Tuesday, August 9, 2011

First Week Lesson: Classmate Connections

I promised a follow up post on how I use the book, "Spaghetti in a Hotdog Bun". Here is the lesson, I call it Candy and Connections! I have this planned to do on the first day of school.

This book is about a girl who brings spaghetti on a hotdog bun to eat for lunch. She gets teased for it and then a bully continues to tease her about her hair and other things. In the end she has the opportunity to help the bully out of a difficult situation and does. The bully then becomes her friend. Third graders can relate to the problem of getting picked on for being different.

After reading the book, I tell them I'm going to teach them a "juicy" word that describes the character's classmates and the students in our class too. I then present the word: Diverse and then present the noun: Diversity.

I use Marzano's procedure for introducing new vocabulary and then this word is posted on our board. ( I'll post more on this procedure in upcoming days) The word "Diversity" is part of the social studies vocabulary we teach in third grade and it seems appropriate to introduce it with something the students can understand.

I tell students they will participate in an activity to compare/contrast themselves with another friend in the class. The students then go back to their seats and work on labeling and illustrating the "Classmate Connection" page below. After they are finished, or perhaps later in the day, I will pair them with another student. This is where the candy comes in. I will have a bag on different kinds of candy and students will pick on from the bag without looking. I have prepared the bag so it has two of each kind of candy. For instance, two tootsie rolls, two starbursts, etc. They will find the student who has the matching candy. They will find a quiet spot on the floor to work and will bring their Classmate Connection sheets with them. They cut out all their pictures then will share their responses and check if it is something they have in common or something that makes them different. They will then glue it in the appropriate place on the venn diagram. By third grade, most students have done venn diagrams before, but I always model the procedure for them before they meet and greet their partner. After everyone has a completed Venn Diagram, we lay them out on our desks and take a walking tour of our work. This way everyone can see the responses of the entire class.

Here are pictures that may help illustate the process.
Here is an example of a finished product:
Here is the book I use for this lesson. I would think there may be other books out there that might work too. I also use this book to model the good reader strategy of: "Check for Understanding" and post that to the CAFE board.