I Spy, In My Little Mind, Something That Is...

Susan Grimes
Reading to Learn

Rationale:  Comprehension is an essential component of reading.  Students must be able to understand what they are reading.  One strategy that developing readers can use to increase comprehension is visualization.  When students read, they must learn to visualize in the mind the events occurring in the story.  This lesson will help them develop the skill of visualization and give them practice through visualizing the events in a poem and a book.  They will also have the opportunity to draw a picture to represent what they have visualized.

Class set of Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen                          White paper
A book from the library for each student                       Pencils
Assessment checklist for each student - following         colored pencils
A copy of Bed Head by Kenn Nesbitt - attached          crayons

1.    Say, "Today we are going to learn a trick that will help us remember what we read.  Before we do that, I want us to review our silent reading technique.  Everyone take out your library book.  Now, I want everyone to read one sentence from your book out loud."  Allow time for students to read a sentence.  "Did you notice how hard it was to concentrate on what you were reading because everyone else was reading aloud at the same time?  Now I want everyone to read another sentence, but this time I want you to whisper it to yourself."  Allow time for students to read a sentence.  "Now I want everyone to read another sentence, but this time I want you to read it to yourself without moving your lips.  Read it to yourself inside your mind."  Allow time for students to read a sentence.  "Were you able to understand what you read easier that time?  It was probably because it was a lot quieter in the room and you could concentrate."
2.    "Now I want us to talk about that special trick that I mentioned that can help you remember what you read.  It is called visualization.  Visualization is when you picture in your mind what is happening in the book you are reading.  It is very important to learn to do this because if you can’t remember what you read, then you won’t understand what is going on in the story or learn new things."
3.    "Now it is time to practice visualizing.  We are going to read a poem, and while we read it, I want you to picture in your mind what is happening throughout the poem."  Read Bed Head.  Say, "As I read this poem, this is what I pictured in my head:  I see a girl standing in the bathroom trying to use a brush and a comb and putting bobby pins and clips in her hair.  I also see her being so desperate and frustrated that she just puts a bowl on her head.  I can see her face, which is wrinkled up with frustration.  I see forks, picks, and sticks sticking out from her hair and her hair looks terrible.  My picture of this girl then changes because I realize that she is really a teacher and not a little girl."  The allow each of the students to share what they visualized as they read the poem.  
4.    "Now I am going to give each of you a book called Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen.  The story is about Brian Robeson’s adventures as he begins a journey to visit his father.  His plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness and he is left to survive on his own.  How can a boy of 13 survive in the wilderness without any grown-ups around?  Will he be rescued?  We will have to read to find out.  Today, we will begin by reading the first chapter silently.  Remember, that is without moving your lips at all.  Then I want you to draw your visualizations on some white paper.  You will also write a few sentences at the bottom to tell about your drawing.  After everyone has finished, you will share your drawings with your table partner and compare and contrast them to make sure your pictures included all of the characters and the events in this first chapter.  Over the next few weeks, we will be drawing our visualizations for each chapter of this book, so we will have something to remind us of the events of this story."  Distribute the books and allow them time to read the chapter, draw their visualizations, and hold their peer conferences.

I will assess the students comprehension by looking at their drawings.   I will use the following checklist:

Student’s illustration accurately reflects a passage from the chapter.   Yes   No        
Student is able to orally explain their drawing and the part of the story it represents.    Yes    No         
Student’s statement demonstrates a clear understanding between the statement and the illustrations that pertain to a passage within the chapter.  Yes    No         
Student includes each of the characters from the chapter in his/her illustration.      Yes    No

Nesbitt, K. (2007).  Bed Head.  Retrieved April 12, 2009.  http://www.poetry4kids.com/poem-351.html  

Paulsen, G. (1987).  Hatchet.  New York:  Simon & Schuster.

Jacobs, Ashley.  (2007). I See A Bed Head!  Reading Genie website.  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/encoun/jacobsa.html  

Bed Head
By Kenn Nesbitt

I can’t do a thing with my hair-do.
I’ve tried but it’s simply no use.
I can’t make it stay where I put it today
With styling gel, hair spray, or mousse.

No bobby pin, brush, or bandanna,
Can get my hair under control.
I’ve tried every comb, every clip in my home,
And covered my head with a bowl.

I’ve tried using forks in frustration.
I’ve tried using pokers and picks.
I’ve tried using straps; I’ve tried headbands and caps.
I’ve even tried shoestrings and sticks.

Regardless of how I attack it,
I simply cannot make it stay.
I guess I can’t win, so I’ll have to give in
And look like my students today.

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