RL.2.1: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
I will read a story aloud to you today and we will talk about who is in the story, what is going on, when it is happening, why the events happen the way they do, and pick out important details in the story.
RL.2.3: Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
We will talk about how the characters in the story react to the things that are happening.
For students struggling with rhyme, I will provide small group instruction in which we will listen to the story read aloud and identify the rhyming words like floor, before, home, alone, etc.
For students who are having an easy time with the assignments, I would like them to partner with someone who is having a difficult time to work with them and help them, not tell them the right way.
Purpose or intent: I intend for students to listen to the story as I read aloud and demonstrate their comprehension of key ideas and details from the story.
Anticipatory set or materials: I will provide a book introduction of Giraffes Can’t Dance. I will refer students to the illustrations on the book cover and title page. I will state, “Boys and girls, today I am going to read you a story about a dance in the jungle. All the animals are dancing so well but no one believes giraffes can dance because of their shape.”
Questions to check for understanding: I will insert vocabulary enhancements for the following words:
Modeling activity: As I read, I will ask a few follow-up analytical questions after I make the following comments:
I am thinking Gerald sounds sad when he says, “I’m useless, Oh I feel like such a clot.” Boys and girls, why does Gerald feel like he is useless?
I am thinking that the other animals are making Gerald feel bad about himself. Boys and girls, what do you think the animals are saying that hurts Gerald’s feelings?
Guided and independent practice: I will have students pair share questions they are thinking about following the way I modeled the “I am thinking” questions. I will expect students to use “I am thinking” when they share their thoughts and we will discuss their thoughts.
Procedure for Day 2 Second Read-aloud
Purpose or intent: I intend for students to listen to the story a second time as I read aloud and demonstrate their comprehension of key ideas and details from the story.
Anticipatory set or materials: I will remind the children that they know the characters and some things the characters do in Giraffes Can’t Dance. I will ask students,
Who are the characters in this story?
Who is the main character?
What is the problem in this story?
Questions to check for understanding: I will insert vocabulary enhancements for the following words again, maybe asking students to supply the meanings instead of me always supplying the meanings:
Shoots – a young branch or part of a tree
Buckled – bend under pressure
Prance – to move around with big steps
Waltzing – a dance people do in a pair while spinning around on the dance floor
Tango – a dance with abrupt pauses that people do in pairs
Elegant – graceful or stylish
Cha-cha – a dance with small steps and swaying hip movements
Scottish reel – a dance with hard shoes to Scottish music
Sneered – a smile that is used to make fun of someone
Clot – a clumsy person
Somersault – to roll forward on the ground
Violin – an smaller instrument played with a bow
Entranced – holding someone’s attention
Boogied – another word for dancing
Modeling activity: As I read, I will ask a few more follow-up analytical questions:
What outward appearances of Gerald made him think he could not dance?
What were the different types of dances that were performed at the Jungle Dance?
Students will also work together to demonstrate some of the dances mentioned above in order to assist with comprehension by adding a visual element. Students enjoy getting up and participating. If there is some type of dance no one is familiar with, then we can watch a video on YouTube of that dance.
Guided and independent practice: I will have students pair share their answers to the following questions:
What would have happened if Gerald never tried to dance to his own music?
Why did he choose to listen to the cricket?
Why did Gerald believe what the other animals were saying?
Procedure for Day 3 Third Read-aloud: Guided Reconstruction
Purpose or intent: I intend for students to listen to the story a third time as I read aloud and demonstrate their comprehension of key ideas and details from the story. I also expect them to retell the story to demonstrate their comprehension.
Anticipatory set or materials: I will ask students to identify the problem and describe the solution in the book we read yesterday. I will also ask them what the title of the book was: Giraffes Can’t Dance.
Questions to check for understanding: As I read each page, I will show the illustration and ask, “What is happening here?”
Modeling activity: I will follow up children’s comments by extending comments or asking for clarification as needed. When clarification is needed, I will reread the text on the page. As needed, I will call attention to some vocabulary in different contexts.
Guided and independent practice: I will have students pair share before I turn each page about what they think is going to happen next. I will also ask them to pair share their responses to the following questions:
When I turn to the very last page, I will ask students why they think the illustrator drew all the animals looking up at the moon.
What does it mean to dance to our own music?
Extension and application activities: Students will work in partnerships to complete a story map of the story listing the characters, events, setting, etc. to demonstrate their understanding of the story. With their partners they will also demonstrate the rest of the different types of dances, students will watch videos ones they don’t understand. Students can also demonstrate the ones they didn’t know from the previous day.
Closure activity: Students will free write for five minutes to the prompt: What does it mean to dance to our own music? They will then share their writing with the class.
ASSESSMENT OF OBJECTIVES / EVALUATION:
The teacher will analyze the story maps and free writings to determine students’ level of detail included in the two work samples. He/She will notice if the characters, events, and setting were named accurately. Small group instruction will follow for students who seem to not demonstrate strong comprehension of the text.
Andreae, G., & Parker-Rees, G. (1999). Giraffes can’t dance. New York, NY: Scholastic.
Age Range: 3-8
I was luckily able to teach this lesson to a friend of mine’s child who just finished the first grade. I was able to teach her in the comfort of her own home. I prepared for the instruction of the event by laying out the materials I needed and preparing my list of questions. I also wanted to read over the lesson plan twice for each day session. During the sharing the student was very responsive to my questions and was able to comprehend the story very well. For the activities she participated in, I felt at times she needed assistance, but that she was very independent for her age and with the difficulty of this lesson, as I had predicted.
Through this activity, I was able to practice teaching my own lessons. I was able to see what worked very well and what I needed to change for the future teaching of this lesson. Many times we write lessons for our courses, but do not have the opportunity to find out for ourselves if our lessons are helpful or not. This assignment gave me the opportunity to find out if I am successful in writing lessons aimed toward building comprehension. I would like to try to teach this lesson again to a larger group of students to see if I get the same results before I really change anything. I feel that one on one can be more helpful to a student and make the lesson easier, so I am interested in seeing if my original lesson would be more beneficial then. I had to do a lot of partner work with her in my activities to help the student complete the tasks I mentioned in my lesson, so I wish I did teach this to a larger group first. If the lesson turned out the same way for the whole group instruction then I would change the story maps activity a bit and make it small group work but on a pre made sheet so they just need to make the illustrations and add in words about each part.
I was surprised by the ability of this young student and how much she was able to do on her own as well as her comprehension skills. I am use to working with preschoolers, so I am not use to her level of learning. This was a very interesting learning experience for me.
I would say the theme is: with determination we are able to persevere, even after some struggles. I chose this theme because Gerald cannot conform to others styles of dancing because his body is not like theirs. Gerald learns that he needs to dance to his own music in order to “fit in” and his friends are amazed by his new skills. The topics related to this book are: bullying, friend relationships, being yourself, and overcoming anxiety.