My 1st student teaching placement went extremely well. I taught lessons, learned about my students, and also learned about myself. I developed a two week unit on personal narratives using Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry. My students wrote, edited, and published their own personal narratives, and they turned out beautiful.
Gooney Bird Greene Unit Plan
The topic of the unit of instruction is writing personal narratives, called Small Moments. When children think of stories, they normally do not think of moments that have happened to them. I wanted to show my students that their own small moments in their lives are wonderful stories to tell. I incorporated Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry throughout this unit to show my students how Gooney stretches her everyday small moments of life into well written stories. I also used Lucy Calkins' Small Moments Personal Narratives unit plan to guide my unit. By the end of this unit, my students knew that their lives, even the small moments, are special and worth being written about.
For my first lesson of my Small Moments Unit, I introduced the book Gooney Bird Greene to the students. The students took a walk through the book, and then I read aloud the first chapter of the book to the students. After the reading aloud of the first chapter, the students and I discussed the components of the beginning, middle, and end of stories.
During my second lesson of my Small Moments Unit, my students listened to me read aloud chapter 2 of Gooney Bird Greene as they identified the beginning, middle, and end (using a chart) of one of Gooney Bird's stories that she told in chapter 2. My students and I then discussed the key words and phrases that the author used in Gooney's story to let the reader know that it is the beginning, middle, and end of the story.
My third lesson of my unit consisted of reading aloud chapter 3 of Gooney Bird Greene and allowing the students to begin writing their drafts of their Small Moments narratives. Before they began writing their drafts, my students and I discussed the words and phrases that authors use to tell their readers that it is the beginning, middle, and end of their stories.
During my fourth lesson of my unit, my second graders continued working on their Small Moment pieces after I read aloud chapter 4 of Gooney Bird Greene. As the students worked on their pieces, I conferenced with several of them, asking what their Small Moments were about and asking for more details.
My fifth lesson of my unit began with reminding my students how writers write about small moments in their own lives; they zooooooommm in (pretend like you're holding a video camera) on the moment and sttttrrreeettccchhh it out (pull your hands apart) with details. We read chapter 5 of Gooney Bird Greene, and then I showed my students a small moment that I had written. I read my small moment to my students, and then asked them if they had any questions about it. I wrote the answers to their questions on the margins of my small moment. I then told the students that good writers have lots of people read their stories before they publish them. These people help writers add more details to their stories. I then told the students that I was going to give them partners to work with so that they could ask their partners questions about their Small Moments and vice-versa so that they can add more details to their Small Moments. I assigned the students to their partners and asked them to discuss their Small Moments with their partners. I walked around the class, asking each group what they had asked each other about their Small Moments and how they added details to their Small Moments. To end this lesson, I had one set of partners share with the class how they discussed each others' Small Moments.
The sixth lesson of my Gooney Bird Greene Unit began with the reading aloud of chapter 6 of Gooney Bird Greene, looking for details that Gooney uses in her small moments. My students and I then discussed what details Gooney used in her small moments in chapter 6. We then discussed what details Gooney used throughout the book in all of her small moments. I then turned the students' attention to my small moment and asked them what details I could add to my small moment. I added the students' responses to the margin of my small moment. The students then discussed, with their partners, their own Small Moments and how they could add more details to their Small Moments. We ended this lesson by allowing sets of partners to share how they discussed their Small Moments and how they added more details to their Small Moments.
We read the final chapter, 7, of Gooney Bird Greene to begin the seventh lesson of my unit. I then directed the students' attention to my small moment and asked them what the most important part of my small moment was (getting a dog for Christmas). The students and I then discussed how I could add more details to the most important part of my small moment. The students then, with their partners, discussed what the most important part was in their Small Moments and then added more details to that part. To end this lesson, some of the students shared what the most important parts of their Small Moments were and how they added more details to them.
To begin the eighth lesson of my unit, I told the students that they were going to read their Small Moments to the Kindergarten class. They were thrilled and nervous at the same time. I then told the students that they need to publish (type) their Small Moments in order to share them with the Kindergarten class. Before we typed their Small Moments, however, we had to write their drafts of their Small Moments. I then directed the students' attention to my small moment. I told them that, when I write the final draft of my small moment, I would add all of the details and revisions that I had in the margins of my first draft to my final draft. I then told the students that this is what they need to do today. As the students worked on their final drafts of their Small Moments, I conferenced with them to revise their spelling and grammar in their Small Moments. I ended this lesson by telling the students that publishing and sharing their writing makes them more like real authors.
For the ninth lesson of my Gooney Bird Greene Unit, the students typed out their Small Moments in the computer lab. My cooperating teacher and I had to step in at times to try and speed up the students' typing. After the students had finished typing their Small Moments, my cooperating teacher and I saved them so I could print them out. I saved the students' Small Moments so that they would have them for the next lesson when they read them to the Kindergarten class.
This lesson, out of all my lessons in this unit, was the most rewarding one for the students. My students and I went to a Kindergarten classroom, and all of the students, Kindergarten and my students, sat on the reading rug. My students then, one by one, sat in the "Author's Chair" and read aloud their Small Moments to the kindergarteners. The look on my students' faces were priceless. They were so proud of themselves, and they had a good reason to be. Their Small Moments turned out wonderful, and I am very honored to be a part of such a wonderful experience in which I was able to help my students write about their own Small Moments in their lives.
Working with 2nd Graders
Children are at a beautiful age in 2nd grade. They are excited about learning and coming to school. I was extremely blessed to be able to work with such wonderful students.