Classroom Lesson Plan: Book
Tim O'Keefe's lesson plan is also available as a PDF
file. See Materials Needed, below, for links to student
activity sheets and Teacher Tools related to the lesson.
Teacher: Tim O'Keefe, The Center for Inquiry, Columbia,
Grade Level: Third
Topic: Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco
The Book Buddies experience is one aspect of Mr. O'Keefe's
literature program which also includes regular read-alouds
and literature circles. Third and fifth graders have met
as Book Buddies throughout the year to read and respond to
literature together. During these interactions, they have
used reading and writing as tools for learning. They have
also been learning to take hold of literature conversations
for themselves. The teachers' goal is to create classroom
communities where students can orchestrate quality conversations
about literature independently, and they find that Book Buddies
benefit equally from the interaction in spite of differences
in age. This particular Book Buddy engagement grew out of
focus studies on African American history, tolerance, and
- Read and enjoy literature.
- Pose and answer questions with their Book Buddies.
- Share and discuss questions in small groups.
- Make predictions and intertextual ties (personal connections,
text-to-text connections, and text-to-world connections).
- Uncover literary elements such as character, point of
view, and mood.
- Identify lessons learned and knowledge gained from the
text and the discussions.
- Share their responses during small- and whole-group discussions.
Expected Products From Lesson:
Instructional Strategies Implemented:
- Paired reading and discussion.
- Small-group discussions.
- Whole-class discussions.
- Writing and reading as tools for learning.
- Generating authentic questions about literature.
- Experiencing multiple responses to literature.
Collaborative Structure of Class:
An inquiry classroom needs to be arranged to facilitate conversations.
In Mr. O'Keefe's class, students sit at desks clustered in
groups of four or five. During their opening activities,
read-alouds and other whole-class activities, they gather
on the floor in the front of the classroom. During Book Buddy
meetings, students meet where they can find a quiet space.
Some remain in the classroom, but many take advantage of
South Carolina's mild climate and settle outside on benches,
steps, or under trees. To accommodate discussion at the end
of the experience when the two classes meet together, Mr.
O'Keefe pushes the student desks against the walls so all
can gather on the floor.
- Both classes gather together for procedural instructions
and housekeeping reminders.
- Book Buddies take books and a copy of Book Buddy Response
Invitations and find a quiet place to work.
- Taking turns, Book Buddies read assigned section of book
- Book Buddies select a response invitation and complete
- After reading and responding to the literature as partners,
they join another pair to form a small group. Using their
diverse response strategies as springboards for conversation,
they continue to discuss their reading. Working together,
each group writes a question to bring to the whole-class
Follow-Up or Culminating Activities:
- Students create sketch to stretch responses.
- Both classes meet together as a whole group to share
insights, reflections, and questions.
Students may be assessed on a daily basis through:
- Teacher observation
- Anecdotal records
- Check lists
The following activity might receive holistic or scaled
evaluation (see Assessment and Evaluation:
Some Useful Principles for a detailed explanation of
holistic and scaled evaluation).