I chose this classic fable because the themes and characters repeat throughout literature. My kids need to know the classics and how those plot lines and ideas are part of literature's rich history.
Many of my kids knew this story, but before we start comparing versions of the fable, they need to review to start us all at the same learning point. This version is nice and clear, although the reading level is high so I read it aloud to the kids. My goal here is inferring - I want the kids to make conclusions (inferences), based on text and schema and support their inferences with text and illustrations.
This is the first in the series of inference lessons where I compare this fable. The other 2 lessons include Ouch There's a Pea Under My Saddle and Ouch What is That Pea Thinking? These lessons all address how to infer with scaffolding skills of using an inference starter and lead toward more independence with each lesson. We are looking at these three versions of this fable from different cultural standpoints. Our goal is to use inferencing and also compare and contrast these versions, looking at author's and cultural viewpoint. I want the students to see how different countries and authors in different time periods looked at this classic theme and presented the characters in different ways. (RL.2.9)
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
Take a few moments to review or discuss inferencing. My students had one lesson about this topic, but this is the beginning of a unit that will go in depth about the reading strategy. It's important that kids understand the developing inferences requires schema and evidence from the text. (RL.2.1) In this lesson, we'll go beyond the inference in the parts of the story to identify a theme as well. (RL.2.2)
Give the purpose of the lesson-use the powerpoint slides
Introduce strategy - teacher models
Practice strategy - guided practice
Inferencing is a great strategy, but students often confuse it with predicting. As we work through this lesson, I really want the kids to focus on inferencing so I contrast it with other strategies. Here's an example of our discussion.
Although predicting is helpful, the focus on inferencing allows the kids to see how the evidence in the text can be used. We build on the illustrations and text, adding schema and background information to 'read between the lines', making conclusions about what is happening at that moment in the story.
Discuss the theme
Describe the task
Students make the project
Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.
Students with language challenges may find this a difficult task because we are going beyond the text. Of all the reading strategies, I find this the hardest for my kids. They are asked to 'read between the lines' and then verbalize their inferences. They offer predictions or stay very literal (She will get married), but need support with a true inference. They worked with partners and I provided spelling help by writing the words on the board.
Those with more academic ability should be able to really demonstrate some good language with inference. They will hopefully make some good statements and provide clear evidence in their statements with some higher level vocabulary. I would 'raise the bar' with them and share your expectations. "I'll be walking around listening to ideas about your inferences. Make sure there is evidence in your inferences." One of my students offered, "She is a real princess because the illustration showed he hurt her back."