This week my third graders are reading The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush and discussing characteristics of legends, theme, character traits, and more. I love using this story because it hits on so many different standards. I like to read it at the end of the year as a culminating unit that hits on many different topics. It helps to review and solidify what we've learned this year! And it's a fantastic story that my students consistently enjoy. You can check out my full unit on the text at my TPT store, here (PS- now's a good time to stock up on all of those items on your wishlist from TPT! We're having a sitewide sale!).
There are specific strategies for introducing a new text to ELL students that can set them up for success. In my classroom, we preview vocabulary together, identify what we're looking for in a text (in this case, characteristics of a legend) and do a picture walk of the text and discuss it using the vocabulary words we have focused on.
We started this week with our "must know" vocabulary from the story, working together to make motions for the words and then completing a vocabulary four square activity. We reviewed what a legend is with an anchor chart and interactive notebook pages, then quickly added the other vocabulary words and pictures to our word wall to reference later.
**The students I am using this unit with are at an average of level 3 of language development, so the must know words were the most appropriate for them to focus on. With a different group of students, I would have differentiated which words I wanted us to focus on and which ones we could simply identify.
Characteristics of Legends
We have already done a unit on folktales this year, so this is more of a quick review than a full lesson. We read the anchor chart together, then students complete a simple cloze passage in their notebook. We add a "cover flap" so that they can practice answering the question "What is a legend?" and then read underneath to check their answer. This sets students up for success as we read the text and discuss why it is considered a legend.
Finally, we preview the text by flipping through the pictures and discussing what we see related to the vocabulary we have learned. My students noticed the bow and arrow, the shaman, the sunset and evening, and more. Now they have more background knowledge as well as extra practice with the vocabulary words as we move into reading the text together.
How do your prepare students for success with a new text in your classroom?