Calling All Actors! Let's Make A Mental Movie!

 

A Reading to Learn Lesson

By

Kaitlyn Kimberley

 

Rationale: As effective educators, we know that student comprehension is the essential goal of reading. Visualization is one of many strategies that research has proven effective in helping our students develop reading comprehension. Visualization is an active process where readers create images in their minds that reflect or represent the ideas in the text. Basically, this means that students should be able to create a movie in their head that will aid them in understanding what they are reading and connecting the text to their prior knowledge. In this lesson, the students will learn to use their imagination and five senses to create mental pictures as they read a short poem as well as a chapter book. I will demonstrate explicit instruction for teaching visualization. I will show how adjectives and descriptive phrases and sentences add volume to the story. And finally, I will display examples of how to take words and chunks of a text and transform them into a mental picture. As a teacher, you must take particular care to explicitly teach student comprehension strategies because comprehension is not a product but a process that must be mastered. At the end, the teacher must ask themselves 5 important questions: Can the student communicate that visualization is the creation of images that may include any of the five senses in his or her mind that reflect/represent the text read to enhance understanding? Can the student communicate that visualizing is used before, during and after reading? Can the student communicate that visualizing helps the reader go deeper into the text and makes it come alive? Can the student communicate that when visualizing, the reader uses sensory and emotional clues from the text and from prior knowledge to create the world of the story in the mind? Can the student demonstrate visualization through language or visual art? "With visualization, students will monitor their reading comprehension, allowing them to stand beside their learning and bring their learning under complete control." (Murray, pg.209)

 

Materials:

- Overhead transparency with following text:

"As Gloria walked, she pulled her coat tightly closed and felt herself shivering. She was glad that she had remembered to wear her hat, scarf, and gloves, as her mother always told hero. She smelled smoke coming from chimneys and wished she could be inside, by a warm fireplace, sipping sweet hot chocolate. She could see her breath in front of her and hear her feet crunching in the snow. Gloria had to walk carefully and watch out for ice. She squinted as the sun hit her eyes. Gloria could feel the heaviness of her backpack. It was filled with her completed homework, books, and lunch. Gloria checked her watch and realized that she was late. Gloria walked as quickly as she could without slipping. She could already hear Mrs. Simpson lecturing her on the importance of being on time."

 

- Paper with the following text (1 copy for each student):

"The barn was very large. It was very old. It smelled of hay......It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows......It smelled of grain and of harness dressing and of axle grease and of rubber boots and of new rope. It was full of all sorts of things that you find in barns: ladders, grindstones, pitchforks, monkey wrenches, scythes, lawn mowers, snow shovels, ax handles, milk pails, water buckets, empty grain sacks, and rusty rat traps. It was the kind of barn that swallows like to build their nests in. It was the kind of barn that children like to play in."

 

- Class copies (1 per student) of Charlotte's Web (written by: E.B. White; published by: Harper & Brothers)

- Visualization Worksheet (1 for each student)

- Using your Senses Worksheet (1 for each student)

- Crayons, color pencils, and/or markers

- Overhead projector

- Assessment Rubric for every student

 

1. Did the student read silently?

    /5

2. Did the student describe 3 visualizations they had in Chapter 1?

    /5

3. Did the student draw a picture?

   /5

4. Are the images or events in the picture accurate to the passage in the story?

   /5

5. Did the student draw and describe in detail the events of the chapter?

   /5

6. Did the student share their visualizations with the group?

   /5

 

 

Procedures:

1. Say: "Today we will learn a new comprehension strategy.  Remember that comprehension strategies help us monitor what we are reading and remember what we read.  I want everyone to close their eyes and thing of their favorite food.  For example, my favorite food is macaroni and cheese, YUM! Now that everyone is thinking of his or her absolute favorite food, I want you to imagine that you have a big plate of it right in front of you! I want you to think about reaching out and taking a bite of the food.  Now I want you to pretend that you are putting that food in your mouth and chewing it. Can you taste it?  Everyone open your eyes.  Did you see your favorite food in your mind? Did that make you hungry? Is your stomach now craving your favorite food? Well congratulations class, you were just visualizing yourself eating your favorite food.  Visualization is a comprehension strategy that you use to create a picture in your head of what you are reading.  It activates your senses and makes the text in the book come alive!"

2. Briefly review other comprehension strategies (summarization, story grammar, etc.) that the students have learned and how those strategies aid in the understanding of the story.  Explain that you will use the visualization strategy to aid in the understanding of the story also. 

3. Say: "Remember how we picked important words or phrases out to create a summary of the text.  We cut out a lot of the extra insignificant information from the story, the adjectives and descriptive, supporting sentences. We just want the cold, hard facts.  Well when we are visualizing, we want to pay attention to the "fluff", everything besides the cold hard facts. The "fluff" is the fancy details or additional information that authors add to a story to make it interesting.  The "fluff" is what adds excitement to the story. It helps us create a picture of what the place setting looks like, what the characters look like, the feelings they are expressing, and many other things. You will look at the adjectives, or the words that describe the nouns in the sentence. Also, you will look at sentences that follow a main idea to see how those sentences build upon that idea."

4. Say: "I want you to watch how I take a brief descriptive text and turn it into a movie in my head.  I will describe my visions out loud, so I can guide everyone through how I use the visualization strategy." Display the overhead with the following text:

 As Gloria walked, she pulled her coat tightly closed and felt herself shivering. She was glad that she had remembered to wear her hat, scarf, and gloves, as her mother always told hero. She smelled smoke coming from chimneys and wished she could be inside, by a warm fireplace, sipping sweet hot chocolate. She could see her breath in front of her and hear her feet crunching in the snow. Gloria had to walk carefully and watch out for ice. She squinted as the sun hit her eyes. Gloria checked her watch and realized that she was late. Gloria walked as quickly as she could without slipping.

 

Say: " Before I model how to use visualization, I want to build our vocabulary! Follow the chart and actively engage the students in the embedded vocabulary lesson.

 

 

 

Word: squinted

Contextualize the word as it is used in the passage

" Gloria squinted as the sun hit her eyes."

 

Explain the meaning in a student friendly definition.

To squint means to partly close your eyelids in order to see more clearly or protect your eyes from light. When Gloria squinted, she partly closed her eyelids because the sun was too bright.

Students repeat the word.

Say the word squinted with me: squinted.

Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts.

I squinted to read the small print. I squinted because the lamp was too bright.

Students provide examples.

When have you squinted? Start by saying, "I squinted when _________________________."

Students repeat the word again.

What word are we talking about? squinted

Additional Vocabulary Words

shivering, sipping

 

 

Say: " When I read As Gloria walked, she pulled her coat tightly closed and felt herself shivering. She was glad that she had remembered to wear her hat, scarf, and gloves, as her mother always told her to. I picture a little girl outside in the snow. It has just stopped snowing and the sun is beginning to come out from behind the clouds. She is wearing a red coat, a colorful scarf, and matching gloves. She has her arms crossed across her chest. Her teeth are chattering and she is shaking because of the cold wind. She smiles when she thinks about how she obeyed her mom. She smelled smoke coming from chimneys and wished she could be inside, by a warm fireplace, sipping sweet hot chocolate. I see and smell a big cloud of musky smoke expelling from a nearby chimney top. Then I see the little sitting by a big warm fireplace, wrapped up in a blanket, and drinking a big mug of hot chocolate the little girl. She could see her breath in front of her and hear her feet crunching in the snow. Gloria had to walk carefully and watch out for ice. I see a long road covered completely in a blanket of pure white snow. The little girl is walking slowly and her boots are making indentions in the snow. I see her breath as she exhales. She is looking down, carefully observing the road making sure to avoid any ice patches. She squinted as the sun hit her eyes. Gloria checked her watch and realized that she was late. Gloria walked as quickly as she could without slipping. Now I see the little girl look up at the bright sun in the sky then pull up her jacket sleeve and squint down to see what time is was on her watch. Her happy facial expression turns to worry when she realizes that she is 5 minutes late for class. She speeds up her walking and her breathing quickens. But, even though she is walking faster she is still look down at the road carefully to avoid the ice.

"Did everyone notice how I took that text and broke it down? Pause for students' responses or questions. How did I determine the setting in this passage? Give students think time and have them respond. That's right! I read the passage and used words and phrases that described when and where the story was taking place to visualize the setting. I created a movie in my head! When I do this I add interest to the story and I sketch what is happening into my mind. With visualization, I remember the story better and I monitor my reading comprehension. Visualization opens up your senses to the story.  You see, feel, smell, hear, and taste what the characters of the story do, helping you become a part of the story. I simply took the descriptive words and phrases and created pictures in my head out of them." Pass out the using your senses worksheet to every student. Let's work together to complete this chart and practice how visualization opens up our senses to the story. I'm going re-read the passage and together we will fill out the worksheet."

 

5. Say: "Now it is your turn to visualize the story.  I am going to read a short text to you, and I want you to visualize what is happening in the story Charlotte's Web. Close your eyes, and think about the text." Read the following text, but pause briefly between each sentence to allow the students time to visualize what is happening.

"The barn was very large. It was very old. It smelled of hay......It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows......It smelled of grain and of harness dressing and of axle grease and of rubber boots and of new rope. It was full of all sorts of things that you find in barns: ladders, grindstones, pitchforks, monkey wrenches, scythes, lawn mowers, snow shovels, ax handles, milk pails, water buckets, empty grain sacks, and rusty rat traps. It was the kind of barn that swallows like to build their nests in. It was the kind of barn that children like to play in."

 

Allow the students to share their images of the story. Ask students to volunteer to come up to the front and explain their drawings to their fellow peers. Then encourage students to discuss and compare what they envisioned when reading the passage with one another.  Say: " I want to highlight an important point, everyone creates their own movie in their head when they read. But did you notice that every one of y'all had certain things in common. Those are the things that the author wants you to remember and comprehend from the story. 

6. Tell the students that it is their turn to visualize individually as they read a story. Say: "You are going to enter into the life of a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with barn spider named Charlotte. When Wilbur is in danger of being slaughtered by the farmer, Charlotte writes messages praising Wilbur in her web in order to persuade the farmer to let him live. You are going to read Charlotte's Web by E.B. White to find out what happens to young Wilbur and his friend Charlotte. To begin, I want you to spread out and find a quiet spot to read Chapters 1 and 2. I want you to practice what we just learned and create a movie in your head as you read.

7. After the students have completed their reading, split the class into 2 sections.  Assign each section a chapter from 1 to 4.  Pass out a visualization worksheet to each student. Next, have each student draw a picture that illustrates what the author was saying or showing the reader in his or her assigned chapter. Say: "Draw a scene from the movie in your head.  Show me what you think about Wilber or Charlotte from the chapter that you assigned. Be creative and detailed because I want to be inspired to read this book by what you visualized."  Allow the students to discuss and explain their picture to the class and how they used visualization to help them create the picture. Then have students return to their desks and pass out a new passage that the students have not seen before. Instruct the students to draw and describe in detail the visual movie they are creating in their head when they read this passage.  Evaluate the students' interpretation of the text and check to see if they are accurately portraying what the author wanted them to portray.  If a student seems to struggle with this assignment, have the student reread a section of the story with you and help the student look for key words to help create a mental picture.

References

 

Freeman, Kari Beth. Close your eyes, it's time to read! http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/constr/freemanrl.html

 

Langham, Laura Ruth. Action! Make your own mental movie.  

             http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/voyages/langhamrl.html

 

 

Reading Works. Lesson on visualization. http://www.readworks.org/sites/default/files/bundles/lessons-grade3-setting-lesson-1.pdf

 

 

Visualize When Reading Worksheet. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Visualize-While-Reading

 

 

White, E.B. Charlotte's Web (1973). Harper & Brothers.

 

 

 

 

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Name: ____________________________

Visualization: Using Your Senses

 

 

 

Sense

Evidence In Text

 

Sight

 

 

Hearing

 

 

Touch

 

 

Taste

 

 

Smell

 

 

Other Information