by Kathleen Gregory and Caren Cameron ISBN 978-0-9783193-9-7.
• Success Criteria process: 1. Group brainstorming. 2. Share. 3. Group sort and categorize. 4. Share. 5. Full group agreement.
• Margaret also recommended "The Reading Teacher" magazine and the NCTM journal.

 Lisa's Extensions
After completing the co-teaching lesson in Fern's room and participating in the debriefing feedback session, I taught the lesson in my room.  Most elements stayed the same.  However, I decided to work with building Success Criteria.  After the student pairs all completed their graphic organizers, I collected them and chose 4 to display as examples on large mural paper.  The students then told their stories using their graphic organizer and then as a class we made a list of what they did well and suggestions for improvement.  One organizer stood out as being extremely complete and leading to a great oral storytelling where lots of additional details and interesting vocabulary emerged.  From these notes, we decided on four elements that make a great Graphic Organizer for a story.  Students were then given the opportunity to go back to their own organizers to add more detail or make changes.  One pair even decided to start over because they were unsatisfied with their organizer the way they have completed it.

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