Lesson 2: Retelling a Life
- Learning Goal
- Retell the events in the life of a main character.
- 2 Days (40 minutes for each class)
- Necessary Materials
Provided: Michael Jordan Timeline Handout, Determining Importance: Excerpts from Chapters 1-3, Amelia’s Summarizing Sentence Strips for Direct Teaching Timeline, Example Timelines Chart, Amelia’s Early Years Handout, Amelia’s Busy Years Worksheet (Student Packet, page 11), Amelia’s Busy Years Timeline (Student Packet, page 12)
Not Provided: Chart paper, markers, scissors, tape, Lost Star: The Story of Amelia Earhart by Patricia Lauber
Before the Lesson
Read Chapter 4: “What Next?” – Chapter 6: “Busy Years;” Complete Student Packet Worksheets for Chapters 4-6
Activation & Motivation
I will explain that as a class, we are going to dissect a timeline. A timeline is a helpful visual that organizes the sequence of important events in the order in which they happened in a person’s life. We are going to look at the timeline of a famous person’s life, to better understand what we can learn from it and how it can help us understand a person better.
I will distribute a Michael Jordan Timeline Handout. Note: Modify the main character of the timeline based on your students’ interests. Together, we will use the Timeline to discuss and answer the following questions: What does this timeline show us? When does the timeline start? When does the timeline finish? What kind of events are on the timeline? What does this timeline tell us about this person’s life?
will explain that when I am reading, it is helpful to retell the important events in a story in the sequence in which they happened. This will help me remember what happened in the story and when. Since I am reading about a character’s life in a biography, I want to retell the important events in the life of our main character—Amelia Earhart. To retell the important events in Amelia’s life, I need to first distinguish these important events and then place them on a timeline.
When deciding which events from a biography belong on a timeline, it is essential that I focus on the important events, not the minor details or anecdotes. For example, when Michael Jordan made his first slam dunk, it was an important moment in his life. On the other hand, many of the slam dunks that he made after that were not as important. I would not include every slam dunk that he made on a timeline.
I will model determining important events to record on a timeline from Chapters 1-3 of Lost Star. I will read aloud excerpts from the book (which can also be found on Determining Importance: Excerpts from Chapters 1-3). For example, the first excerpt I will read is about Amelia’s famous last flight. I can determine that this is definitely important enough to go onto the timeline.
The next excerpt I will read is Amelia’s earliest childhood memory from the first paragraph of Chapter 2: “Good Times.” While being scolded for jumping the fence impacted Amelia, it is not a benchmark in her history. It is not an event to be placed on a timeline, but instead a memorable anecdote. I will not include this event on my timeline. I will continue reading excerpts from Lost Star and identifying important timeline events. Note: See Determining Importance: Excerpts from Chapters 1-3 for additional excerpts.
I will create a timeline on the board with yarn or chalk by reviewing the events I have chosen as important timeline events in Amelia’s life, and I will rewrite the excerpts as concise summary sentences. For example, I will take the excerpt, “Their first daughter was born in Atchinson . . .” and retell it on my timeline as, “Amelia was born on July 24, 1897 in Atchinson, Kansas.” I will have already prepared these sentences on note cards or large sticky notes. Note: See Amelia’s Summarizing Sentence Strips for Direct Teaching Timeline for sample retellings.
I will tape the cards that I have chosen as important to my timeline in sequence. I will make sure that I put them in the order of her life, not necessarily in the order presented in the book. For example, I know that the events in Chapter 1 happened at the end of her life, so that index card will go at the end of her timeline. When I know the date that an event occurred, I will include it on the timeline. If I do not know the date that an event occurred, I will be careful to put the events in order using context clues from the text. Note: See Example Timelines Chart for a sample timeline.
Finally, I will look back over my timeline and use it to retell the childhood of Amelia Earhart aloud, using only the important events I’ve selected in sequence.
Ask, "How can I retell the events in the life of the main character in a biography?" Students should answer that you can identify the important events in the character’s life and differentiate them from anecdotes. Then, you put them in chronological order using a timeline. You can use the timeline to retell the main character’s story.
will continue to sequence events in Amelia’s life by writing important events from Amelia’s path to becoming a famous pilot on index cards and taping them onto our timeline.
We will read excerpts from Chapter 4: “What Next?” on the Amelia’s Early Years Handout. We will determine whether the events are important enough to go on our timeline. For example, we will include her decision to drop out of school and become a military nurse from 1917-8 (p. 27), but we will exclude the day she went with her friend to see the exhibition of stunt flying with her friend (p. 28) as it is not a detail that belongs on the timeline. We will take the remaining important events and add them to the timeline in order. Note: See the Example Timelines Chart for a sample timeline.
Finally, we will retell Amelia’s early years aloud by using our timeline, highlighting only the important events in the order in which they occurred.
will retell the events of Amelia’s "Busy Years" in Chapter 5: “The Road to Fame” and Chapter 6: “Busy Years” by selecting the important events in her aviation career, and numbering them in sequence on Amelia’s Busy Years Worksheet. (See Student Packet page 11.) You will then retell the excerpts that you determined to be important and place them in order on the Amelia’s Busy Years Timeline. (See Student Packet page 12.)
will come together and add the important events to the class timeline (Timeline that was started in the Direct Teaching and Guided Practice). We will discuss why they excluded some events and not others. We may continue to add to the timeline throughout the unit as we encounter other important events in Amelia’s life as we continue to read Lost Star.
(To see all of the ReadWorks lessons aligned to your standards, click here.)
Build Student Vocabulary impression
|Tier 2 Word: impression|
|Contextualize the word as it is used in the story||"Amelia went back to Boston hoping she had made the right impression."|
|Explain the meaning student-friendly definition)||An impression is a feeling or belief about someone or something. If someone has a good impression about you, it means they have a good feeling about you. In the book, Amelia is hoping to make the “right” impression with her interviewers so that she gets selected for the flight.|
|Students repeat the word||Say the word impression with me: impression.|
|Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts||I had a bad impression of my neighbor from the instant I saw him yelling at his dog: it gave me a bad feeling about him. The book we read about Jackie Robinson left a strong impression on me – I don’t think I’ll be forgetting that story anytime soon.|
|Students provide examples||If you are meeting a new teacher for the first time and want to make a good impression, what would you do? Students should say, “To make a good impression, I would ___________________________.”|
|Students repeat the word again.||What word are we talking about? impression|
|Additional Vocabulary Words||wry, volunteered, various, attractive, contemplating, splendidly, seized, fond|