Kacey is our guest today to share her experience using our The Star Lady package with her 5th grade students. The Star Lady is a story by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey published in 1917. It tells the story of a girl named Tabitha who meets Betsy Ross and George Washington.
Before we started The Star Lady, we read a non-fiction selection called “Flags” out of our student reader from the reading program “Good Habits, Great Readers”. Betsy Ross and the origin of the American flag was included in that selection, so The Star Lady was a great transition piece to conclude my unit.
We began reading the letter from Tabitha as a class, which was very exciting for the students because she was 10 years old, just like them. We talked about the different phrases and the way they spoke back then and compared it to our way of communicating today. After each page, the students independently completed the comprehension questions. Then, we would come back together as a class to discuss our findings. I was very impressed with how well the students were comprehending the selection even though the language is very different from ours today! Each day, we read a new page of the letter and dissected the information to put it all together. The students were always bummed that we had to pause to change classes; they kept wanting to read more!
The supplemental activities provided in this product were very helpful in keeping the students’ interest and reinforcing the skills that good readers possess. In describing the characters, I had the students list three character traits for each, and they had to explain why they chose that character trait based on evidence from the text. They enjoyed sharing their answers in a whole class discussion; I actually had to have them turn to a partner to tell them the rest, because there were so many hands up wanting to share. That says to me that they were confident with their knowledge of the characters and proud of their ability to successfully describe them!
We moved on to the Venn Diagram, and I allowed the students to work in pairs to come up with a few similarities and differences. Then, we also shared these findings in a whole-class discussion. To supplement, I found pictures of the Betsy Ross house, and an online video tour to show the students what the house might have looked like while Betsy was living and working there. At the conclusion of the unit, I had the students take The Star Lady quiz and they performed great at it!! Most finished their quiz within 10-15 minutes, and all of the students passed with either an A or a B!
This product was great for keeping the students engaged and interested in what they were reading. It was a unique approach to have the selection be a letter that connected to a real-life event. The students loved reading from the perspective of a child their age.
Thanks so much for sharing with us, Kacey!