5 class periods of 15 minutes each
Teach a repertoire of comprehension strategies to successfully process informational text for content knowledge. The students will be able to describe what clouds, rain, and fog are and how they are made.
- Big Book of Cloud, Rain, and Fog, by Fred and Jeane Biddulph.
- Book Web
- Chart paper
- Summary Cards and Headings
(See Background for Teachers for more details.)
- A marker
- Highlighting tape
- Optional: 4-cup containers filled with snow or crushed ice.
Background for Teachers
The headings and subheadings from the Big Book can be typed on the computer and photocopied to make the cards for the Book Web. Pictures can be scanned from the smaller student book if these are needed.
The time frame on this unit can be adjusted according to the time of year and the maturity of the students being taught.
Before the lesson:
- Checkmark pages 7,12,14,16,18,and 20
- Closed eye on page 9.
- Cover up cumulus and cirrus clouds on page 8 & 9.
Introducing the Book:
- "This is an informational book. Let's discuss how it is different from a book that is fiction."
- "Now let's look at the cover. What do you see on the cover? What do you think the print tells you about the picture?"
- "Let's read the title."
Activating Background Knowledge:
- "Before we read a book, we stop and think about what we already know. What strategy is this?"
- "Think about your own experiences. What do you know about clouds, rain, and fog? Turn to a partner and share what you know. Now let's all hear what two or three of you know."
- Point to and discuss what an author is on the book cover.
- Open to the Table of Contents.
"Good readers look at the Table of Contents to figure out how the author is going to tell us the information. Let's read the Table of Contents in this book."
- "What are these called?" (Headings) "We can see from the title that the author of our book is going to tell us about clouds, rain, and fog. What do the headings tell us?" (Headings tell us what the author wants us to know.) "The headings are listed here in the Table of Contents with the page where we will find the information." Check one or two sections with the students to see if the headings are there to help the reader.
- "Remember that the author puts other text structure in to help us find and understand information." Point out the following features in this book:
- Index: page 25
- Captions and Labels: pages 14, 16, 18, 24
- Charts and graphs: pages 5, 9, 19
- "Let's look at the board. We have a book web for our book today. You can see we have the title of our book, headings, and pictures. We also have words from the book. We will use our background knowledge to predict where these words might go on the web. What is a prediction?" (We know that a prediction is a smart guess and good readers predict to think about what they will be learning as they read. It helps get the reader's mind ready to read.)
- Now, invite the children to take a card and predict its place underneath each web strand.
- "Before we read, we often think of some questions we hope will be answered as we read. Asking ourselves some questions helps us focus on important information and remember it. Can you think of any questions you would like to ask before we read? Let's put a few of them on the board." (Write down questions that they have generated. Have a few of your own in case they are stumped.) "We will be asking more questions as we read and after we finish reading."
Read the Book:
- Read pages 2-7 as a whole group.
- Monitoring: Turn back to page 5.
"Did we understand how clouds are formed?" Students retell the water cycle with teacher help. Refer to page 5.
"How many of you think this information now clicks for you? How many of you are still not sure it makes sense and it clunks?" Answer any questions if it still clunks.
- Read pages 8-9.
Stop at points marked with a "closed eye" to make images in the mind. Cover each of the 3 clouds.
"What strategy does this mean we will be using?" (imagery) "Remember that good readers make pictures in their mind to help them think about the words and remember information. Let me read the captions on the chart. Make a picture in your mind as you listen to the words." Reveal the pictures after reading each caption. Have students indicate if it was the same or different than their image.
- Read pages 10 & 11.
- ADJUST THE BOOK WEB UNDER THE FOLLOWING HEADINGS:
- Clouds and Types of Clouds
- Text Structure:
"Let's return to the Table of Contents to figure out how the author is going to tell us the rest of the information in this book. We've already learned about clouds and types of clouds. The next headings are Rain, Snow, Hail, Fog, and Rainbows. Notice these are all made out of water and come from clouds."
Flip through pages 12-21 (picture walk) and point out that each one begins with a question. Determine that the text structure is question-answer. "Think about the question and what you think the answer is as you are reading. Let's begin on page 12."
- Read pages 12 & 13.
Stop at points with a "checkmark" to check comprehension. "We know that good readers monitor their reading by asking themselves if what they're reading makes sense. Think about the question that the author asked on page 12. Turn to your neighbor and explain why it rains. Thumbs up if your neighbor understood and can explain why it rains. Thumbs down if they were not sure and we need to reread and discuss this answer."
- Student Water Spray Activity:
Spray water on a cookie sheet until it groups together and makes rain.
- Read pages 14 & 15.
Stop at points with a "checkmark" to check comprehension. "What reading strategy are we using if we stop and ask ourselves if this is making sense?"
"Think about the question that the author asked on page 14. Turn to your neighbor and explain why it snows. Thumbs up if your neighbor understood and can explain why it snows. Thumbs down if they were not sure and we need to reread and discuss this answer."
- Read pages 16 & 17.
Stop at points with a "checkmark" to check comprehension.
"What does the checkmark tell us to do? (monitor) Think about the question that the author asked on page 16. Turn to your neighbor and explain why it hails. Thumbs up if your neighbor understood and can explain why it hails. Thumbs down if they were not sure and we need to reread and discuss this answer."
- Read pages 18 & 19.
Stop at points with a "checkmark" to check comprehension. "We have just read new information. What should we do if we are good readers? Yes, stop to monitor our reading and check to make sure we understand it. Think about the question that the author asked on page 18. Turn to your neighbor and explain what fog is. Thumbs up if your neighbor understood and can explain fog. Thumbs down if they were not sure and we need to reread and discuss fog."
- Read pages 20 & 21.
Stop at points with a "checkmark" to check comprehension. "We have just read new information. What should we do if we are good readers? Yes, stop to monitor our reading and check to make sure we understand it. Think about and stop to monitor our reading and check to make sure we understand it. Think about the question that the author asked on page 20. Turn to your neighbor and explain where rainbows come from. Thumbs up if your neighbor understood and can explain rainbows. Thumbs down if they were not sure and we need to reread and discuss this answer."
- ADJUST THE BOOK WEB FOR THE FOLLOWING HEADINGS THAT DISCRIBE PRECIPITATION:
- Read pages 22-23.
"We now have new knowledge about weather. Let's use it to predict what the weather will be like. Look at the pictures on page 23." Check the answer on page 24 after student discussion.
- ADJUST THE BOOK WEB FOR THE FOLLOWING HEADINGS:
- Blue Sky
- Weather Forecast
"Now that we have finished reading our book and we have completed our book web, I am going to scramble the word cards and see how quickly you can reassemble the web."
"Now that we have received the important information from our book in the book web, we need to summarize what we have learned. Why is summarizing important to readers?" (A summary helps us organize what we know using a few big ideas.) Groups decide where to place prewritten summary statements under 9 headings on a chart.
"One more important part of summarizing is returning to the questions we asked before reading our book. Let's see if they were answered...
Do you have any new questions after reading the book?"
"After reading and summarizing, I think we have learned a lot about clouds and the weather they create."
- OPTIONAL ACTIVITY:
To accompany page 14, produce a container with 4 cups of snow or shaved ice. Predict how much it will measure when it melts. Follow-up discussion about water expanding when it freezes and how snow has a lot of empty room between flakes that is filled up with air.
Strategies for Diverse Learners
Students "at risk" can be given support with the partner as their neighbor. They may need to have the book sent home and the parent go over the information before it is presented to the rest of the class.
Students that are gifted may do further research on any of the topics. They might look for other ways to show how clouds are formed. Other information about rain or fog.
Assessment is on-going. As the students talk to their neighbor and use the thumbs up or thumbs down it will tell the teacher if they are understanding.
Adapted from a lesson written and distributed by Sue Wilson from Washington School District.
Sunshine Series: Clouds, Rain, and Fog