This lesson will satisfy the CCSS for class discussion about the story details and the writing of an opinion paper. Each student will be able to identify their favorite part or character in the story to write about. Elmer stories are great for class discussions on the wonderfulness of being different. I begin my lesson with a conversation of being all the same and being different. I don't have a video to show or any realia to help hook them into my lesson. So I will have a conversation that will include things they already know about Elmer and Wilbur. Then I will introduce Rose. This will help them get ready for a new Elmer adventure.
I gather my class on the carpet of whole group reading block.
"Yesterday I was sorting through my Elmer books and found one that I had not read yet. It is called Elmer and Rose After I quickly read it I thought about how Elmer is different that the other elephants. Do you remember how he is different? He is patchwork. That is right. Did we decide that was a good thing or a bad thing? Yes, it is a good thing. I love Elmer just the way he is. What about his cousin Wilbur. Is he different or the same as the other elephants? Yep, he is different. What do we call his design? Checkered. I love Wilbur too. I love how Elmer and Wilbur play tricks on each other. It this story there is a new elephant. Her name is Rose. It is kind of funny, in this story she is different and she is the same. Hmmmmm, how can that happen? Let's read the story and find out."
I begin reading the story. They love Elmer and like to hear about the fun adventures he takes. I stop at the part where they see Rose for the first time.
"Wow, what color is Rose? Pink! Yes, she is. What do you think Elmer and Wilbur think of her? Do they think she is different? She doesn't look like them. She doesn't look like the other elephants. She is different. Remember that I told you we would find out that Rose is different and the same. Listen carefully and you will hear how."
I read to the end where they find her herd.
"That is a surprise! Did you think her whole herd looked like her? They are all PINK! OH, my goodness. Can you now tell me how Rose is the same as Elmer and Wilbur?
I am not sure if they will get this line of questioning. I thought it would be a different way to look at the story. The stories of Elmer discuss the differences between the elephants being good. It doesn't talk about the similarities. I have not introduced comparing & contrasting yet. I just thought it would be fun to discuss.
"Rose is different compared to the grey elephants and different compared to Elmer and Wilbur. But, she is the same as her herd. How interesting that is. I like how Elmer tries to think of finding a herd that are all the same as him. That would be sooooo crazy!"
We have written many opinion papers in the past, but it has been a while. I like to revisit the writing genres from the past to add variety to our writing experiences and so we don't forget that skill. My students love to write about what they like or do not like. Today they have to give their opinion in one sentence and support their opinion in the second sentence. The sentences are still very simple but it gets them into the frame of mind of having to support their opinion. In the upper grades an opinion has to be heavily supported by details found within the text. In laying that foundational skill we are writing simple sentences about Elmer and Rose.
"Today I would like you to write an opinion paper. An opinion paper is where you write about what you like and why. So I want to brainstorm what you liked in the story. I will write it on the board."
I use my name sticks to choose students to tell me their favorite part of the story or their favorite character. I make sure all my students have the opportunity to tell the class what they liked about the story. I will write their answers on a bubble map. Bubble maps help my students visualize and organize their thoughts and ideas about the story details. I leave it on the board as a reference tool for sentence writing.
"Let's look at the bubble map. There are many fun parts of the story and characters for you to choose from to write about. Think carefully. When you go back to your table to write you need two sentences. One sentence will use the sentence frame; I like _________. Your second sentence will be; It is __________. We always have to tell why we like something. Thumbs up if you understand what you are going to write about. OK, good."
I have class jobs and at this time I call my paper passers to pass out the writing paper to all seats. I then dismiss my student from the carpet to go to their tables. I dismiss then a little at a time to control the running and pushing that sometimes occurs if they all go at once.
"I will come around to help you with your writing."
As they finish I collect their papers and let them sit on the carpet to read library books.
When my students are finished with their writing we clean up the books and sit on our squares again. I like to call my students up a row at a time for the reading of their papers. There is security in standing up with friends. Also the friends will help if we forget our words. Each student get an opportunity to orally present their sentences and then show off their pictures. Here is a sample of a high Student's Work. Ivanna is able to write phonetically and follow directions. Her words still float in the air, but the writing is legible. This activity makes a great formative assessment. I have witnessed the writing/drawing, the oral presentation and have the writing paper as proof of their skills. I get so excited when my students can phonetically write a word and then turn around and phonetically sound the word out to read it. I think it is pure magic!