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Nim's Island

Context for this Lesson


Grade: 3rd-4th Grade
Topic: Nim's Island 
Focus Questions:  How do we identify important moments or events in a story? How do we make predictions about what happens next based on what we already know?
Materials: posters, markers
Note: This lesson plan can be adapted to any book assigned to the class. 


Poster Dialogue
"For our activities today, we are going to first review what we remember about Nim's Island so far." Split class into groups, either new groups or ones that are already established. "Each group will get a poster and everyone will have a marker. When I say action you are going to get up and write anything you remember from Nim's Island on a poster board, if someone already wrote what you were going to write then you can put a check by it.  If you can't think of anything else to write come back to your seat so I will know you are done.  We are only going to take about 5 minutes for this activity. Ready?  ACTION."
When you the feel group is done have them go back to their seats. Acknowledge all the great facts they came up with.
Transition: “Wow, you remember a lot of exciting things that have happened in Nim’s Island so far. But I’m not sure about the sequence of events in the story. I am going to help you bring this book to life using drama, but I will need your help to figure out the order of the story.”  Work with students to identify the important things that have happened so far based on what they have written in their poster dialogues. Then write them on the board and have students place them in order. 
NOTE: This can also be done as a group brainstorm with the teacher scribing on the poster.


Frozen Pictures
Discuss what a frozen image is (doesn't move, captures a movement in action using the body and face, strong point of view) and how we can create a tableau by working together.  Introduce the term "tableau" to the class and call on a few students to help demonstrate an example.  "If we were going to make a tableau of recess how might we show this?" Listen to the answers of the students.  "Some of you might be playing a sport together, some of you might be swinging alone, and some of you might be running around.  If you are playing basketball then you wouldn't be sitting down, no you would be showing that you were playing by using your body.  I'm going to give you a moment to think about what you would like to do and I'll give a count to five.  By the time I reach five you will have created a frozen pose."  Count down to five.  Now go over the concepts of frozen pictures/tableaux like clear actions, point of view, levels, finding a position that you can hold for a long time, etc. using the group who are watching to make suggestions about what the volunteers should do.
Check-in with the class  to see if everyone understands by giving a thumbs up. Have the students all simultaneously create individual frozen pictures of recess at their desks.  Remind them of the importance of facial expression and the use of body positions in order to “tell the story” of their actions. “Great.  So often when we have pictures they have several people in them. For our next frozen picture we are going to split into (whatever the number of groups needs to be to align with important events-in this case it was 3).  Now that we know how to create tableau we are ready to make some group images of Nim’s Island to help me understand the order of the story. In your group I am going to give you one of the important events that we talked about earlier and I'll give you 2 minutes to plan your tableaux as a group." Give the groups a 1 minute warning and then announce (having ensured to erase the list from the board) that you can’t remember the order of the events. Have the students remind you of the order.
Let the groups share their images in the order they think they go in. Ask the audience to describe what they see, if they give an interpretation of the picture ask them why they think that is what it is. How does this image reflect a moment in the story?
Transition: “Those were great. I feel like I know exactly what has happened so far in the story. And I am really excited to see what happens next. Let’s get into a standing circle and talk about what we think might happen next.
The Truth About Me....
In this version we are going to use the phrase "I think what happens next is…"  (You may want to wait to introduce the idea of “phoning a friend” for help until someone gets stuck. It can become a distraction for certain groups and it makes the directions longer)
Have everyone in a standing circle. Take a moment to review with the group what it means to be safe with their bodies and respect each other. "Can we all agree to do that? Great, so one person is going to start in the middle and they are going to tell one thing they think will happen next in the story. If you agree with what they say then you will step out of your spot and try to take another persons spot who has also agreed. Whoever is left in the center of the circle will then be the next person to say what they think will happen. When you are in the middle of the circle you start by saying, "I think what happens next is…." (If the person in the center doesn’t have an idea they can “phone a friend” and someone has an idea of what might happen next can come in the circle and help them.)Thumbs up if you understand. I will start in the middle.


Describe: What is one thing you remember from today’s class? 
Analyze: What happened at the beginning of Nim’s Island? In the middle? At the end?
Relate: Did this activity help you think about the order of the story?