Testing/Assessments & Learning Standards
July 23, 2015

Lesson Plan: The Important Book

Source: Research and Educational Services
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LESSON TITLE: The Important Book

TEACHER: Dorine Phelan

SUBJECT: Opinion Writing

GRADE: First



  • Students will participate in various settings (whole group, partnerships and independently).


Lesson Implementation- Edited:

Lesson Implementation - UnEdited:


NYS P-12 Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy and Mathematics

NYSED Classroom Videos

The NYS Education Department has classroom videos available in ELA (3 elementary, 1 secondary), mathematics (2 elementary, 2 secondary), and a European history lesson. The videos are presented un-edited and formatted to highlight specific NYS Learning standards as they are implemented.

Go to EngageNY to view the videos.


  • Multiple copies of The Important Book.
  • A collection of objects with characteristics that promote use of the Tier 2 vocabulary words (feathers, paintbrushes, shiny objects, jewelry or stones with crystals, an orange or apple, a flower or leaves).
  • Writing paper with the frame….”The important thing about_____.”


Summary: In The Important Book, some simple things in nature and everyday life (a spoon, daisies, the wind, etc) are described. Many “important” traits, actions, and purposes about each topic are listed in literary form. This book is written in a repeating pattern as well, which makes it all the more engaging and memorable.


  • W1.1 Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide

Content Standards:

  • R1.4 Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.
  • SL1.2 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
  • SL1.4 Describe people, places, things and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.
  • SL1.6 Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation (See grade 1 Language standards 1 and 3 on page 36 for specific expectations.)


The common core shifts incorporated in this lesson were Academic Vocabulary, Text- based Answers, and Writing from Sources.

Academic Vocabulary: Isabel Beck, Bringing Words to Life, categorizes vocabulary into 3 tiers when considering which words need the most instructional attention. Beck suggests that students will benefit the most academically by focusing instruction on the Tier 2 Vocabulary Words. Tier 2 words are likely to appear in texts across content areas, essential for understanding this text.


Tier 1 Vocabulary

Basic vocabulary that rarely require instructional focus (door, house, book)

*Tier 2 Academic Vocabulary

High-frequency, multiple meaning vocabulary - words that appear with high-frequency, across a variety of domains, and are crucial when using mature, academic language (coincidence, reluctant, analysis)

Tier 3 Vocabulary

Low-frequency, context-specific vocabulary - frequency of these words is quite low and often limited to specific fields of study (isotope, reconstruction, Buddhism)















Day 1:

  • Read aloud The Important Book for enjoyment. Discuss reasons that were cited for why the things in the book were important.

Day 2:

  • Introduce Tier 2 vocabulary words through kinesthetic activity. Children will construct and rehearse movements to represent each Tier 2 word. Read aloud The Important Book , encouraging children to move accordingly when Tier 2 words are read.
  • Next, provide partners with objects with characteristics that promote use of the Tier 2 vocabulary words (feathers, paintbrushes, shiny objects, jewelry or stones with crystals, an orange or apple, a flower or leaves). Allow time for children to examine objects and develop descriptions through discussion with their partners. Circulate among the children asking questions to promote oral language and use of Tier 2 vocabulary. Suggest children form an opinion about their objects and explain why their objects are important or special.

Day 3:

  • Begin with a whole class reading of The Important Book, with the book projected on the screen. Conduct a class discussion about which lines were their “favorite lines” in the book.  Discuss why they liked those lines and why they think the author chose those words and expressions. Provide partnerships with copies of The Important Book. Assign each partnership one of the topics from the book (spoon, daisy, rain, grass, snow, apple, wind, sky, shoes). Have the children read and discuss the page about their topic with their partners. Discussion should focus on: how many reasons were given; the types of reasons that were given (facts, opinions, unusual, surprising?); how the reasons sounded when read aloud. Partners will choose 2 (or more)reasons they liked best and write them on a page with an illustration to share.

Day 4:

  • Provide each student with an object from the collection that was used on Day 2. Encourage students to think about the qualities and purposes of their object and construct reasons why it is important or special. Students will write phrases and sentences to describe why their object is important or special, using a format similar to the author’s pattern used in The Important Book. Compile the students’ work into a class book to be shared with all.


C= central ideas/general understanding:

  • What are the reasons given why each object in The Important Book is important or special?

D= key details:

  • Which reasons are facts?
  • Which reasons are opinions?
  • Which reasons tell what it looks like?
  • Which reasons tell what it does?
  • Which reasons made you wonder?
  • Which reasons surprised you?

V= vocabulary:

  • What is it about a spoon that is hollow?
  • What thing in the book was described as having a “ticklish” smell?
  • What thing in the book was described as “tender?”
  • What in the book made things “shiny?”
  • What in the book could ”splash” in your face?
  • What thing in the book was described as “crystals?”
  • What in the book could make trees “bend?”

S= text structure:

  • Did you notice a pattern in the way the author wrote each page?
  • What was the pattern you noticed?
  • Why do you think the author used that pattern?

AP= author's point of view:

  • What is the author trying to tell you?
  • Why did the author write about simple things like a spoon and shoes?
  • Why did the author end the book with “you” being something important?


(Part to whole, literal to inferential/evaluation)

Most of the questions will be asked during partnerships as children are examining their objects and discussing their objects. Questions will also be used as prompts while students are constructing their own reasons to write and share.


Formative Assessments:

  • Observing students during kinesthetic lesson.
  • Listening to partner conversations on Day 2.
  • Noticing which reasons are chosen, written and shared by partnerships.
  • Listening for student understanding and explanations while students construct their own reasons for their objects.

Summative Assessments:

  • Review of written pieces about their objects.
  • Use of Tier 2 vocabulary in explanations of why their object is important or special.
  • Use of multiple reasons for why their object is important or special.


Why I chose the lesson

I chose this lesson to enhance my opinion writing unit. I wanted to use a text that demonstrated one of the goals of the unit, namely, giving many detailed reasons for your opinion. Another goal of this lesson was to encourage my students to use richer vocabulary when explaining their reasons for their opinions.

The common core shifts incorporated in this lesson were Academic Vocabulary, Text- based Answers, and Writing from Sources. 

I was excited to incorporate kinesthetic learning into my close reading lesson plan. Children are naturally kinesthetic learners. My expectations were that the children would respond favorably to an integration of movement. I also hoped the kinesthetic piece would provide the glue to make the Tier 2 vocabulary stick to their brains. The children reacted very positively to the movement piece. They actually wanted to do more movement than I had planned to include in the lesson. I was also very impressed by the way the children practiced their oral language when given the new objects to examine. Their conversations were lively, imaginative and filled with rich vocabulary. I believe the oral rehearsal was an essential precursor to any written task that would follow.

If I were to teach the same lesson again, I would adjust the kinesthetic piece. Instead of having students facing me, I would have them stand in a circle. This way they could monitor their own responses by looking at what their peers were doing. This arrangement would also give them more creative license and not assume they have to copy the exact same movements as the teacher.

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