external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTNguBn-DSEsotExcRzMkw-8Lci997NaulWJyGOg-MT_7xRdYjTFirst Grade Unit 1

Alphabet Books and Children Who Read Them

In this first six-week unit of first grade, students are welcomed to school as readers and begin reviewing the alphabet and concepts of print through books about the library, friendship, and the ABCs.

external image 9780060242657.jpgexternal image 9780064440455.jpgexternal image gr4_th2_sel1.jpgexternal image 77692.jpegexternal image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQH-T5Rw9CjHtWD4bIR5ir8KCOjh1nr4gAlpp8slAgjGyQyDwXYTAexternal image aa_i_can_read_with_my_eyes_shut.jpg
Focusing on questioning and shared research, students learn that questioning is foundational to learning. By using books that require conversation, such as The Graphic Alphabet, students understand that ideas are processed through inquiry, thought, and conversation. After the students perform shared research based on a class question, they write a class ABC book about their topic. During this writing, they review the formation of a sentence with proper punctuation. Students also consider healthy habits in this unit and write about what they know, focusing on their topic and supporting it with facts. Finally, they apply their knowledge of questioning to poetry and perform the poetry as a choral reading.

Why is it important to ask questions while you are reading?

Focus Standards

LAFS.1.RL.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details and events in a text.
LAFS.1.RI.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
LAFS.1.W.3.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., explore a number of “how-to” books on a given topic and use them to write a sequence of instructions).
LAFS.1.SL1.1: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about Grade One topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups
LAFS.1.L.1.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
LAFS.1.L.1.1(j) Produce and expand complete simple and compound declarative, interrogative, Imperative, and exclamatory sentences in response to prompts.

Unit Plan and Overview - End of Unit Learning and Project
external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcStG-WsmoWyxqODDDsU2jZnVFu6P1b_zL0fWBTpaFu0NXKcpsLbiwtracker week 2.jpgexternal image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRyIPKlBW0Q8E4nRlh7wGzK6vBUycqr4E9JMdJh0gs1BFLTNiqtexternal image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRxWzP_i_frRIzzLQ3f5iJGlaBEQ9LzCKdRq8e4dtrkwg7s366kexternal image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcROls2M2VgKeOmPtR1PTWzZRbFO_2noCcTXcnVRyaPRuZbCscvUIQexternal image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT5pIeKSiNMlLwnnlSK3D2WiGqHOCm1A0sOVdVYYlU_SePu2KbnFA

Interdisciplinary Connections:

Science: Healthy Living
  • Eating fruits and vegetables
  • exercise
  • sleep
  • avoiding germs
  • body systems

external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS7EGTlL6JqamSwZj7-w_eTiix_XX-26oYVcfJymJXRC1eQ3nPn1A

    • Alphabet books
    • Author
    • Capitalization
    • Illustrator
    • Informational
    • Key details
    • Periods
    • Poems
    • Question marks
    • Questions
    • Research question
    • Shared research
    • Sort
    • Stories
    • Topic

Suggested Objectives:
    • Use pictures, illustrations, and details in a text to discern and describe key ideas.
    • Help shape research questions.
    • Gather information on a given topic.
    • Listen to one another in conversations and speak one at a time.
    • Capitalize names, places, and dates.
    • Punctuate sentences correctly with a period and question mark.
    • Perform poetry as a choral reading.
Sample Activities:
    • Reading Literature, Speaking and Listening

      As you read the book Tomas and the Library Lady, pause periodically and encourage students to ask questions. By using “I wonder” as the beginning of the question, have students predict what is coming next in the story and clarify understanding. Use sticky notes or whiteboards to keep each child engaged in the questioning. (RL.1.1)

      Informative Writing, Research

      Using the ABC books as a model, generate some ideas for writing a class ABC book. Work together as a class to come up with potential research questions. Begin by asking questions such as, “Is it possible to create an ABC book with Games to Play as our title?” Allow the class to give some ideas (e.g., names, authors, books, plants, insects). After ideas have been shaped into a research question, allow the children to vote on a theme for the class ABC book. Once the theme is chosen, gather information from a variety of texts and digital resources for each letter of the alphabet. Decide on a design for the book. Assign each student a letter in the book. Each page should include an upper and lower case letter, the key word, an illustration, and a sentence using the key word. Be sure to have them follow rules for spelling and punctuating correctly. (SL.1.1, W.1.7, W.1.2, W.1.8, L.1.1 a, L.1.1j, L.1.2b, L.1.2d, L.1.2e, RF.1.1a)

      Language Mechanics, Speaking and Listening

      Introduce the writing of declarative and interrogative sentences by focusing on an informational ABC book, such as Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z (Lois Ehlert). On a chart, write a question such as “What is your favorite fruit?” Teach the students to answer the question with a complete declarative response, such as “My favorite fruit is a strawberry.” Discuss the end punctuation. Continue this activity to teach the expansion of sentences to include details, such as “Strawberries are my favorite fruit because they are juicy, sweet, and delicious.” (L.1.1j, L.1.2b, W.1.5, SL.1.6)

      Informative Writing, Language Mechanics

      Give students this prompt: “Children should eat healthy foods, exercise, and take care of their bodies. Name one way to stay healthy. Supply some facts about the topic you chose and provide closure at the end of your writing.” As students write, watch closely that they focus on just one way to stay healthy and that they compose an essay supported by facts. Encourage students to write complete sentences and to use the correct end punctuation. (W.1.2, L.1.1j, L.1.2b)

      Reading Informational Text, Speaking and Listening

      Tell the students that just because books are called “ABC books” does not mean they are always easy to understand. Therefore, to understand them, we have to be willing to ask questions and to think deeply and look for key details. Tell the students that they are going to look at The Graphic Alphabet. Using a document camera for viewing this book would be helpful. On each page, there is a letter, but there is something more going on than just that letter. Look at A. Have the students ask questions about the page and try to answer them (e.g., “Why is the letter A crumbling? Could the letter be a mountain? Is that an avalanche?”). As you go through the book and throughout the unit, introduce the new vocabulary. (RI.1.1, RI.1.7, L.1.1j, SL.1.2)

      Reading Literature, Reading Informational Text, Reading Poetry, Speaking and Listening

      Throughout this unit, students read from a variety of texts: stories, poems, and informational texts. When you have a ten-minute block, play “I Spy” with the children (e.g., “I spy an informational book,” “I spy a nonfiction book”). The students then have to guess which book you are looking at in the display of unit books. (RL.1.5, L.1.1)

      Reading Poetry, Reading Fluency, Performance

      The theme of the poetry in this unit is the love of books and language. By visually displaying the poems (i.e., an interactive whiteboard, document camera, overhead projector, or chart paper), students will review sight words and see the way the poem is written (i.e., with lines and stanzas). Using a poem such as “Good Books, Good Times!” (Lee Bennett Hopkins) or “How to Eat a Poem” (Eve Merriam), encourage the students to read with you repeatedly and to ask questions until they understand the poem. Poetry is easily transformed into choral reading (reciting) by highlighting lines from one punctuation mark to the next, and then assigning groups to read those highlighted sections. (SL.1.2, RF.1.4)

      Art, Speaking and Listening

      Look at Children’s Games by Pieter Bruegel. Ask the students to study it closely for a few minutes and write down any questions they have about what they see. When the time is up, have them ask their questions. As the students begin to ask questions aloud, write all of the questions on a chart (e.g., “What are they doing? Is that like a hula hoop? Was this painted a long time ago? . . .”). Talk about the value of asking questions and how we begin to open our minds to think deeply about something. (The painting was done in the sixteenth century, and the artist was perhaps trying to show all of the games he knew. You may want to note the few toys children had—sticks, hoops, etc.) (SL.1.2)

Online Resources:

Sample Block:
  • Familiar Reading (15 min)
  • Circle Time/Modeled Writing (15 min)
  • Shared Reading (20 min)
  • Small Group Assisted Learning (20 min for each group)
  • Phonemic Awareness (10 min)
  • Litter Identification/Sound Work (20 min)
  • Read Aloud (15 min)
  • Writing (40 min)

Sight Words
FRY LIST http://www.uniqueteachingresources.com/Fry-1000-Instant-Words.html
The expectation for first grade is for students to learn the first 200 words by the end of the year.


Interdisciplinary Connections:

  • This unit teaches:
    • Art: Pieter Bruegel (Children’s Games)
    • Science: Healthy living (e.g., eating fruits and vegetables, exercise, sleep, avoiding germs)

    This unit could be extended to teach:
    • Science: Healthy living (e.g., body systems, Jenner, Pasteur)

Terminology for Teachers:

Choral Reading: http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/choral_reading/
Conventional Spelling: dictionary spelling of words.
Phonetic Spelling: students use invented spelling that follows general phonics rules
Research questions: Questions asked about a topic under investigation
Shared research: Research done together as a class or small group
Informational text/nonfiction: Writings that convey factual information and are not primarily works of the creative imagination