Making Curriculum Pop

During the conference session we attended with Pam Goble that introduced us to Media Circles, our group was intrigued by the educational opportunities that this could offer to our students. As literacy specialists working in elementary classrooms we all immodestly wondered what Media Circles would look like in a primary classroom setting and what potential benefits our students could receive from such instruction. There were several elements that we needed to slightly change in order to try this out with a primary grade. We first began by deciding on a grade to work with and decided on second grade for our project.

The first element that we needed to look more deeply into was the movie that we would use for our Media circles. Goble used the movie “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Story” in her example; this movie is a full length feature that’s run time is about 100 minutes long. Goble explained that she would work with the movie in clips and that the project would take a few class lessons in order to complete the entire movie. Though this seems very appropriate for older students, our group decided that it would be difficult to implement such a long movie with our younger 2nd graders. The students might have difficulty staying interested in a movie over a long period of time, while still following and remembering the plot of the story. We decided to try using short animated films to teach our Media Circles. We believed that this would be much more user-friendly for our students in several ways: They would be able to watch the movie several times in order to truly understand it (we decided to show the movie three times in class) and the animation and short length of the movie would be more likely to hold the children’s interest.

The second major element of the Media Circles that we felt we needed to revise was the jobs given to the students. The jobs that Goble presented to us were again geared toward older students. She made sure to create interesting jobs that would have the students pay attention to different elements of the movie as they watched. She had such jobs as: connector, economist, etymologist, fashion critique, scene master…etc. Though we agreed that these jobs were wonderful for older students we did think that we needed to create easier and more age-appropriate jobs for our 2nd graders. Goble did mention her interest in studying new jobs and their application with younger students, so this was a big part of our inspiration to start this project. Some of the jobs we chose were recurring from the jobs Goble presented to us originally like the questioner and the connector jobs. But we added on new jobs that would apply to our movie content and that the students could easily understand and work with. We came up with jobs like: fortune teller, scientist, looking through the eyes of the character…etc. We made sure that each job we chose for a certain movie would apply well to the content we wanted the students to learn from the movie.
When looking at our project as whole in relation to the presentation that inspired it all, it is clear that we tried to create a model for Media Circles that would apply to primary/elementary grade levels. We were really trying to see if this could even be done with younger students and if we felt that the students could benefit from such instruction. We were very pleased with our discoveries along and the way and will all be surely using Media Circles to instruct our students in the years to come.

Today youth’s are surrounded by IPods, cell phones, kindles and laptops. Media has made its way into millions of household around the globe and is continuing to grow. As media and multiple literacies becomes a significant facet children’s life, education need to embrace and reflect this movement in curriculum. When incorporating media into the classroom, educators need to begin by selecting films that meet state learning standards. As educators we need to draw a very clear connection to our work and show both the practicality and importance of this connection.

As a group of educators we began our study by reviewing Pixar short films collectively. It was determined that each member would be creating a lesson plan around a film and replicating Pam Goble’s work in Media circles. Each group member chose a film that they could envision using in multiple lessons, which could connect closely to one subject are or to a variety of content areas. Each lesson plan would additionally stand on the shoulders of the teaching and work that the students had completed thus far this academic year. Once the film selection was finalized, individually we pondered over as to the specific aspects of the film we wanted our students to hone in on. Once the key elements were highlighted, several graphic organizers were created that centered on one film, we had chosen.

Once the planning was complete, the lessons were implemented into a classroom. The goals of these lessons were to push our students to concentrate and develop theories about particular aspects of the film and connect it to their prior knowledge. Each teacher informed the students prior to commencing the lesson, that the entire class would be viewing a short film. The students were instructed that they would watch the film once to get a sense of the film and then the class would be viewing the film additional times however now groups of students would be concentrating their viewing on one area. After observing the film, students were asked to complete the graphic organizers. Once students had taken their notes, the teacher asked the students to discuss as a whole class their experience. Following the lesson, each educator reflected on the experience and possible modifications for future lessons. When synthesizing the work each teacher contemplated specific lessons that could be written connecting to other subject areas.

Our group was inspired by Pam Gobles presentation on Media Circles and loved the idea of student’s taking an active role in watching a film. We noticed that the kind of conversation that goes on during Media Circles is very similar to that of book clubs, something that most of our students are familiar with. We realized that the skills we teach in literacy using texts can also be taught using media.
Our goal was to create a collection of lessons using Media Centers to open up a new type of dialogue based around reading films. We felt that these lessons would teach our students how to look at film using different lenses while encouraging deeper understanding and higher-level thinking. Children are constantly exposed to media and we felt that it is important for them to see that film can be read and analyzed in the same ways books are. After participating in Media Circles we hope that our students look at film in a new way and are able to read them by making connections, predicting, questioning, and analyzing. We feel that Media Circles are a great component to literacy that can be used to enhance and develop students into becoming well –rounded readers and writers.

Creating Circles
➢ Will students be able to choose the Pixar film in which they choose to participate in?
➢ What roles will I have for the various groups?
➢ Will there is one film for the whole class or will each group be working on an individual film but have the roles remain the same for all groups?
➢ Which films will be more appropriate for my students, for my curriculum, or my planning?
➢ How many members in each group?

➢ How many roles per group?
➢ What roles will work best for this film or for the curriculum at hand?
➢ Will there be a subject area of focus?
➢ Will the roles pertain to one subject area? (Most of the roles discussed in this unit dealt with literacy.)
➢ How will I be able to assess student learning through these roles?

Using Media in the classroom
➢ Why use media in the classroom?
➢ Should these circles follow literature circles?
➢ What might the final culminating activity look like for each circle?
➢ Does there need to be an culminating activity?
➢ In what ways could you assess student learning of or through media?
➢ Will media circles be used to teach film or content/ subjects from the curriculum?
➢ Will media circles be used in correlation with subject area teaching?
➢ What might you use to address professionals who might not understand the usage or importance of such circles?

Please refer to the PDF file to view the Media Circle graphic organizers.


Experiment Reflection
Amy Roth
Film- Tin Toy
Prior to taking this course I had not (gasp) used a ton of media in my classroom. To begin this journey, I selected a short film by Pixar to focus my instruction on. I began planning by looking for a film that my students could see an obvious connection between literacy and media. This month my students are engaged in a unit of study in Readers’ Workshop that is centered on the idea of characters in series book. I decided that I would select the film Tin Toy, which contains very visible and relatable characters. My rational was that I wanted to enhance my students viewing of films to become more meaningful, since as a generation they spend so much of their spare time in front of the television. I wanted to tease out the ways that Reading are connected to this highly enjoyed past time.

The goal of this lesson was to introduce my students to the idea that film has a place within the classroom and it can be applied to literacy strategies. In preparation for this lesson, I created three graphic organizers that accompanied the lesson. (See attached) I modeled these organizers after a presentation had seen made by Pam Goble at the Think Teach and Play Conference. Pam informed the group of media circles, which provides students an opportunity to view the movie with a specific “lens” or role within the film. I modified the handout for my second grade class by creating the roles of questioner, connector, and director. Duties of each of the participants were as follows; the questioner were instructed to ask questions during, before, and after the film, the connector was to contemplate as to which character(s) in the film reminded them of characters from different text(s), and the director was look at the actions of the characters and how they changed through out the film. I was curious to see if my students could apply their Reading strategies to a new medium.

On the day of the lesson I passed out the handouts and assigned to the class the job of questioner, connector, or director. I informed the students of their specific role and demonstrated for the class as to how to use the organizer. I stated that the class would be watching the film entitled the Tin Toy. The first time we would watch the movie we would watch the film once all the way through and the second time we would be stopping and making different observations. I told the students that in between the viewing times, they would have a chance to think and reflect, so that they did not have to write during the film.
Initially during the viewing the students were very verbal in their responses. The students immediately relaxed in posture and attitude. As the students became engrossed in the film, the class began to laugh and talk out in enjoyment during the film. After the film, I held a whole class discussion of the movie. I wanted to provide scaffolding for the students seeing as this was their first media experience in class. During this time the students were providing lots of different connections that they had to the books they had read. The students were also very excited to recount different points on the movie. The students’ expressed their comfort and familiarity with film in their nonverbal actions as they settled on the floor. What was exciting to witness was their responses. The students although they were enjoying the film, their ability to view the film critically was not hindered nor dampened but enhanced. The students’ comments ranged to noticing that the baby was wearing a diaper to connecting it to the film Toy Story in which the characters come to life. The entire class was enthusiastic and had a point in the story that they wanted to recount.
After class, I reviewed the students’ handouts. The students’ notes revealed that the students were not able to write about their experience as with as much depth as they were able to verbalize it within our group conversation. The next time that I use media in my classroom I will modify the lesson by requiring that the whole class assumes one role therefore I could I provide more assistance in using the organizer in this type of setting. Once the class has gained some experience at being accountable in their viewing I will vary the ways in which the students respond to the film.

Follow Up Possible Teaching Points for the Pixar film Tin Toy:
To make this project useful for the members of the group and the other Literacy Specialists attending the conference, I have created teaching points that can be used in conjunction with this film. These teaching points were created using Teachers College Reading and Writing Project lesson plan format in order to make these notes accessible for future lessons. Additionally I have included ideas for each possible lesson that teachers can pose to the class.
1. Readers when they read they notice how characters change over time. Readers notice how characters evolve in a story to help them understand their characters better.
Teachers can highlight the change in Tin Toy and his feelings towards the baby. Students could point out the different moments of change in this relationship and the reason behind these alterations.
2. Readers look closely at the motivation of the secondary characters and the implications this has on the main character.
Teachers can ask students to examine as to why the baby was acting the way he/ she was. The teacher can additionally ask students to reflect on what they know about babies and the result of this type of situation.
3. Readers think about the characters fears and what it is that is making the character afraid. Readers think about how the character expresses fear through their actions.
The teacher can focus the class’s attention on the expressions of Tin toy as well as the location of the other toys in the scene. The teacher could ask the students to think of other actions of Tin Toy in which he shows his fear.
4. Readers think about how the character finds strength during times of turmoil. Readers ask themselves, “Is their characters’ motivation changed? Is this giving them more or less strength?
The teacher can ask students to stop and think about as to why the Tin Toy subjects himself to the baby when he knows what could happen to him. The teacher can ask the students as to why Tin Toy willingly placed himself in harm’s way.

Experiment and Reflection
Cheza Al-Kudmani
Film- For the Birds by Pixar

When first seeing Pam Gobles presentation on Media Circles I was so excited about this idea in general. In my fourth grade classroom I had worked with Literature Circles and I must say the students and I loved the experience! The students seemed to gain so much from doing Literature Circles as opposed to book clubs because they each studied a specific part of the book and then shared their findings with one another. While I was in our classroom learning about how to integrate media and pop culture into my classroom, I was really craving to learn a hands-on method I could use with my students. Pam Goble really gave me the answer to that with Media Circles! I was excited to adapt it and use it with younger students to see if it carried great value to their learning. Another reason I loved the idea of Media Circles was that it seemed to really teach students to think critically about movies and scripts, and critical thinking is something I always strive for in my classroom. I was hoping to find that the students were guided to think critically when using Media circles.

I began the project by choosing a movie to teach, I bought the DVD of Pixar short movies and our group decided that it would be best to teach from one of those movies. First of all, students would be greatly interested in a short animation and they would be able to watch it several times to really understand the “big picture” of the movie. I also thought that a long movie would be too much to introduce to young children for their first time using Media Circles, perhaps in the future if the students have used Media Circles they would be able to focus on a long movie analyzing certain clips.

I chose to teach the movie “For the Birds” for several reasons: it had a great moral lesson about bullying, the animation was wonderful and intriguing, there was no dialogue to follow and I thought it was very funny and that the students would enjoy it. After deciding on a movie I had to decide what jobs I would assign to the students. This was more of a challenge then I had anticipated! I realized that I had to deeply study the movie and the message I wanted the students to take away from the movie in order to chose appropriate jobs for the students. I also thought it was important to give the jobs interesting titles as to draw the students into the their work more. I decided on five jobs that I believed would really guide the students to think critically about the movies content. The jobs I chose were: connector, questioner, fortune teller, looking through the eyes of the little birds, and looking through the eyes of the big bird. The connector asked the students to connect the characters of the movie to a character they remember from a book they have read. The questioner asked the student to pose any questions they might have wondered about at the beginning, middle and end of the movie. The fortune teller asked the students to predict what could happen next in the movie to the characters. And by asking the students to look through the eyes of the birds, I was searching for the students to imagine if they were the characters in the movie what they would think and feel in the movie.

After creating graphic organizers for each of the five jobs I was ready to try my Media Circle out in a classroom. I was able to try out the lesson in Sophie’s 2nd grade classroom (I am not currently teaching in my own classroom), I will mention that this was my first time meeting these students and they had never experienced anything similar to a Media Circle in school before. I decided to show the students the movie three times: the first time to simply watch and enjoy the movie (hopefully gaining understanding of the message of the movie), the second time was with their individual jobs in mind, and the third time would be to make sure that they had taken note of all important parts for their job.

During the first viewing of the movie the students watched with great excitement and really seemed to enjoy the movie; laughing at all the funny parts and commenting on the characters between themselves. After they had seen the movie I explained all of the jobs to the group, trying to clarify that we would watch the movie again with our jobs in mind. I allowed the students to ask individual questions about their jobs and tried to make sure that they all understood what was asked of them. I would be lying to say that all of the students clearly understood, but we continued on in hopes that it would become clearer as they watched the movie again. The students watched the movie for a second time and then returned to their seats to fill out their graphic organizers. Students were seated in their groups with each group member having a different job from the other. The students asked more questions of the teacher for clarification. Some students were able to fill out their sheets in minutes while others took a longer time. The students got to watch the movie one last time while working on their graphic organizers. After the students finished their work they were able to share what they found in their groups and have a discussion about what they observed.

It was during the group conversations that I was really impressed and pleased with the results of this work. Groups began their discussions by sharing their work and what they had written on their sheets, at this point I was a bit disheartened thinking that the students would not be able to “dig deeper”. But as I listened the students began to discuss really critical topics alluded to in the movie, like why the big bird was being made fun of. One student mentioned that it was because he looked different and acted different from the little birds. It was amazing watching the students delve more deeply into the movie and really get to the heart of this film about bullying and accepting each other’s differences. This was a true demonstration of critical reading of a text, and on the first try some students were able to do it! (I was able to film one group conversation that demonstrates this type of critical reading, please refer to it to see an example of this conversation).

So in hind sight I learned a lot of things from trying this Media Circle out with this 2nd grade. I first realized that some of the graphic organizers and jobs could be better thought out. For the job of the questioner I realized that I asked the students to state the questions they had before seeing the movie, I quickly realized that this was useless since I showed them the movie first and then gave them their jobs. I would simply remove that part of the job in the future. Questioner was also difficult for the students because they were not sure what kinds of questions to ask; we decided to prompt them by asking them to think of “I wonder… “ questions that they were more familiar with. I also found that I could improve the job of “looking through the eyes of the birds”, it would have been much more meaningful if I had asked the students to state their feelings and thoughts about specific parts of the movie and not the movie as a whole, as the feelings and thoughts change throughout the film.

It is really important to remember that the students were introduced to many new elements on this day. They had never met me before, they were not used to thinking of movies in this hands-on way and these jobs were all new to them. I think it will be very interesting to see how this lesson would be if they had the chance to try it again with another movie and another Media Circle. I suspect the students would have even better results since they would be a little more familiar with what was expected of them.

My big realization and lesson that I walk away with from this experiment is that Media Circles can be a very valuable tool to primary school teachers. The Media Circles prompted the students to think critically about a text, to share their views with their peers, and to have intelligent conversation surrounding media! I was really happy with this project and cannot wait to try it again in my own classroom.

Follow up lessons you could teach using the movie “For the Birds”:
1. Asking students to create dialogue throughout the movie.
2. Using this movie as support for a lesson in choosing titles, asking the students to analyze this title choice.
3. For a science lesson in studying simple machines of Push and Pull.
4. In a science lesson when studying different kinds of birds.
5. In a social studies unit about friendship and community.

Experiment and Reflection
Mollie McAllister
Film- “Mater and the Ghostlight”

While looking for the perfect Pixar film to use for my media circles I came across “Mater and the Ghostlight”. It is a wonderful short film that is based around the character from the Pixar movie “Cars”. I chose to use this film because it contained a dynamic main character and relationships as well as a cute moral story that I felt students would be able to relate to.

My main objectives were for the students to look at and read a film the same way they read books. Children are constantly surrounded by media and I feel that it is important that they look at it as something that can be analyzed, read, and used as a source for learning. I wanted them to read the characters, setting, and message in the story, main idea, and plot. I also wanted them to make connections and predictions. The jobs I assigned for the media centers were connector, fortuneteller, interrogator, time traveler, and psychologist. Each of these jobs required the students to read the film through different lenses. While reading the film they make connections to other texts, movies, and real life, and make predictions, question the movie, use clues to figure out the setting, and analyze the characters and their relationships.

Before watching the movie I explained to the class that they would be watching a movie and reading it like a book by paying attention to all of the story elements. My experiment was with Sophy’s second grade class that had already participated in media circles twice. I reminded them that they were becoming experts at this and they would need to use the same skills and techniques they used in the previous lessons. I explained that we would be watching the movie twice, but the first time they watched it they were not assigned a job yet. I explained the jobs to them before watching the film the first time. I did this because I wanted them to have an idea of all the different things they could be looking out for. After watching it once, I then assigned each student a role for their media circle. They read over their roles and looked at the questions they were going to have to answer so that they had an idea of what exactly to look for. I told them they were now supposed to watch the movie through the lenses of the their role. After watching the movie all of the students went back to their seats to fill out their graphic organizers. I feel that the questions were a good way for the students to reflect about the film in specific ways.

After answering the questions on their graphic organizer they were then told to discuss how they read the film. Some groups started talking by taking turns reading the questions and their answers. Some groups would jump in and start reflecting after the first person shared. Others groups had each member share their questions and answers and then they all started to discuss. The interrogator, the member whose role it was to question, was also very helpful for discussions. Many of the groups built their conversation around the questions that the interrogator presented. It was really exciting to watch and listen to all of the groups talk about the film the same way they do about books. They mentioned the characters and how and why they acted certain ways. They also discussed the purpose of the story. Many of the kids agreed that they felt the movie was to teach you that if you trick somebody then expect to get tricked back. Some students would politely disagree with each other and then back their idea up with evidence from the film or with a response they had written to one of their questions in the graphic organizer. Some of the groups would debate over certain events that had happened and opinions they had for the characters. The excitement and enthusiasm filled the room. As I walked around and talked with the groups, it was very clear to see that they were really enjoying themselves and learning at the same time.

I like the media circles because they require each student to take an active role in the activity. Each student is responsible for their job while getting a good idea of all the things you can be doing and looking out for while reading a film. I like that we left the media circle’s topic of conversations pretty open. I feel that when a group discussion is too restrictive it can hold children back from talking about other issues or topics that were burning in their mind. However, I noticed that after some discussions the groups would get silent and wonder what to talk about next. I feel that if the there was a general list of questions or prompts that the groups could refer to, it would help them to keep focus and direction while discussing new ideas. If I had to change or add anything for the next time I use media centers, I will probably create a group monitor. The job of the monitor would choose who shares first and perhaps how they are going to start their conversation. This would eliminate the time it takes for the groups to decide who goes first, second, third, last etc. The group monitor could also help by moving things along when the group seems to get sidetracked or wonder what to discuss next. Overall, I am very glad that I got to try this lesson out with Sophy’s class. It became very clear to me how effective media can be in the classroom. The class learned so much and got to talk with each other and learn from one another. They ultimately were able to take their thinking higher and their discussions to a deeper level. Who knows, perhaps they will look at film differently now and consciously “read” what they are watching through the lenses and roles of those in the media circles.

Other ideas to teach while using this film-
• Character development- how character change and who helps them to change.
• Folk tales or fables
• Have students create a sequel to this film.
• Students create a new title for the film.
• Students can write an alternate ending for the film.

Experiment and Reflection
Sophie Joseph
Film- Boundin

Media Circles based on the Pixar film; “Boundin”
My second grade classroom had been filled with students who were familiar with book clubs. They had slowly also been introduced to the roles within book clubs. We had been studying endangered animals in our book clubs for over a month. The culminating activity for the students involved writing letters to the President as well as getting petitions signed in the streets by over 500 people. In order to prepare for this unit I spent a lot of time researching book circles. One author that I drew heavily upon was Harvey Daniels and his book entitled; Literature Circles: Voice and Choice in Book Clubs and Reading Clubs. Soon after all this momentum, I attended a conference by Pam Goble on media circles, Pam mentioned that they drew much of the ideas of these media circles from the literature circles mentioned by Harvey Daniels. I sat there in astonishment as I watched Pam made the core fundamentals of a literature circles transferable into media circles. This was the big “aha” moment for me. I didn’t want my class to disengage themselves from all the skills that they had gained from literature circles yet, I didn’t want to bore them with the same routine structures they were used to in a literature circle; media circles were the perfect challenge that I have been searching for.
As I listened to the roles that Pam mentioned in her presentation I realized that these media circles would serve to increase all the skills that my students have worked toward and yet challenge them in many more abstract ways. By assigning the children different roles in which to watch the movie, we were essential teaching them to look at any sort of text through different lenses. We would through these circles be building perspective sensitive, critical thinkers, ones that read beyond the literal meaning of any text. I was also excited to see the various lessons pertaining to different subjects that could be taught using one lesson alone.

One of my colleagues began the first lesson involving media circles in my classroom. During the first lesson, my students were introduced to the various roles such as connector, fortune teller, and questioner. They were also taught the process by which media circles worked. We explained to the students that we will be watching a particular short film numerous times. The first time, we were going to simply take it all in, and enjoy watching the film. Then after the first showing, the children were assigned different roles in which to watch the film for a second showing. Once the children got to familiarize themselves with these roles they were asked to watch the movie once more. This time they were to keep their role in mind, each person had a job on which they were focusing. Finally, the students were asked to return to their seats and try to write down the parts of their roles. Once this activity was completed, the groups began to share out and discuss what they observed, based on their roles within their small groups. These conversations led for some interesting conclusions.

When it was my turn to present my short film, the children had already begun to familiarize this procedure based on my colleague’s film. As for my media circles, I chose the Pixar short film; “Boundin” My class had just finished learning so much about endangered animals from their previous book clubs, I was curious to observe how they were respond to this short film. We were also currently in a poetry unit for writer’s workshop and this short film was a song that told a story. The Boundin film is one in which a group of animals are happily living in the plains. In the film, a dancing, cheerful lamb has the job of cheering everyone up with his dance. His dancing is lifts up all his fellow plain animals and they often danced along with him. Then one day the lamb’s wool is sheered and he doesn’t feel cheerful anymore. His friends begin to tease him and his dancing stops. Along come another animal who teaches the lamb that whenever you’re down you simply can bounce away your sadness by snapping out of your misery and reaching for the sky. Sure enough, the lamb realizes that it doesn’t matter what color one is on the outside, one only needs to focus on bounding out of a miserable situation.

My students loved the short film, this was clear with their laughter at the silly moments. There was a audible “aww” in the room as the lamb’s wool was sheered away. However, based on the vocabulary in the song, I did replay this movie at least twice before I allowed the students to choose their various roles. Once the students got familiar with the movie, I introduced the roles for this movie:
• The connector: someone who connects this movie to other books, movies, or life experiences.
• The Detective: this person wrote down any questions that may be related to the movie. The class was familiar with the “I wonder” format so I used this as an example.
• The Scientist: this person’s role was to watch the movie through a science lens. (much of this movie dealt with second grade science themes such as mammals, seasons, change in animals, consumption, etc.
• The Fortune Teller: This person would predict what would happen if there was a sequel to this movie.
• The Geographer: This person dealt with the setting in this story. Where do you think the characters were? How do you know?
• The Psychologist: What were the character traits/ personality traits on the main character? How do you know?

There were some time spent familiarizing the students to the different roles and lenses. This was difficult for some of the students; these were new roles and at times new terminologies for the students to understand. We did spend much time explaining these various roles. Once it seemed that the majority of the students were ready for the next viewing, we watched the film as a whole class once again. After the third viewing, I told the students that if they felt comfortable they may return to their seats and begin recording their observations for their various roles. For the students who were less comfortable, I played the video again for the fourth viewing. After this viewing, almost all the students were ready for the next step.
Following the activity the groups begin to share out their thoughts with one another. Students begin connecting to this movie to other similar stories such as “Stand Tall Molly Lou Mellon” Similarly to Molly Lou Mellon, the lamb learned to be proud of the things that made him different, he learned to accept and use his circumstances to empower himself. Other students began to discuss the race (color) factor. At one point the lamb, realizes that it doesn’t matter if he’s pink, yellow, or any color, what matters is your inside and how you feel about yourself. No, the students did not use words such as race, but they did mention that it is important to be happy or proud of oneself. One group began to discuss how similar this film was to Elmer, the elephant who learned to love his rainbow patchwork.

However, it is important to note, that these rich conversations did not arise immediately. These graphic organizers did require much time to explain and explore. My students were comfortable with group discussions based on previous experiences. Also for much of these sorts of discussions to work, there needs to be time for the students to build conversation and develop their thinking to this higher level. Also remember that with the greater number of times a child is able to participate in these circles the greater the chance for the child to dig past the literal into the abstract. The initial conversations will tackle the comedy and the literal meaning, but often if given proper time to discuss (students learn from each other), encouragement and support from the teacher, these circles lead to meaningful peer conversations.

Other possible Minilessons:
➢ Science: Features of a mammal verses that of reptiles, amphibians, birds, or fish.
➢ Social Studies: Different landscapes
➢ Literacy: What were the character traits of the lamb? How did you know? How do his relationship with others help us understand him better?

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