This lesson is a close reading of the entire text. So it’s important to engage students often, to enhance their learning. Here are two tips:
When you ask the more complex questions from the lesson, ask students to “turn-and-talk” or “buddy-talk” before answering.
Once you are deep into the lesson, instead of asking students every question provided, ask them to share with you what questions they should be asking themselves at that point in the text. This is also a great opportunity to use "turn-and-talk."
Suggested teacher language is included in the lesson.
We recommend you read the book once to your students, either the day or morning before teaching the lesson.
This research-based, read-aloud lesson may seem long. Why do students need the lesson to be this way?
Part 1: Teacher Modeling and Questioning
Write the student-friendly learning goal on the board, then read the learning goal out loud with the class:
We will pay attention to the different things the main character does throughout the story. As we do, we will use that information to figure out what the main character is thinking.
Transition Students into the Text
Read pages 1-4 out loud, then stop. Page 4 ends with, “‘I just CAN’T draw!’” Show students the accompanying illustrations. If possible, always show students the illustrations on the pages you read throughout the lesson.
Teacher asks: What is the name of the girl sitting in a chair after art class?
Students answer: The name of the girl is Vashti.
Teacher asks: There is a piece of paper on the desk at which Vashti is sitting. What is on the piece of paper?
Students answer: Nothing is on the piece of paper.
Teacher asks: Vashti’s teacher jokes that the blank paper looks like a polar bear in a snow storm. What does Vashti say after the teacher makes that joke?
Students answer (both of the following are acceptable):
- “Very funny!”
- “I just CAN’T draw.” (make sure this response is given before moving on)
If students struggle to remember Vashti’s responses, reread page 4.
Teacher says (models thinking): Remember that our goal for this lesson is to pay attention to what Vashti does and figure out what she is thinking. Right now she is sitting at a desk with a blank sheet of paper in front her, saying that she cannot draw. Based on this information, I am going to conclude that Vashti thinks that she is not a very good artist.
Read pages 5 and 6 out loud, then stop. Page 6 ends with, “‘There!’”
Teacher asks: We just read that Vashti gives the paper a jab with the marker. What does the word “jab” mean? Before you answer, look at the picture, and listen as I reread the sentence. “Vashti grabbed a marker and gave the paper a good, strong jab.” Based on these clues, what does “jab” mean?
Students answer: Students should infer that “jab” means something like “poke” or “push.”
Part 2: Guided Practice and Discussion
For this oral lesson, it is suggested to have the completed graphic organizer on the board with the answers concealed. After students provide a correct answer, reveal the corresponding answer on the graphic organizer. Because the number of acceptable answers to some questions is so high, listing them all in the teacher version of the graphic organizer is impractical. The answers provided in some of the fields there are meant to be examples of the many possible responses.
Teacher asks: What is Vashti doing when we meet her at the beginning of the story?
Students answer (responses may vary but should resemble the following): Vashti is sitting at a desk with a blank sheet of paper on it.
Teacher asks: Vashti’s teacher tells her to make a mark. What does Vashti do next?
Students answer (responses may vary but should resemble the following): Vashti grabs a marker and gives the paper a jab.
Teacher asks: What does Vashti think about her ability to draw as she sits in her chair and jabs the blank paper with a marker?
Students answer (responses may vary but should resemble the following): Vashti thinks she can’t draw.
Teacher asks: After Vashti makes the dot, her teacher tells her to do something to the paper. What does Vashti do to the paper?
Students answer: Vashti signs the paper.
Teacher asks: What is Vashti thinking as she signs the paper?
Students answer: Vashti thinks, “Maybe I can’t draw, but I can sign my name.”
If students struggle to remember Vashti’s thought, reread pages 8 and 9. Page 8 begins with, “She pushed the paper toward Vashti. . . .”
Part 3: Student Independent Practice
Read each question out loud to your students and have each student complete the worksheet independently. For questions 5 A) and 6, you can have students draw their answers, answer orally, or write their answers depending on your students’ progress. If you have them write their answers, you may want to write the word(s) on the board for them to copy. Question 7 is a class discussion question.