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Reading to Haiti

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Keywords: English, Language Arts, Reading Aloud, Haiti, Service Learning
Subject(s): Video, Technology, Special Needs, Reading, English/Language Arts, Service Learning, Drama, Speech and Language
Grades 3 through 6
School: John F Kennedy Middle School, Prt Jeff Sta, NY
Planned By: Melissa McMullan
Original Author: Melissa McMullan, Prt Jeff Sta
Melissa McMullan
JFK Middle School
200 Jayne Boulevard
Port Jefferson Station, NY

Lesson Plan: Reading with Inflection Using Technology Grade Levels: 3-6
Subject/Topic Areas: English Language Arts (ELA)
Key Words: Inflection, Expression, Voice
Time Frame: 2 Weeks


Performance Tasks, Projects:
• Reading selected book about Haiti.
• Reading selected book aloud with voice, inflection and expression, creating a performance on film that will engage kindergarteners in Haiti.
• Editing the film – adding titles, subtitles, credits, etc...

Informal observations/discussions/interviews:
• Watching students read aloud and offering feedback as they practice.
• Have students watch each other and coach them in providing supportive feedback.
• Work together as film editors. Find out who is strong in this area and provide him/her the opportunity to work with others who need assistance.

Student Self-Assessment:
• Students will watch finished video products and determine whether they provide an engaging experience for others to watch and read along with.
• Students will ask themselves whether their reading is engaging to the listener or not. If not, where is the opportunity? What can be done about it?

Content Standards and Benchmarks:

Reading Competencies
- Participate cooperatively and collaboratively in group discussions
- Read voluntarily for a variety of purposes

Standard 2: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for literary response and expression.
- Read aloud from a variety of genres (e.g., plays and poems)
- Use inflection and intonation appropriate to text read and audience

Standard 4: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for social interaction.
- Share reading experiences to build a relationship with peers or adults; for example, read together silently or aloud with a partner or in small groups

Listening Competencies
- Listen attentively, for an extended period of time, to a variety of texts read aloud
- Listen attentively, for an extended period of time, to oral presentations
- Listen attentively for different purposes, both student determined and teacher determined
- Respond appropriately to what is heard

Speaking Competencies
- Speak with expression, volume, pace, and gestures appropriate for the topic, audience, and purpose of communication
- Respond respectfully to others, and offer feedback to others in a respectful and responsive manner
- Participate in group discussions on a range of topics and for a variety of purposes

Lesson Summary:

Students will learn that they are needed to read Haitian picture books in English to students in kindergarten in Haiti. It will be explained, that it will be very important to read with voice, inflection and expression to hold the attention of young children.
The students will be selecting picture books about Haiti. They will spend time reading silently and ultimately select a book they would like to be filmed reading aloud for children in Haiti. Children will practice reading aloud individually/with partners depending upon students’ needs. The final assessment will be reading for the camera. They will be required to read with the book facing out so the child watching the video in Haiti can follow along with his/her own book.

Lesson Outcomes: What key knowledge and skills will students acquire as a result of this lesson?

Students will

1. Be able to select a variety books within a genre to read silently and independently.
2. Know what reading with voice, inflection, and expression sounds like.
3. Know why reading with voice, inflection, and expression is important in mastering reading comprehension.
4. Be able to read a self-selected text with voice, inflection and expression.
5. Understand that the ability to read is a skill that is extremely valuable in teaching others.
6. Technology (specifically Flip®, editing software, and computers that run on “kid power”, One World Per Child laptops) are vehicles to be used for learning and sharing knowledge and skills in all subject/content areas.

Essential Questions: What essential questions will guide this lesson?

1. What makes reading a joyful activity?

2. How can technology connect learners?

3. What does it mean to teach others?

Essential Skill or Concept: Reading with voice, inflection and expression.

Instructional Strategy to be used to Develop Essential Skill or Concept:

1. Whole class instruction.
2. Small group instruction.
3. Individual instruction.
4. Collaborative learning.
Using the strategy, how will we accomplish the following?

How will I introduce and explain this strategy so that students will understand the how and why?
(inductive method, mini-lecture, demonstration, notes, etc.)

There are two very good ways to approach this:

a. Create a really bad video in which the teacher reads with no voice, inflection or expression. Announce to the class that they will be creating movies in which they will read a self-selected book aloud to get a younger child excited about reading, and give the younger child an opportunity to read along with the older child in the video. Show the class the bad teacher movie. Stifling a good chuckle, the teacher would elicit feedback... “What’s so funny?, as the class became more serious, a discussion would ensue in which the students would explain how you have to read to make it engaging to the listener. (Inductive)
b. Give the students the task – “You are being asked to create a short movie in which you read a book aloud to a younger audience. Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to read with enthusiasm! Make the young child want to read with you on your movie again and again.” The same kind of conversation would ensue... “How do we need to read to make people want to listen?” “How do we read so a younger child would learn how to read with us?”(Mini-Lesson)

How will I model this strategy for my students? (exemplars and/or demonstrations)

• Read short pieces aloud to students and have them critique my reading.
• Identify students who read with inflection well, and ask them to model for the class and follow up with a discussion in which the class identifies what these models did as readers to make the reading engaging.
• By permitting students to work at their own paces, students who finish early can share their work with students who are still working.

How will I provide opportunities for guided practice?

• Students will practice with teachers, partners and groups. Each time will be followed up with a feedback session to help students continue to develop as strong oral readers.

How will I monitor/gauge students’ understanding of the strategy and the skill it develops? (formative assessment) How will I determine student readiness?

After the introductory sequence of the lesson, the students would create formative assessment together with the teacher. The students would make a list of what good reading sounds like and create a class holistic rubric. This rubric would then be used one on one, in groups and on the finished product (with other criteria added for movie production). This formative assessment would ensure that students are developing appropriately, and receiving additional instruction as needed.

Using real texts, how will students independently practice using the strategy and the skill it targets?

Students will read aloud many, many times independently so that the fluency of their chosen texts is mastered. This will enable them to move on and practice the skills within this lesson. They will be encouraged to read to people at home – younger/older siblings, friends, relatives, and elicit feedback using the class rubric.

How will I adapt or differentiate this lesson for grade and skill level?

a. The texts themselves will be from a wide range of reading levels to accommodate all levels of readers.
b. Students who exhibit difficulty reading aloud will work one on one with a teacher to make sure the books are appropriate. If so, they may need one on one modeling of their chosen texts.
c. It helps to invite parents/grandparents to class on days the class practices reading aloud so students who need one on one practice have adult partners who can support them in the classroom.
d. Heterogeneous pairing also helps when students come from varied levels.
e. Students with special needs could be paired with another student and the students could take turns reading – to create a shared performance. If the student prefers to work alone, shorter pieces could be selected (ie poetry) to give the student the opportunity to succeed.

How will I engage students in a reflection of how this strategy has developed this particular skill and how it has helped each of them become a more effective reader?

Reflection is on-going. throughout the process, students will discuss how their reading is progressing, and how the improvement makes the reading more enjoyable to both the reader and the listener.

The students in my class are opening a school in Haiti October of this year. The heart of the relationship that they have is learning through shared experiences. Technology is what will make this possible. I can continue to travel back and forth to Haiti. While my students cannot physically be there, technology brings them there, and I can bring their Haitian counterparts to them the same way.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This lesson has infinite possibilities. It ties into Social Studies, because the picture books are about a different culture. It ties into drama because the books have to be read in a way that they entertain the audience. Finally, the technological piece is integral because there is so much possibility in filming, editing and devising ways to share.
Have students write their own books and share them.
Links: Link to Wings Over Haiti
Link to Our Class Page
Materials: Flip Video, Networked Projectors, Projector Screens, Flash/USB Drives
Other Items: 4 Flip UltraHD, $150 each, total of $600.00