The Trumpet of the Swan THINK ALOUD technique
I keep the OWL questions in mind throughout the chapters and the days. I seldom cover each question on one day, but I do use the vocabulary, I observe, I wonder, This links to me.... .
To teach the children how to interact with text and to think about their thinking, I decided to read The Trumpet of the Swan, written by E.B. White aloud. After each chapter, I am going to think-aloud about the chapter. First read the title and the book jacket or back cover (or both). THINK ALOUD: "I wonder who Louis is. I wonder if Louis is the trumpeter swan. How did Sam Beaver and the swans start talking to each other?"
Read Chapter 1's title: SAM. THINK ALOUD: "Oh the back cover said that Sam agrees to help. I wonder if Sam is the boy on the cover.
Read Chapter 1 just the first page then revisit the first paragraph.
THINK ALOUD: Reread the beginning: "Walking back to camp through the swamp, Sam wondered whether to tell his father what he had seen. "I know one thing," he said to himself. "I'm going to that little pond again tomorrow. And I'd like to go alone. If I tell my father what I saw today, he will want to go with me. I'm not sure that's a very good idea." THEN think aloud, "I am curious about why he doesn't want his dad to come."
Finish Chapter 1
THINK ALOUD: Hmmmmmm I wonder what is going to happen? I am a little bit interested in the story but not very interested. I am going to read more tomorrow. I observed that Sam likes to write things down because right here on page 5 it says, "On the day he found the swan's nest, this is what Sam wrote in his diary."
SIDE NOTE: Because this is the first time the kids are hearing a chapter book I am not going to start recording the swan facts yet. I am going to read three chapters then suggest to the class that we keep a class notebook about swans. Then I will reread chapters 1-3 skimming for facts and we'll record them on a notebook chart.
What book did we start yesterday? Does anyone remember who wrote the book? (E.B. White) Who did we read about? (Sam seeing a swan, not wanting to tell dad) Who is the main character? (Sam)
Read Chapter 2's title The Pond THINK ALOUD: I wonder if Sam is going to the pond alone or with his dad.
Read Chapter 2
THINK ALOUD: What didn't the swans know I wonder? I wonder if Sam's dad is following Sam and Sam doesn't know it? Do you think Sam should tell his dad? I am more interested in the book now. I wish we had more time to read another chapter.
Read Chapter 3's title A Visitor
THINK ALOUD: I wonder who the visitor is? I wonder if the guest is Sam because he sees the swans or maybe his dad might be spying on Sam. I wonder if the swans see Sam or Sam sees the swans --- maybe both are visitors.
Read Chapter 3
THINK ALOUD: My favorite part of this chapter was where the boy says he felt happy when he was in a wild place among the wild creatures. Sitting on his log, watching the swans, he had the same good feeling some people get when they are sitting in church. It reminds me of when I am at the beach in the summer, watching my two kids lay in the water and feeling the sun warming my skin.
Do you remember how the first chapter ended? Reread the last line from his journal: Why does a fox bark? I think the author is foreshadowing -hinting- about the trouble with the fox in this chapter.
Do Rivet for the word: Cygnets
The title of chapter 4 is The Cygnets
What is that? A newborn trumpeter swan. I wonder if we should keep track of the facts we are learning about trumpeter swans. Let's keep a list like Sam is. Brainstorm what we know so far.
If your students can't think of any, here are some pages. I would slow this way down and reread parts of the book. It isn't the point to only concentrate on the swan facts. We study animals and I like finding new facts about animals so I tie this into the book. This shouldn't be a distraction. If it bugs you don't do it.
page 2 -- first long paragraph
page 5 --- second line
page 8 --- last half of page
page 9-14 --- all of it
THINK ALOUD At this point I read the title and show wonder in my eyes saying, I bet cygnets are the baby trumpeter swans. Let's find out about those babies! I bet the mama is as excited as I was when I had my babies!
Read Chapter 4.
THINK ALOUD I wonder why Sam fell asleep wondering about what he would be when he grew up. I thought that he would think about those baby cygnets.
Read Chapter 5's title Louis.
THINK ALOUD I think that we are going to find out about Louis.
Read Chapter 5.
THINK ALOUD This reminds me of how my mom and dad treated me. They loved me even though I started talking at around age 7 or 8. Doctors said that I would not be able to read or talk. And here I am!
Read Chapter 6's title Off to Montana
and jump right into Reading Chapter 6.
THINK ALOUD I wonder if Sam will see the swans again? I wonder if Sam will ever tell his dad?
Read Chapter 7's title School Days
Read the chapter. (note to teachers --- This is a good chapter to lead into problem solving in math.)
THINK ALOUD I noticed that this class is unusual. It has a swan, the math lessons have more than one answer. The kids are reading big words like CATASTROPHE in first grade. (I would also use this chapter as a spring board for recording what happens in the classroom. Teachers could go and reread the journals that Sam has written and see if it tells an overview of the book.)
Read Chapter 8's title Love
Read the chapter
THINK ALOUD I wonder what cob was going to try and do? Why don't cob and the wife have names? The cob and wife want to fix Louis' problem. I think cob is going to do something but I don't know if it will be a good plan.
Read Chapters 9-11 continuing with making comments about the book.
Read Chapters 12-15
Read Chapters 16-18
Read Chapter 19
Read Chapter 20
Read Chapter 21