This text is a great one for second graders because it falls squarely in their lexile and, more importantly, is a favorite of many children. The kids can relate to the fun with the dinosaur and enjoy the fantastical images.
** "Imaging" is the term that my district uses for "visualizing". In order to stay true to the district expectations, I'll continue to use this verbage. Visualizing is a critical skill for 2nd graders because they need to 'go deeper' in the text. By visualizing as they read, they are creating and tweaking images in their minds as they actively read. This kind of 'close reading', forming images using text, verifying and changing those images, and ultimately comparing their images to the author, creates critical readers and deepens comprehension.
Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics. The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary. My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words)
Common starting point
Imaging helps us answer questions.
The reason I use post-it notes for this activity is to ensure that the kids ask a variety of questions. Typically, second graders are good at asking ‘who’ or ‘what’ or ‘where’ questions, but I want to challenge them to use all of the question words. I point that out as we work - "We need more 'how' questions!". I purposefully give each student 4 post-its to ensure that they have an equal chance to participate."Oh, you're out of post-its - who else still has some left to write a question?"
I was so pleased to see that my kids are critically assessing what kind of text we are reading as we begin. We worked hard to practice 'close reading' - thinking independently about what you are reading and 'stepping back' for the big picture. The students made a comment that they were defining the book as literature by predicting that the dinosaur would talk. This shows me, in a kind of formative assessment, that the students are active readers, making judgements about what they read, as they are reading.
Explain the task
I took 3-4 volunteers to put up post-its for each question (I took my challenged readers/writers early so they had an opportunity to finish their post-it notes). The kids each drew their images on the worksheet, but could copy the volunteers’ questions.
My kids had some GREAT creative questions as well as comments about the images. We have been using imaging for several weeks and they are getting really GOOD at this strategy. They draw images quickly, are creative, and need just a few reminders to use the text for ideas. If you students struggle, model more or 'think out loud' - "I bet you know that because the picture showed the zookeeper telling him to go away."
As students formulate and answer questions and verify with illustrations, they are citing evidence to ask and answer text-dependent questions. (RL.2.1) Using imaging to actively read and then aligning those images with the illustrations in the book creates readers who utilize ‘close reading’. They are intimate with the story, thinking about the authors’ purpose and context clues and activating background knowledge to create personal images. As they check these images, they adjust their thinking in line with the author’s purpose. We talked about these different images and how images may differ, but are fine as long as they are supported by text.
As we read through the book, I noticed that the kids had some trouble understanding the irony of the dinosaur playing hide and seek. In our original discussion. the students had difficult explaining the irony of why the dinosaur could not play. We discussed this more, and they seemed to understand better why this was 'unfair'. Here's how they explained the irony after our discussion. I need to remember that 2nd graders still need the opportunity to step back and discuss ideas in a story and I need to check comprehension as we read.
Discussion-turn and talk
This turn and talk technique, whether it is used to discuss worksheets, images or ideas, is critical for kids. They need the opportunity to reflect on their own work and see peer examples. Students gain ideas from others, whether they be helpful or gently critical, that gives valuable feedback.
Optional Activity (I ran out of time, but this would be great to do with the 2nd page of the worksheet)
Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be easily scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.
Students with academic challenges should be able to draw images, but may need to work with a partner or get teacher prompts for the questioning. Writing questions is difficult, especially considering the grammar and conventions involved. You will have to decide your purpose for these students related to the writing – proper question form or simple question formation. The former will require more prompting and the latter gives the writer more latitude to focus on the questioning technique vs the grammar. I did put up some spelling words on the whiteboard to help with writing.
I would expect ‘out of the box’ thinking and higher level language questions from those students with greater ability. Challenge them to ask questions that go beyond the basic factual questions to inferential questions that may not be necessarily answered by the text or illustration, but that draw on higher thinking skills.