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Find more Unpacking a Standard
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.2. Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
12 Days of New York. ByTonya Bolden. Illus. by Gilbert Ford. 2013. 32p. Abrams, $17.95 (9781419705427). 811. K–Gr. 2.
This would be a fun story-in-verse to retell by acting and singing. Students could choose one day on which to focus and conduct basic research about each of the places or items presented. They could print pictures to use as visuals or speak about what the characters saw. Finally, they can come together and retell the activities of the day in their own words. Instead of just saying, “On the second day in New York, they saw two people kissing,” they could share what they learned about Central Park and the famous horse carriages that travel around there.
Lullaby (for a Black Mother). By Langston Hughes. Illus. by Sean Qualls.
2013. 32p. Harcourt, $16.99 (9780547362656). 811. PreS–K.
Write out the full version of the title poem on a big board or chart. As students listen to each stanza, have them illustrate the images that appear in their minds. Then, using their own pictures, have them retell the lullaby. Finally, show them the illustrator’s interpretation of the Hughes’ poem. Remind students that the author and illustrator are two different people, and explain that what the students just did (visually interpret an author’s work) is what an illustrator does.
Motherbridge of Love. By Xinran and others. Illus. by Josee Masse. 2007. 32p. Barefoot, $16.99 (9781846860478). 895.1. PreS–Gr. 2.
After reading this illustrated poem about the love a child receives from both her birth mother and her adoptive mother, have students generate a list of the strongest feelings that they felt themselves as they listened to the words. What does the author want the reader to understand about different forms of love?
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.2. Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
Cat Talk. By Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest. Illus. by Barry Moser. 2013. 32p. Amistad/Katherine Tegen, $17.99 (9780060279783). 811. PreS–Gr. 2.
Have students select one of the poem’s in Cat Talk, and give them a paper copy of it that they can mark up. Next, have them read through the poem and highlight the words that they feel are most important to the poem’s meaning. Using those words, have students create a short summary of the poem.
Forest Has a Song. By Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. Illus. by Robbin Gourley. 2013. 40p. Clarion, $16.99 (9780618843497). 811. K–Gr. 3.
After reading VanDerwater’s poems aloud to students without sharing the titles, hand paper copies of selected poems to students. Then, have students work in small groups to choose a short phrase that summarizes the poem and could serve as its title. Finally, have students share why they chose that title based on what they found in the poem. Compare and contrast the students’ choices with the actual titles.
Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More! Poems for Two Voices. By Carole Gerber. Illus. by Eugene Yelchin. 2013. 32p. Holt, $17.99 (9780805092110). 811. Gr. 2–4.
Each poem in this picture-book collection is written as if two plants or insects are talking to each other. Working in pairs, students can choose one poem, read it together, and then determine who or what is the narrator. Then, have students determine which action or event the author is trying to convey, based on the comments of the two characters. If time permits, have students research the actual scientific process that the poem refers to.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
Grumbles from the Forest. By Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich. Illus. by Matt Mahurin. 2013. 48p. Boyds Mills/Wordsong, $16.95 (9781590788677). 811. Gr. 4–6.
These poems are written in the voices of various characters from famous fairy tales. The thoughts and tones conveyed are often very different than those in the original versions of the tales, with which most readers will be familiar. Have students read the poems to determine what the character is trying to share with the reader. Which particular words help the reader know the tone or idea that is being portrayed? What is it that the author is trying to get the reader to recognize about the character?
When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders. By J. Patrick Lewis. Illus. by Jim Burke. 2013. 44p. Chronicle, $16.99 (9781452101194). Gr. 4–7. 811.
In this beautiful collection, poems introduce various civil rights leaders, while additional information about the featured individuals is appended. The introduction explains that the poems’ subjects are people who stood up for what was right, even in very difficult times and situations. Read the introductory poem aloud, and have students discuss its meaning. Then, have students look at each individual’s poem, and select words that describe how that person exemplifies the qualities discussed in the introductory poem and why.
Words with Wings. By Nikki Grimes. 2013. 96p. Boyds Mills/Wordsong, $15.95 (9781590789858). Gr. 3–6.
Before students dive into Grimes’ whole book, read aloud the title poem, “Words with Wings.” Have students discuss the central idea behind this poem. Then, have them decide why the author would use this particular poem as a title for the book. As students begin to read the story, have them record textual evidence to support why they think that Gabriella needs her “flying words” and daydreams. Finally, they can ask themselves if there are any situations in their own lives that make them wish that they could escape through daydreams.
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