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Coteaching Reading Comprehension Strategies in Elementary School Libraries: Maximizing Your Impact

Chapter 9: Synthesizing: Emerging Lesson

Photo of Cass and Judi conducting a think-aloud

This lesson was field tested by kindergarten teacher Cass Peregrina, art instructor Tracy Lynn Ross, and Judi Moreillon, serving in the role of teacher-librarian. This photograph shows Cass and Judi conducting a think-aloud as they discuss their individual responses to van Gogh's painting of "Sunflowers." Students were invited to make their own responses after educator modeling.

The educators conducted this unit of study in the library, the classroom, and the art room. They team taught most of the components of the lesson. The teacher-librarian was not present when the students composed their class letter to Vincent van Gogh. That piece had been planned for a day when the educators determined that students' attention spans were not sufficient to sustain a long instructional period.

Flexibility is key!

Vincent van Gogh's "Sunflowers" Painting

From the Vincent van Gogh Gallery


Claire's Painting
CJ's painting
Jona's painting
Jaden's painting
Students' Sunflower Paintings Created in the Art Room

Students' letter to van Gogh

This is an excerpt from students' shared writing letter to Vincent van Gogh.

Adaptation 1

Due to the fact that these kindergarten students were new to formal schooling, the educators determined they were not ready to write three facts and record three responses. Instead, we asked them to dictate one fact and offer one response. It is important that educators adapt lessons and units of instruction to meet the needs of the students in their charge.

Adaptation 2

When responding to their paintings, students spontaneously imitated the print in Vincent's Colors. This book has excerpts of van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo in which he writes about the colors in his paintings. This was an ideal way for students to demonstrate the connections they were making between texts (synthesis), and it assessed their ability to determine the main ideas in their paintings. Hurray for the children!

AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner:

  • Read, view, and listen for information presented in any format (e.g., textual, visual, media, digital) in order to make inferences and gather meaning. (1.1.6)
  • Continue an inquiry-based research process by applying critical-thinking skills (analysis, synthesis, evaluation, organization) to information and knowledge in order to construct new understandings, draw conclusions, and create new knowledge. (2.1.1)
  • Organize knowledge so it is useful. (2.1.2)
  • Use creative and artistic formats to express personal learning. (4.1.8)

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Launched: March 2007
Updated: 5 June 2013