by Marilyn Burns
Mr and Mrs Comfort are having a family reunion! Mr. Comfort starts cooking up his famous spaghetti and meatballs while Mrs. Comfort carefully arranges eight tables and thirty-two chairs so that everyone will have a seat. The tables look lovely, the food is ready, and here come the guests – with their own seating plans!
Reading Strategy 1: Access background information.
Reading Strategy 2: Predict what will be learned or what will happen.
Reading Strategy 7: Determine the most important ideas and events and the relationship between them.
Reading Strategy 8: Extract information from text, charts, graphs, maps and illustrations.
Reading Strategy 9: Identify and interpret literary elements in different genres.
Reading Strategy 11: Make inferences and draw conclusions.
Reading Strategy 12: Reflect and respond.
TEACHING THE ACTIVITY: PRE-READING
(1) Using the Building from Clues activity, select various clues (such as objects or pictures) to show to the students and lead them to make predictions about the text.
(2) Hand out the Brainstorming Graphic Organizer and have students label each circle with the titles Where, When, Who, What and Why.
(3) Show students one clue at a time and allow them time to formulate ideas and gather as much information as possible in their Graphic Organizer. Suggested clues include the title of the book and a picture from the beginning, middle and end of the story.
(4) Have students think-pair-share ideas after each clue is presented, building on previous information gathered.
(5) Ask students to work in pairs to write a movie trailer for what they predict the story is about, using the information they gathered in their Brainstorming Graphic Organizer.
TEACHING THE ACTIVITY: DURING READING
(6) Hand out the Plot Profile Graph or the Plot Profile – Story Board Graphic Organizer to the students. Using one of the Plot Profile – Story Map strategies, explain that they are looking for ten critical events in the story and that they are to record them as they listen to the story being read aloud.
(7) Read the Spaghetti and Meatballs for All! aloud, stopping occasionally to allow students to record their ideas.
(8) After reading the story, allow students time to complete their Plot Profile.
(9) Invite students to do a Gallery Walk to compare their ten key events to that of others and to expand their thinking. Allow them time to add anything or make any necessary changes to their Plot Profile.
(10) Lead a group discussion about how the actual events in the story compare to the events predicted by the students.
TEACHING THE ACTIVITY: POST-READING
(11) Using the 4 Cs thinking strategy from Making Thinking Visible, have students write responses to each of the 4 Cs: connections, challenge, concepts and changes.
(12) Present the framework and suggested questions below:
- Connections: What connections do you draw between the story and any events you have attended that may have had challenges with setting up enough places/food for everybody?
- Challenge: If you could challenge the author with one issue from the story, what would it be and why?
- Concepts: What key concepts do you think are important from the text? What key concepts do Mr and Mrs Comfort each provide from their own perspectives?
- Changes: What changes in attitudes, thinking or actions are suggested by the author? How do you think the couple will plan their next event? Have they learned anything from this party?
(13) Have students fold a page into four boxes to help organize and record their ideas.
(14) Group students into small groups and assign each group one of the 4 Cs. The group must discuss their collective ideas for the given C and select the most important ones to share with the class.
(15) Give students enough time to add any missing details to their own sheet, to polish their work with as much detail as possible after the group discussion.