Lesson Pacing Calendar
Day 1 Pre-assessment Journal
Ask students to journal and discuss social and academic problems. How do you feel when you encounter a personal problem with friends, family, or people at school? What do you do when you have such a problem? What do they see others do when they encounter such problems? How do people deal with problems? If students require a concrete example, ask: How would you deal with a friend who is mad at you? After a few minutes of journaling about personal problems, ask students to then reflect on academic problems. What do you do when you get a math problem for homework, or in class, that looks really hard? What do you see other people do in such a situation? How do you feel when you come up against a problem that seems too hard for you at first? Following approximately seven minutes of journal time, discuss through a whip around, or brainstorm. Jot student answers onto a board or chart paper to track initial responses for the class. It would be interesting to compare this chart to a chart created in the post-assessment. Such journals should serve to record individual student preconceptions about problems and solutions in academic and non-academic situations.
Day 1 Little Red Cap Read Aloud
What do you know about the story of Little Red Riding Hood? Read to find out what Little Red Cap’s main problems are and how she solves them. Read the Grimm’s Fairy Tale aloud to students. At varying intervals, pause and ask essential questions to monitor comprehension and remind them of the question. Upon completing the story read aloud, ask students to reflect and share the answers. What were her main problems? How did she solve them? You should be guiding students toward pinpointing the resources of her grandmother’s help, her persistence in conquering the wolf and confronting him the second time, as opposed to giving up, taking responsibility and getting to her grandmother’s house even though she would have preferred to play in the woods, etc. All these instances are textual examples of persistence, responsibility, and resourcefulness, three of the five self-regulated learning concepts this unit seeks to introduce. Such examples will be labeled as such the following day when the matrix is introduced, but for now, they should be recorded/shared in “kid-speak” for later reference (chart paper or the board could be used). You could ask students what they would have done in Little Red Cap’s shoes. Were there any other ways she could have solved this problem or conquered the wolf? Why didn’t she give up after she got out alive? How did grandmother help her? Why did grandmother help her? What might have happened if grandmother had not assisted her the second time?
Day 1 Problem Box Introduction (Recurring Daily Activity)
Display and give a very brief description of the problem box as a place where students can insert anonymous problems we are having with people, school, work, family, teachers, etc.. There are no rules other than anonymity and appropriate language. It is not a blame box, rather another source for help. We can help each other solve our problems, just as Little Red Cap’s grandmother helped her solve the problem of the wolf. We’re not alone when we confront problems. There are many resources, i.e., peers and teachers, that we can utilize. The problem box can be a shoe box covered in butcher paper, decorated, etc. There should be a library pocket with index cards or scrap paper attached to the side for students to fill out with a problem. Students should know that problems will be reviewed a few times a week. Assure them that the class will check tomorrow for any problems people have left to solve.
Day 2 Pippi Longstocking Silent Read or Read Aloud
Today students will take a look at Pippi to the Rescue to pinpoint the two missing self-regulated learning strategies and other examples of the three listed in Little Red Cap. As a class or in buddy pairs, depending on student reading level, class discipline, or the number of book copies available, read to find out what the main problem is that Pippi must confront. How does Pippi solve the problem? What does she do? What strategies does she use? How would you have solved the problem differently? What other strategies could she have used? Does she use any strategies in common with Little Red Cap? If so, what are they? Record children’s examples on the same paper used for the previous day’s discussion so it can be reviewed or referred to in the future.
Day 3 Vocabulary Matrix Lesson and Practice (Dictionary Race)
Students will work together to find definitions for the five self-regulated learning strategies, convert dictionary definitions into personal definitions, identify real examples of such strategies, and pinpoint literary examples in Pippi and Little Red Cap. Example follows.
Day 4 Bingo Vocabulary Review
With a standard bingo board or on a piece of paper with a 3x3 table (drawn or printed), students will fill in the table with the five vocabulary words, randomly, choosing four to repeat at random to fill the rest of the boxes up to nine. The teacher will read definitions and sentence examples, mentioning literary moments that could be defined with one of the terms. Students will mark the box of the term they recognize and shout BINGO when they’ve marked 3 terms in a row diagonally, horizontally, or vertically. The teacher can modify the game by stating opposites or allowing the winner to come up and offer up their own definitions or examples of the terms.
Day 4 The Bad Beginning Read Aloud
Following the BINGO warm-up, the teacher can introduce a new read-aloud book that will carry throughout the unit. Passing the book around, students can make predictions about the story’s beginning, time and place, the tone, etc. The teacher should read the back of the book to pique student interest because the author speaks directly to the reader, advising them to put the book away if they don’t want to read a dreadful tale. Upon piquing reader interest, the teacher can read
Alternating Days 5-14 Vocabulary Warm-ups
Charades can be played with the terms cut up in a bowl and students taking turns acting out instances that will inspire others to guess the strategy being defined. Find Someone Who is a paper game where the teacher passes out a list of the words entitled Find Someone who… Each word is nestled in a sentence like, “Find someone who can tell you how they are responsible at home.” Beneath this statement is a space for a child to write and sign their name. Such activities follow for each of the vocabulary words. The sheet is distributed to the class and students are allowed to mill around for approximately five minutes to find someone who can help them complete the tasks around each word and sign their paper. Definitions are reviewed at the end. (Taboo, Opposites, and Pictionary are other warm-ups that can be alternated.)
Days 5-14 Spray Paint Mystery Reading Unit
Students can read each day to find examples of self-regulated learning strategies in The Spray Paint Mystery. Each day students should be equipped with five post-its that are labeled with the strategies. The goal for each day should be to comprehend the chapter and read to see what strategies Cameron and Tarann are using to solve their problem. Are you finding new strategies? What are they? Students and the teacher can record examples of various strategies in the class matrix after discussions. A book assessment could be used to pinpoint an example of each of the strategies at the end of the book. Daily assessment can entail reviewing student understanding through questions. (What was the main problem of this chapter? How was it solved? Who were the important characters who drove this chapter’s plot? What new things did you learn about Cameron and Tarann? Why do you think the author introduced ____________ a new character? How do you predict this book will end? Why? What do you think of the story so far? If you were in Cameron or Tarann’s situation, what would you do next? What mistakes have they made? How would you fix them?) The teacher should also review the examples students labeled with their post-its to assess understanding of the strategies. Reading can take place independently as well as in a small group or in buddy pairs. The matrix should slowly begin to hold situational examples for each strategy under the column headed SPRAY PAINT EXAMPLES
Days 15-20 Wanted Dead or Alive: The True Story of Harriet Tubman Reading Unit
Readers will now be transitioning to expository text, but the transition will be gradual as this book is a fictionalized account of Harriet Tubman’s story. There will still be a strong protagonist for the students to follow through challenges that she will confront on her way to freedom. The unit could be introduced by discussing what students know about slavery, Harriet Tubman, and the Underground Railroad. How was slavery a problem in the United States? What would you have done to gain your freedom? What sorts of things do you predict Harriet will do? How might she persist, use resources, set goals, be responsible or organize? Take 6-7 days to read this book with the students and allow them to do some reading on their own for homework. Discussions can focus around each era in Harriet’s life. What challenges was she facing? What strategies is she using? Do you have any suggestions for her? What strategies might she use now or what other approaches could she have taken to this problem? How do you suppose she is feeling as a slave, as an outlaw, as a daughter, sister, and freedom fighter? Questions can even be direct, i.e. what resources has she used? What or who has she organized to far? What does Harriet have to persist in the face of? Post-its could be used to identify examples. Student comments and examples should be noted on the matrix under the column headed HARRIET TUBMAN EXAMPLES. Other activities students could engage in may include writing a letter to Harriet, writing a letter from Harriet to her siblings or her parents whom she couldn’t talk to, choosing a section of the book to develop into a reader’s theatre piece, prediction logs, revisiting a KWL chart that was started with what we know about Harriet, slavery, and the Underground Railroad, recording what we have learned, etc.
Days 21-22 Reader’s Theatre for Wanted Dead or Alive
This activity would put students in the roles of main and supporting characters in the story and serves as a wonderful celebration at the completion of a book, or helps to clarify misunderstandings when a difficult chapter has been read and discussed. If the activity has never been performed, the teacher should present his/her own adaptation of one of the chapters in play form. The class can compare and contrast the structure and dialogue. Then, students or the teacher can select a chapter to adapt into a student dialogue. Students use the pre-existing narrative of the chapter as a rough sketch to write their own dialogue around the events. The writing takes a day and rehearsals take another day. After rehearsals, students can share their theatrical adaptations and discuss different interpretations or revisit all the chapters of the book through different group plays. Either way, it allows for good writing practice, reading fluency, and text-extensions, and provides a dramatic medium for performance assessment. Students should be encouraged to work in groups, and students who would prefer not to perform or would rather just read with expression should be allowed to do so for the group.
Days 23-35 We’ll Never Forget You Roberto Clemente Reading Unit
Roberto Clemente is the final hero studied in this unit. All texts can be considered, compared, and contrasted to this one during reading and discussion. Students should be encouraged to make connections from their own lives as several may come from circumstances similar to Clemente’s. In addition, any readings on Jackie Robinson or knowledge about the world of baseball both today and in the past can be connected to this text as it’s studied. Students can use their matrices to record examples of Clemente’s persistence, goal-setting, organization, responsibility, and resourcefulness. Post-its can be used to identify self-regulated learning strategies Roberto implements. Students may also learn a lot from recording main events on a timeline as the book’s structure is quite linear and key dates are incorporated into each chapter.
Day 36 Connection Dolls
At the close of reading We’ll Never Forget You Roberto Clemente, students can make a string of five paper dolls. The dolls should be large enough for the students to write a few sentences on both sides. Each doll’s head should be labeled with a strategy on either side. To culminate the literary portion of the unit, students can connect their own strategy use to each of the characters’ strategy uses, or students could connect different protagonists to one another. Connections are made by noting a quote or paraphrasing an example of that strategy’s use in the book, a character, or themselves on one side of the doll and then doing the same for another character or themselves on the opposite side. Students who would prefer to illustrate some of their examples should be encouraged to do so, so long as they can give an oral explanation of their drawings and explain the connection. Symbolic sketches could be substituted for detailed drawings as well. Dolls should be shared and displayed so students can connect their own understanding to that of others.
Day 37 Transfer Activity
At the end of this unit, after all or a good portion of the pieces have been read, the work of transferring begins, or continues given the level of engagement students have demonstrated thus far. This activity would ask the students to bear the self-regulated learning strategies in mind while figuring out how to play a new game. The work would start with discussion of how one could organize before learning, what kind of responsibility students must take in learning a new game, how they might have to persist, what types of goals can be set individually or as a group, and what resources will be available to them. After this has been discussed and made clear student to student and teacher to students, directions to a board game or a familiar playground game can be handed out (availability of games, directions, and environmental constraints would determine the selection here). In smaller groups, students should be encouraged to implement the strategies to figure out what the game is, how to play it, gather what’s needed, and begin playing. After games have begun and concluded, a discussion can take place about what strategies were implemented, how students utilized specific strategies, what new strategies they may have discovered, and students could even compare these challenges and their accomplishments to those of the literary heroes they’ve been reading about. Students should discuss how the strategies improved the results or which strategies were more difficult to implement, etc.
Day 38 Post-assessment Task and Journal
Ask students to journal and discuss social and academic problems again. How do you feel when you encounter a personal problem with friends, family, or people at school? What do you do when you have such a problem? What do you see others do when they encounter such problems? How do people deal with problems? If students require a concrete example, ask: Now, how would you deal with a friend who is mad at you?
After this journal, students will be presented with a difficult math word problem that is within their academic reach, but may require strategy implementation and appear challenging. A multiple step problem would be ideal for such a task. Students will be asked to solve the problem, keeping their heroic learning strategies in mind.
After the problem’s completion, ask students to then reflect on this and other academic problems in writing. What did you do when you saw this math problem? What did you see other people do in such a situation? How did you feel when you came up against it and it seemed too hard for you at first? Following approximately five to seven minutes of journal time, discuss through a whip around, or brainstorm. Jot student answers onto a board or chart paper to track new post-unit responses for the class. This chart can be compared to the chart created after the pre-assessment. Such journals should serve to record individual student preconceptions about problems and solutions in academic and non-academic situations. Actual internalization of the strategies will be present in varying degrees. A teacher can use this to tailor instruction, i.e. re-teach, or emphasize certain strategies students appear to use less or not at all. Future readings that highlight weaker strategies could be chosen for lessons. A student who lacks one strategy could be paired with another student who appears to demonstrate more understanding of that strategy. Such an assessment should also take the whole unit into consideration. Some students may demonstrate strategy use and be able to discuss it in greater depth than their writing expresses.