Lessons & Units :: The Dot 1st Grade Unit

Read-Aloud Lesson: The Dot

Lesson Plan

The Dot | AD500L

The Dot
Learning Goal
Track changes in the main character’s behavior to infer changes in her state of mind, and then discuss why her behavior changes.
Necessary Materials
Provided:
  1. Detailed lesson plan
  2. Graphic organizer for guided practice
  3. Independent student worksheet

Not Provided:
The Dot
 
  1. 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."
       
  2. Suggested teacher language is included in the lesson.

  3. We recommend you read the book once to your students, either the day or morning before teaching the lesson.

  4. 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
 
Teacher says: What could happen to someone who picks up a marker and makes a dot on a piece of paper? Let’s find out.
 
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.
1.
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.
2.
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.
3.
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.
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!’”
5.
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.”
Read more
 
Read pages 7-9 out loud, then stop. Page 9 ends with, “‘...sign my name.’”
6.
Teacher asks (displaying illustration on page 10): What does Vashti do to the paper with the dot?
 
Students answer: Vashti signs the paper.
7.
Teacher asks: What is Vashti thinking as she signs the paper?
 
Students answer (wording may vary but should resemble the following): Vashti thinks, “Maybe I can’t draw, but I can sign my name.”
 
Read pages 10-16 out loud, then stop. Page 16 ends with, “...in many colors.”
8.
Teacher asks: What is Vashti painting?
 
Students answer: Responses may vary in their specificity. At minimum, students should recognize that Vashti is painting dots.
9.
Teacher says: Now that we know what Vashti is doing, let’s figure out why she is doing it. There are some clues in the pages we just read.
10.
Teacher asks: When Vashti walks into art class the week after making a dot on a piece of paper with a marker, she sees something hanging above her teacher’s desk. What does she see?
 
Students answer: Responses may vary in their specificity. At minimum, students should identify the dot Vashti drew as what she sees hanging above her teacher’s desk. They may provide details, such as the swirly gold frame around the dot.
11.
Teacher asks: What does Vashti say after she sees the dot hanging above her teacher’s desk?
 
Students answer (wording may vary but should resemble the following): “I can make a better dot than THAT!”
12.
Teacher asks: Next Vashti opens a set of watercolor paints that she has never used before and starts painting dots. Why might she want to paint so much all of a sudden?
 
Students answer (responses may vary and include the following):
  • Vashti wants to paint because she thinks she can make a better dot than the one she made with a marker.
  • Vashti wants to paint because she has seen her dot hanging above her teacher’s desk.
  • Vashti wants to paint because she has become interested in making good art.
 
Read pages 17-20 out loud, then stop. Page 20 ends with, “...quite a splash.” Take particular care to display the illustration on page 18, so students see how Vashti “made a dot by NOT painting a dot.”
13.
Teacher says: “To make a splash” means to attract a lot of attention. At the school art show, Vashti’s dots got a lot of attention.
 
Read pages 21-23 out loud, then stop. Page 23 ends with, “...drew his line.”
14.
Teacher asks: Who talks to Vashti at the art show?
 
Students answer: A little boy talks to Vashti at the art show.
15.
Teacher asks: What does the boy say about Vashti?
 
Students answer: He says that Vashti is a really great artist.
16.
Teacher asks: The boy wishes he could draw, but he tells Vashti that he can’t even draw a straight line with a ruler. What does Vashti do after the boy tells her that?
 
Students answer: Responses may vary but should reflect the text. Examples include the following:
  • Vashti gives the boy a blank sheet of paper and tells him to show her.
  • Vashti tells the boy to draw a line on a blank sheet of paper.
  • Vashti gives the boy a blank sheet of paper. (If only this response is given, follow up by asking students what Vashti tells the boy to do with the paper.)
 
Finish reading the story.
17.
Teacher asks: Vashti stares at the boy’s squiggle, or curvy line. Then she tells him to do something. What does she tell him to do?
 
Students answer: Vashti tells the boy to sign his squiggle.
18.
Teacher asks: Think about what happened after Vashti was told by her teacher to sign the dot she made with a marker. Why might Vashti now be telling the boy to sign his squiggle?
 
Students answer (responses may vary and include the following):
  • Vashti might be trying to help the boy in the same way that her teacher helped her.
  • Vashti might be trying to help the boy realize that he actually can draw.
  • Vashti might be trying to make the boy into a better artist.
 

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.
1.
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.
2.
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.
3.
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.
4.
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.
5.
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. . . .”
Read more
6.
Teacher asks: The next week, Vashti sees her dot hanging above her teacher’s desk. Then Vashti opens her never-before-used set of watercolors and starts to paint. What does Vashti paint?
 
Students answer: Vashti paints dots.
7.
Teacher asks: Why does Vashti start painting?
 
Students answer (responses may vary and include the following):
  • Vashti starts painting because she thinks she can make a better dot than the one she made with a marker.
  • Vashti starts painting because she has seen her dot hanging above her teacher’s desk.
  • Vashti starts painting because she has become interested in making good art.
8.
Teacher asks: At the school art show, Vashti meets a little boy who says that he can’t draw. Vashti gives the boy a blank sheet of paper and tells him to do something. What does she tell him to do?
 
Students answer (wording may vary but should resemble the following): Vashti tells the boy to draw a line.
9.
Teacher asks: After the boy makes a squiggle, Vashti tells him to do something else to the paper. What does Vashti tell the boy to do?
 
Students answer: Vashti tells the boy to sign his drawing.
10.
Teacher asks: Why might Vashti have asked the boy to draw a line and then sign his drawing?
 
Students answer (responses may vary and include the following):
  • Vashti might be trying to help the boy in the same way that her teacher helped her.
  • Vashti might be trying to help the boy realize that he actually can draw.
  • Vashti might be trying to make the boy into a better artist.
 
After the answers for the graphic organizer have been completed and discussed with the class, ask the following two extension questions.
 
Teacher asks: At the end of the story, does Vashti still think she can’t draw? Explain why or why not, using information from the book.
 
Students answer: Responses may vary, as long as they are supported by the book. For example, students may respond that by the end of the story, Vashti no longer thinks that she cannot draw. Her art has gotten a lot of attention—from being hung above her teacher’s desk to making a splash at the school art show—and that attention has given her confidence and determination to improve. On the other hand, students may also argue that Vashti may still think she can't draw as she has learned to paint instead.
 
Teacher asks: What might have caused Vashti’s attitude, or feelings, about art to change between the beginning and the end of the story? Support your answer with information from the book.
 
Students answer: Responses may vary, as long as they are supported by the story. For example, students may respond that the actions of Vashti’s teacher caused Vashti’s attitude to change. By challenging Vashti to make a mark and then hanging her dot in a gold frame, the teacher caused Vashti to take an interest in making art. Alternatively, students may respond that Vashti’s desire for self-improvement changed her attitude toward art. When she saw her dot hanging on the wall, she realized she could do better. That realization made her actually try to do better.
 

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.

Texts & Materials

Standards Alignment

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User Comments

I taught a lesson using The Dot. The students loved the story. This site is truly a blessing for all teachers especially new teachers like myself.

This is actually one of the First Grade stories covered in the second six weeks. This is great !

My daughter, who is getting her masters in education suggested this site to me when I told her I was tutoring a first grade girl who needs to work on her reading comprehension. I am excited to try The Dot and see how it goes.