Step 1: Consider the standard’s intent.
Step 2: Create a summative assessment.
Step 3: Choose high quality materials.
Step 4: Develop a thorough instructional plan.
- Direct Instruction/Modeling – Delivering a clear, consistent set of strategies was important to me, so I created a PowerPoint presentation based on my rubric. After my students had read the first piece, “How the Camel Got His Hump,” I modeled the step-by-step method we would use to analyze and describe a character.
- Guided Practice – Once students know the steps, it’s time for guided practice. We read “The Beginning of the Armadillo” and constructed the response together.
- Independent Practice – My students were ready to analyze characters on their own. The most famous story in this collection, “The Elephant’s Child,” provided three wonderfully developed characters. They described the elephant, the crocodile, and the snake.
- Assessment – At this point my students had participated in analysis and description of five characters: one as an active listener during direct instruction, one as a contributor during guided practice, and three as independent workers. They were ready to show what they could do! I gave them the final piece, “How the Leopard Got His Spots,” as a summative assessment.
- Carefully consider the standard.
- Create a summative assessment.
- Select high quality materials. (For literature units, I suggest six stories – one for direct instruction, one for guided practice, three for independent practice, and one for assessment.)
- Write lesson plans that ask students to do tasks that directly prepare them for the summative assessment.
- Enjoy your students’ success!
Because you are now picking and choosing materials that match the standards, creating interdisciplinary units is easier than ever! This unit, for example, provides the perfect springboard for narrative writing (especially focused on character development and voice). It could also tie to animal research or to the study of biodiversity. The sky is the limit!
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