The Missouri Reader Vol. 43, Issue 2 - Page 42

By: Brooke Hult




(students from the Bowles Elementary School

in the Rockwood <Missouri> School District)

Hand-Me-Down Tales from Around the World: A Second Grade Literature Unit

Haleigh Brown

As we further develop materials that reflect our student populations, many districts across the United States are experiencing an influx of students arriving from different countries. Similar to the earlier vignette, a significant challenge exists in that schools are deciphering how to best teach literacy in students’ native languages while having students bring their own lives and perspectives to texts:

This modified anchor chart was replicated for English learners based on the “Big Questions” emphasized in Disruptive Thinking :

1)What surprised me?

2) What does the author think I already know?

3)What changed, challenged, or confirmed what I already know?


● Kinesthetic strategies. Students played Zip, Zap, Zop, and were asked to name a solid when it was their turn. To play this game, students stood in a circle and sent a "clap" or "impulse" or "ball of energy" to each other in turn, saying the word "Zip" each time. They were able to observe and interact with gloves filled with frozen water to represent a solid, filled with water to represent a liquid, and filled with air to represent a gas. They role played “being” the atoms in solids, liquids, and gases by movement. By melting ice in their hands they were able to see matter change from a solid to a liquid. As a final project, students made their own Oobleck.

● Auditory strategies. Read-alouds were used throughout this week to extend the content information. The read-alouds provided information for the students to use in their writing for the week. Conferences between the students and me were also carried out to help students set goals for improvement.

Motivational strategies. This week a clip chart was introduced to help students set goals. They set their clip to help remind them of that week’s goal for improvement in their writing. When they met their goal, students moved their clip to the next goal they wanted to work toward

● Formative assessment results. This week, the formative assessment results showed that students were able to draw from their own multisensory experiences to include details. Students’ ability to write a strong paragraph was still challenging for most of them. From this formative assessment it was determined writing a paragraph would be the targeted skill for the following week.

Weeks four-five. The content for the next two weeks included a science unit about heat and light energy, and sound and static energy. From the formative results of the first three weeks, it was determined that students still needed to improve their proficiency in the writing of a paragraph, so this remained the target goal during this two-week span. The multisensory experiences used during this unit were visual, kinesthetic and auditory strategies.

● Visual strategies. Students experimented with mirrors and light during the two-week span. A foldable graphic organizer was introduced to help students differentiate between the topic sentence, each detail, and closing sentence. Mirrors and foil were used to experiment with different surfaces and reflections. A Flocabulary video was used to introduce sound.

● Kinesthetic strategies. This week students experimented with heat energy and how it can change a solid to a liquid. Using

Hershey kisses, students melted the kisses in their mouths to experience how heat energy works.

Auditory strategies. Shared reading activities were carried out throughout this week.

Learning stations were created to allow students to interact with sound. Students were able to manipulate sound and test the questions such as “can you still hear sound that happens under water?”

● Motivational strategies. Observations this week showed that student engagement remained unusually high throughout the week. Regardless of the kinesthetic experience used, students appeared focused and engaged in all activities.

Formative assessment results. Formative assessments this week showed that students were able to add specific details to their writing from their multisensory experiences at the sound stations. Another improvement during the two-week span was that students were able to develop topic sentences.

Weeks six-eight. The content focus for the next three weeks was living organisms, beginning with animals, followed by the human body and, finally, investigating healthy habits. Weeks Formative assessments from Weeks Four-Five indicated that students were more proficient in their development of topic sentences, but still needed more work in writing details and closing their paragraphs. During this three-week span, the genre of opinion writing was introduced to the students.

Visual strategies. Students researched an animal of their choice using the PebbleGo online program. Students completed a class wall graph by voting for their favorite activity to stay healthy. They used a graphic organizer of their choice as they began to brainstorm and develop their topic sentences and details in their writing.

Kinesthetic strategies. Students worked in small groups to complete a sort to classify animals. During the study of the human body, the teacher intern used a Picture-Perfect Science Lesson about the heart. Students participated in an interactive read-aloud in which they responded to the book with learning activities such as listening to each other’s heartbeat. They first found their resting heart rate, then they found their heart rate after participating in activities such as pushups, jumping jacks, skipping, or sitting. Students