Unpacking for Formative Assessment and Intentional Planning

Day 2- Invitation to Notice More/Mini-Lesson

When we expose students to well-written sentences rather than examples ridden with errors, they take the opportunity to notice all of the parts of speech, punctuation, and craft within. The invitation process welcomes students to think differently about a text while taking the time to notice, share, and listen to their peers.  We also come to an understanding of what students ALREADY know.  (see previous blog post) My teaching point for this mentor sentence was plural nouns and was focused on the word pears.

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All of this unpacking was extremely helpful in truly understanding what needed to be taught the following day. Did they really know what a noun was? What does singular mean? What does plural mean? How do you change a word to make it plural? 

The students already identified pears as a noun and they knew it was a thing. I asked them to tell me more and waited. One child replied, “there were two pears!” Excellent, I thought. I asked them to think about the word pears and how we know there were two of them- besides the fact that the author told us. They understood that adding an “s” to the end of the word pear, makes it mean more than one. This is when I told them, “When we add an “s” to pear, it becomes pears. That is called a plural noun. Plural means, more than one.”


I decided to start at the beginning with What is a Noun? I had an anchor chart with illustrations and labels for them to study. Next, I showed the students picture cards of nouns. The first one was singular, the second one was plural. After, I had about 20 post-it notes on the whiteboard with singular nouns and their plural counterparts for students to organize as plural and singular. (I needed to be very strategic in which nouns I selected because we were only talking about adding an S to the end to make it more than one) Each child selected a post-it note and added it to the anchor chart labeled Singular Noun/Plural Noun. They NOTICED all of the plural nouns had an S at the end.

Teaching in context is crucial. When there is a purpose to learning and students are able to explain what they are learning and why it’s important, they can immediately connect to their reading and writing.


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