Daugherty, S. Week 8: A reading and writing lesson based on Alexandra Day's CARL books.
Grade Level: Second Grade
Materials: Several Carl books. Students' Writer's Notebooks, sharpened pencils, crayons and pens, and construction paper. Also butcher block paper -- three large pieces, and marking pens for the teacher to write on the paper in front of the class.
Duration: Three days.
Pre-teaching: With students sitting with the teacher at the class room's rocking chair, the teacher should share several of the Carl books with the students, telling them the story of the beautiful, big Rottweiler dog who cares for his baby friend under different circumstances. The stories are told with pictures and very few words. Some suggestions: GOOD DOG CARL, CARL'S BIRTHDAY, CARL'S MASQUERADE, CARL GOES TO DAYCARE, CARL'S AFTERNOON IN THE PARK, FOLLOW CARL, and CARL'S CHRISTMAS.
Day One: The teacher informs the students that they will be exploring the parts that go into making up a story. Together, the teacher and students will make three posters, one with the word PLOT written on it in large letters, another with the word CHARACTERS written on it, and a third with the word SETTING written on it. With each poster, the teacher inquires of the students for suggestions for the meaning of each word, and writes down the suggestions of the students. After the teacher and the children have come up with about ten suggestions each, together, with the teacher's guidance, they can come up with a definition for each word. Use a different color of ink for each poster.
The definitions should be along the following lines:
Plot -- The events in a story told in the order they happen.
Characters -- Who the story happens to.
Setting -- Where the story happens.
These posters should be hung around the room for future reference.
Day Two: Have the students have their writer's notebooks and pencils out and ready to use. Their desks should be cleared of everything else. Choose one Carl book that the students really seemed to enjoy. Referencing the posters from yesterday, review the story for the book, and discuss what were the plot events, the characters and the setting information for the book. Have students turn to an empty page in their writer's notebooks and divide the page into three sections. Label one-section "Plot", another "Character", and the third "Setting". Assist the students in recording this information in their writer's notebooks.
Have them turn to another page and divide the page into the same three sections. Explain to the students that tomorrow they will be working in a group with another Carl book to find and record the same information.
Day Three: On day three, the teacher should begin with students sitting at the class rocking chair and by reviewing what are on the three posters. First, go through what a plot is, then characters, and then setting. After that, the students should return to their desks and be put into groups of three or four depending on the size of the class, and how many CARL books the teacher has. Currently there are eight published CARL books, widely available in bookstores and libraries.
Have the students open their writer's notebooks to the page they prepared yesterday. Together with their group members, direct the students to review their CARL book, then record the elements from each story that makes the plot, the characters and the settings in their individual writers notebooks. Student groups should then present to the class their book's information.
When the class has heard each group present, allow the students to use the information on plot, characters, and setting to individually compose a visual story on the construction paper, in the style of a comic book story, and display them around the classroom.