Second Grade Unit 3
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Unit 3: Building Bridges With Unlikely Friends
ENDURING UNDERSTANDING: Stories can teach us life lessons.
- Read how-to-texts on building bridges
- View bridges on the Internet
- Through realistic fiction, examine friendship in conflict-filled settings
- Write a letter to a character in Charlotte’s Web
- Explore meanings of idioms and words with common roots
· RL.2.7: Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.
· RL.2.3: Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
· RI.2.6: Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.
· W.2.2: Write explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
· L2.2: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
· L.2.2(b): Use commas in greetings and closings of letters.
· L.2.4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 2 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.
· L.2.4(d): Use knowledge of the meaning of individual words to predict the meaning of compound words
Questioning Stems: Narrative (literature) and informational texts questioning stems based on questions WITHIN, BEYOND, and ABOUT the texts, to be used throughout the unit.
Student “I Can” Statements:
- “I Can” read a how-to books and understand them (e.g. building and designing bridges).
- Talk about the bridges students have seen. Explore pictures of different kinds of bridges.
- Introduce a chapter from Bridges: Amazing Structures to Design, Build & Test by Elizabeth Reith & Michael Kline. This is an informational book, but it is also a “how-to” book. In an A to Z graphic organizer (Alpha Boxes) have students record information they learn about bridges organize information alphabetically). Continue reading the rest of Bridges: Amazing Structures to Design, Build & Test. Resource #1
- Read Mackinac Bridge: The Story of the Five-Mile Poem by Gloria Whelan and Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen. Study Guide
- Use the poem “The Bridge Builder” and gather more information to add to chart. Harvest vocabulary and high frequency words and work on fluency as you do repeated re-reads.
- Read Bridges Are To Cross by Philemon Sturges and Giles Laroche as another resource for information about bridges.
- In an A to Z graphic organizer (Alpha Boxes) have students record information they learn about bridges (organize information alphabetically).
- Discuss what is the same about all bridges, why bridges are important, why do we need them., and how bridges improve our lives. Record the ideas on a chart.
- For independent writing, have students write an (Informative/Explanatory or Opinion) piece about one of the following topics:
How are bridges built? (Informative/Explanatory)
Why are bridges important in our lives? (Informative/Explanatory)
Which bridge is my favorite? (Opinion)
- Introduce the concept of symmetry in bridges and have students create a symmetrical picture of objects like butterflies etc. Have students use pattern blocks to create patterns of symmetry. Each student will describe the pattern and symmetry in writing. (Explanatory)
- Have students make a list of everything in the classroom that is symmetrical, including letters in the alphabet.
- Read another how-to-book having students explain , describe what they learned in a pair-share-grouping. Talk about the job of an illustrator. Discuss how the illustrations in a How-To Book help with comprehension. Have students think of other books they know of where the illustrations helped them understand the information.
- Lesson plan for Making How-To Books.
- Building Brides with Unlikely Friends lesson plan by Dr. Julie Baker
- “I Can” write an explanatory piece on specific topics (e.g., “how to build a bridge”).
- Use the Prevention Dimension Grade 2 “Building the Highest Tower” activity.
- Explicitly teach students about writing step-by-step instructions that will be part of writing How-To books. Choose several topics to practice this skill.
- Have students write “How To” paragraphs using the step-by-step format. (Informative/Explanatory)
- Build A Bridge Note: This lesson is an online bridge building activity for the future civil engineer.
- Fun and Learning About Bridges Note: This is an expansive site, including links to additional resources, for learning about bridges.
- After research have cooperative groups build bridges from toothpicks, spaghetti, straws. Have them write a step-by-step description of how they accomplished the task of building their bridge. (Informative/Explanatory)
- Have students write their own explanatory piece on something they know about. (e.g. How to: wash a dog, plant a seed, make a pizza, build a snowman, etc.) (Informative/Explanatory)
- “I Can” read informational texts and identify literal and figurative language (e.g.,bridges).
- Teach the vocabulary of literal, figurative, and metaphor. ELL students and students with special needs really struggle with this. Not all forms of figurative language should be taught in depth in second grade, but there should be exposure and beginning understanding Teachers, however, need a depth of understanding. This must be explicitly taught and practiced throughout the year.
- Introduce the idea of a “bridge” as a metaphor. Make a chart for recording all of the ways that “bridge” can be used other than for a structure.
- Read the book Pop’s Bridge by Eve Bunting, and have a discussion about how some things are literal and some are figurative. Use literal and figurative definitions to impact understanding. Resource #1 Resource #2
- Two other books that would also work for literal and figurative language are: How to Lose All Your Friends by Nancy Carlson and The Ugly Duckling illustrated by Jerry Pinkney.
- Make a chart of similes, and metaphors as you encounter them in reading. This can be a running chart.
- Read the book “Parts” by Tedd Arnold and identify the literal representations of idioms using this lesson plan (Read/Write/Think).
- State Social Studies Connection: Use Me On The Map and My Place in Space by Joan Sweeney. Talk about “bridging” from our room at home through the universe to our place in space; social studies/geography integration of city/county/state/country/continent/hemisphere. Have students illustrate the figurative picture of each of the spaces, while showing them what the literal space looks like. Geography skills may be introduced at this time.
- Read Anno’s U.S.A. by Mitsumasa Anno. Use this wordless picture book of our country to develop text writing and geography across the U.S. Have students create descriptive paragraphs to match with pictures of bridges from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, to Washington, D.C., and Boston (and everywhere in between)(Informative)
- Have students pick compound words and have them draw the literal and figurative meaning of the word like butter + fly and butterfly
- List of Books (Literature A 1)
- Additional Bridge Books -
- Twenty One Elephants and Still Standing By; April Jones Prince (this is the book about the elephants from the circus that crossed the Brooklyn bridge to see if it would stay standing)
- Across The Alley by: RIchard Michelson (this book is about the bridge of friendship between a Jewish boy, and a young African American. It is wonderful!
- Listen to the Wind by: Greg Mortenson & Susan Roth (this picture book is about building schools in remote regions in Pakistan and Afgan. The bridge is a skinny rope bridge to the high mountains)
- “I Can” recognize authors’ techniques for describing characters.
- Have students find a book with a great character. Have students hide their book in a bag and describe their character as if the character was their friend. Have other student guess who the character is.
- Young Writer’s Program
- Using picture books to teach characterization in Writing Workshop
- Read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible No Good Day by Judith Viorst and use this Lesson Plan to work on identifying the character traits (thoughts, feelings, etc.). Writing about the character is included in the lesson.
- Write a description of a favorite character from any book. (Craft Lessons pg. 38) (Narrative)
- Compare and contrast a friend and themselves on the graphic organizer. Use the information to write a two to three paragraph summary of the things that are alike and the things that are different between them. (Informative/Explanatory)
- Cut photos of people from magazines, books, etc. have students write descriptive paragraphs about the people. You can then display the paragraphs and pictures for students to match.
- Record snippets of a television program so students can describe the actors. Record character physical characteristics on one chart, personality traits on another, and emotions that people would have on another for their use in writing in the future. It is also a good time to identify that describing characteristics are adjectives.
- Read the book Owen and Mzee by Isabella & Craig Hatkoff and have students describe how there is a bridge between Owen and Mzee and talk about the language of . Resource #1 Resource #2 Terra and Bella Reader’s Theatre primary grades, Terra & Bella Reader’s Theatre,
- Read Tara and Bella: The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best Friends by Carol Buckley. Tie into all other texts about unlikely friends.
- Begin a class discussion by asking the students, “If a real hippopotamus had no other companions, what other kind of animal could you imagine her having for a friend?” Have students draw a picture of their chosen animal and write a few sentences explaining WHY they chose that animal to be the friend. Share in pairs. Make a class book entitle: “Friends For A Hippopotamus”.
- Biocube - This Graphic Organizer will help students describe their character
- List of Narrative Literature (Literature A 1)
- “I Can” write friendly letters to fictional characters (e.g., characters in Charlotte’s Web).
- Read aloud the book Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White) to the class throughout an extended period of time. After each reading talk about characters, setting, details, etc. Keep a running chart of the things you discuss.
- Charlotte’s Web Resources:
- Suggestions for Charlotte’s Web (A -4) ( focusing on cause and effect, characters, writing letters, vocabulary, problem solving, similes, parts of speech, seasons, etc.)
- Use the “Spider Word Web” (A -3) to record all the synonyms they can think of for “Terrific”.
- Use the “Friend Web” (A -2) to records characteristics of a friend and words that mean “friend”. Connect this to the friendships between the characters in Charlotte’s Web.
- Friendly Letter Mini-Lesson Note: This is a lesson plan about writing a friendly letter.
- Letter Generator (ReadWriteThink) Note: Use this online generator to help students write a friendly letter.
- Crazy Hair Day Stanley arrives at school, all set to celebrate Crazy Hair Day, only to find out he has mixed up the date with School Picture Day. In this uplifting story of friendship and kindness, what starts out as a worst-ever experience takes a surprising turn as Stanley's best friend and his classmates concoct a creative show of solidarity.
- After you have finished reading Charlotte’s Web, have the students each choose one of the characters in the book that they would like to write a friendly letters to. Share individual letters in small groups and create a class book of the letters.
- Read the book George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends by James Marshall. Use this resource to talk about the friendship between George and Martha Washington Resource #2
- Introduce a book such as Snow in Jerusalem by Deborah Da Costa. Discuss how unlikely friends become friends through finding something in common. Have students think of some of their friends who may have been unlikely friends.
- To encourage the communication among unlikely friends, arrange for your students to be pen pals, or email pals, with students from another class in a place far away.
- Students make a mask of their character, write their letter, and then orally read their letter; the characters can respond to each other’s letters in writing and orally; analyze the character’s voice and use it when reading the letters (whine, screech, snarl, whisper, mumbled, groaned, sobbed, etc.)
- “I Can” use commas correctly in the greeting and closing of a friendly letter.
- Read Dear Mr. Blueberry by Simon James to students after reading, make a chart of the features and parts of a Friendly letter.
- “Friendly Letter Organizer”
- On line presentation “Writing a Friendly Letter” Click through this document like you would a power point.
- Letter Generator
- Friendly Letter Mini Lesson
- “I Can” read chapter books and focus on characters (e.g. Henry and Mudge).
- As students read the Henry and Mudge books, challenge them to look closely at the characters. (Graphic Organizer
- Read aloud the book Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White) aloud to the class. After you have finished the book, have the students connect the characters in the book by writing friendly letters. Keep a journal as if you were Henry or Mudge (point of view) (Narrative)
- Henry & Mudge Lesson Links
- Read If Not for the Cat by Jack Prelutsky and Ted Rand and I Am the Dog I Am the Cat by Donald Hall. Write about the personification of the characters.
- “I Can” use my knowledge of a base word such as “bridge” to predict the meaning of compound words and idioms.
- Base words, compound words, and and idioms: Phonics Scope & Sequence
- After reading about bridges, have students predict the meaning of compound words that contain the word “bridge”: footbridge, drawbridge, flybridge, and bridgework. “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” “that’s water under the bridge,” and “don’t burn your bridges.”
- Cut apart the bridge metaphors and have a classroom discussion on what they mean.
- “I Can” read and write Haiku poetry, embracing the riddles and the language.
- As you read from the poetry collection If Not for the Cat (Jack Prelutsky), explain to the students the Haiku style of poetry.
- Haiku lesson plan from Read/Write/Think
- Haiku template
- Sample Haiku’s written by students
- Giggle Poetry:
- ReadWriteThink: Resource #1 Resource #2