Southwest Children's Literature

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The Seed And The Giant Saguaro

In the classroom:
SUBJECT: Life Science, Language Arts
OVERVIEW: In this lesson students will learn about the writing process through brainstorming and then using ideas to create and illustrate a poem.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this lesson is to begin to learn the process, elements and applications of writing. This lesson involves life science, writing, and art techniques. Students will use the theme of the story as a background for their writing. They will learn a method of creating poetry and they will develop a piece of art based on their words.

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
1. Identify and describe various desert life and other aspects of the Sonoran Desert.
2. Organize ideas using simple webs.
3. Create a poem using descriptive words.
4. Create an illustration that represents the action of their poetry.

Standards Taken from the TUSD Core Curriculum Web Site
Life Science
Life Cycles
o Understand the relationships among various organisms and their environment. (1-S4-C3)
PO 1. Identify some plants and animals that exist in the local environment.
Organisms and Environments
o Understand the relationships among various organisms and their environment. (1-S4-C3)
PO 1. Identify some plants and animals that exist in the local environment.
Language Arts-
Writing Process
o Prewriting includes using strategies to generate, plan, and organize ideas for specific purposes. (1-W1-C1)
PO 1. Generate ideas through prewriting activities (e.g., brainstorming, webbing, drawing, writer's notebook, group discussion).
PO 2. Draw a picture or storyboard about ideas generated.
PO 3. Organize ideas using simple webs, maps, or lists.
PO 4. Discuss the purpose for a writing piece.
PO 5. Discuss who the intended audience of a writing piece will be.
o Drafting incorporates prewriting activities to create a first draft containing necessary elements for a specific purpose. (1-W1-C2)
PO 1. Write a draft (e.g., story, caption, letter, observations, message).
o Revising includes evaluating and refining the rough draft for clarity and effectiveness. (Ask: Does this draft say what
you want it to say?) (1-W1-C3)
PO 1. Reread original draft for clarity.
PO 2. Add additional details with prompting.
o Publishing involves formatting and presenting a final product for the intended audience. (1-W1-C5)
PO 1. Rewrite and illustrate selected pieces of writing for sharing with intended audience.
PO 2. Write legibly.

Writing Elements
Ideas and Content
o Writing is clear and focused, holding the reader's attention throughout. Main ideas stand out and are developed by strong support and rich details. Purpose is accomplished. (1-W2-C1)
PO 1. Write stand-alone text that expresses a clear message.
PO 2. Incorporate details in pictures and text.
Word Choice
o Word choice reflects the writer's use of specific words and phrases to convey the intended message and employs a variety of words that are functional and appropriate to the audience and purpose. (1-W2-C4)
PO 1. Select words that convey a clear, general meaning.
PO 2. Use a variety of words, even if not spelled correctly, to convey the intended message.
PO 3. Use expressive or descriptive phrases and short sentences, beyond one- or two-word labels.
Writing Applications
o Expressive writing includes personal narratives, stories, poetry, songs, and dramatic pieces. Writing may be based on real or imagined events. (1-W3-C1)
PO 2. Participate in writing simple poetry, rhymes, songs, or chants.
Performance Conditions: Students at this stage of proficiency relate short messages and stories by drawing and writing short phrases and simple sentences.

Book The Seed and the Giant Saguaro by Jennifer Ward
Overhead Projector

Poem outline handout
Handout for poem illustrations
Pictures of various desert life and other aspects of the Sonoran Desert
Poster paper for webbing

1. Introductory Set
What do we know about the desert? What types of plants and animals live in the desert. What is the climate like? Does it rain in the desert?

When you teach this lesson: Be sure to tell the children what they're going to accomplish today (the objectives) before you go on to the input.

2. Objective/purpose
*Students will identify and describe various desert life and other aspects of the Sonoran Desert.
*Students will organize ideas using simple webs.
*Students will communicate what they know and have learned about the desert through the creation of a descriptive poem.
* Students will revise original draft for clarity and add additional details with prompting.
* Students will publish by rewriting legibly and illustrating.
*Students create an illustration based on their poem.

3. Input -
* Begin the activity by reading the book The Seed and the Giant Saguaro by Jennifer Ward. What do you notice about the book? (It is a poem) What are some of the descriptive words the author used to describe some of the animals?
* After reading the book. Discuss aspects of the desert. Ask what the students know about desert life and climate.
* Use literature for background information; to gain a better understanding of life in the Sonoran Desert.
* Discuss the book's format. Is it poetic? Does all poetry have to rhyme?
* Brainstorm characteristics of each aspect of the desert mentioned in the book.

4. Modeling
Model steps
*prewriting with a web brainstorm
*produce a class poem using information from the brainstorm on transparency to show on the overhead projector

5. Check for Understanding
Review process and reason for webbing ideas to create a poem.

6. Guided Practice
* Break into groups to help each other complete their webs and create their own poems.
* Remind students their job is to think of words to describe their character. They may talk with their group members to help get ideas for words.
Teachers will support students as they create descriptive poems and art work.

7. Independent Practice - or Homework
Students who have not completed their work can do so in their free time.

8. Closure
Discuss publishing the students' work on the Southwest Children's Literature Web Site.

The students' poems, their illustrations, and class discussion serve as assessments for this lesson.

Teachers may also read or invite students to read additional stories on the Sonoran Desert using other Arizona literature such as The Cactus Hotel by Brenda Z. Guiberson and One Day in the Desert by Jean Craighead George and make connections between the stories.

Students can create a desert sensory poem using the five senses -- sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. Tell them that they must address one sense in each line of the poem. The first line should include a color, and the last may include touch or emotion. You may allow students to put the other lines in any order they choose.
The teachers will provide individual support to students with language or other special needs during the poem creation portion of this lesson.

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