Maricela Rodriguez AMANECER PRIMARY CENTER, LOS ANGELES, CA
2nd Grade ELA : Unit #10 - The Empty Pot : Lesson #5

Ping, The Next Emperor!

Objective: SWBAT to use key details to analyze the main character, Ping, and apply their understanding of the character.
Standards: RL.2.1 RL.2.3 RL.2.7 RL.2.10 SL.2.1 SL.2.1b SL.2.1c
Subject(s): English / Language Arts
60 minutes
1 Introduction - 5 minutes

Summary and Context

Today, we are finishing the second read of the Empty Pot, with text dependent questions that continue to ask the students about the craft of the author. Once we are done with this discussion, I will bring the students to the rug for Socratic Seminar. We will be discussing Ping and why he will make a great emperor.

Once we are done, we will create a bubble map of the qualities that make Ping a great emperor. Students will choose one trait and provide evidence in their writing supporting that particular trait. This helps students analyze the text deeply and use evidence to back up their analysis. One of the shifts with the CCSS is asking students to provide evidence from the text. I am giving practice with this skill in this lesson.

Then, students will share their learning with their peers and get feedback from them.

Lesson Opening:

I start with students on the rug, and share the student friendly objective: "I analyze and evaluate a character based on key details from the text."

Then, I ask the students to think about what we have read and share with each other an important event from the story. After they pair share, I have a few share out loud.

2 Finishing the Second Reading - 15 minutes

I finish reading the last four pages of The Empty Pot using text dependent questions that ask to analyze Ping's behavior and how important it is that he appears in front of the Emperor with "the empty truth," even though his peers laugh at him. I continue to ask questions that invite the students to think about how the author uses the illustrations to give us details about how situation is changing for the main character. 

It matters That You Tried Your Best

We continue to look at vocabulary words. If there are not enough context clues to figure out the meaning of a word, then we will need to rely on a dictionary definition. I will provide more details to make sure my students clearly understand the vocabulary word.

3 Socratic Seminar - 10 minutes

This Socratic Seminar is all about whether Ping is worthy of being emperor or not. One question I ask is, "What is Ping like at the beginning of the story, in the middle, and at the end?" I want them to pay attention to the idea that Ping maintains a steadfast behavior. He is a reliable character. I want them to understand the concept of worthiness. This will be a key part of the opinion writing task in the next section.

The next question I ask is, "Why Does The Emperor Choose Ping?" I write the question on the easel to help them keep the question in mind.

Before diving into the discussion, I review the rules of participation and how they will need take turns sharing and listening to one another. They can reference the Handing-Off Chart in case they need to be reminded of how to enter the discussion.

I have included a document that gives more details about how I implement Socratic Seminar in my classroom in case you'd like to read further.

4 Independent Writing - 20 minutes

To help students integrate what they are learning, students will now write about Ping. Students will choose one of Ping's traits that would make him a good emperor and then find evidence in the story to support it. Students have had experience with opinion writing in previous writing lessons, so we don't spend too much time on the nuts and bolts of opinion writing.

Rather, to get them started, we spend time brainstorming on the whiteboard Ping's qualities. This visual helps them to focus on the task and get ready to apply their understanding.

As they write, I walk around and monitor their progress and offer help as needed. Some will need help with direction as to where they can find the evidence. Others will need support with starting and staying on task.

Here are examples of their writings:

Reflection on Writing
Writing Across the Disciplines

How did my students do with providing evidence to support one of Ping's trait that would make him a great emperor? Let's look at their writing.

In this writing piece, PingAsTrustworthy, the writer shows how Ping is trustworthy because he didn't change the cooked seed that was given by the Emperor. Also, how Ping is trustworthy because he does not lie to the Emperor. She gives good details to prove the character trait of trustworthy.

Next, in the writing piece, PingLovesNature, the writer writes about how Ping loves nature. This is important since nature is also important to the Emperor, but this writer doesn't make this connection. In fact he repeats himself.

The next writer in this piece, YesPingisHonest, writes about Ping's honesty. This writer gives different examples of how Ping has demonstrated his honesty throughout the story. The writer refers to Ping's courageous actions that help him be a good candidate to be emperor. 

Overall, I feel my students did a good job with supporting the trait they chose with specific evidence from the story. It was interesting to see the same trait be referred to in different terms. For example, one student called it honest, another called it trustworthy. I believe this shows their thinking to be original. Regardless of what they called the trait, the important thing is that they did a good job finding the evident to support their claim.

5 Whole Group Sharing - 7 minutes

Now students sit on the carpet and a few of them share their work. After each person shares, he or she gets feedback from peers. The way in which my class gives feedback is by giving two stars and a wish:

  • Two stars: Two different students give a specific example of what they liked in the writing.
  • A Wish: One student gives a specific way in which the writer can improve their writing or their performance.

This time also allows me to bring closure to the lesson.

Here are the speakers for the lesson: