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Lesson plan

Lesson 1 - Building Background Knowledge: Bird Nests

teaches Common Core State Standards SL.1.1.b http://corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/1/1/b
teaches Common Core State Standards SL.1.1 http://corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/1/1
teaches Common Core State Standards RI.1.5 http://corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RI/1/5
teaches Common Core State Standards RI.1.7 http://corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RI/1/7
teaches Common Core State Standards L.1.4 http://corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/L/1/4

Lesson 1 - Building Background Knowledge: Bird Nests

To learn more about this lesson, read the Lesson 1 Narrative found under the Additional Materials tab.

Daily Learning Targets

  • I can determine the meanings of words to understand the meaning of a text.
  • I can use details and captions in pictures of bird nests to identify why and where birds build nests.

Ongoing Assessment

  • During the Opening, use the Language Checklist to continue monitor student progress  (see Assessment Overview and Resources).
  • During Work Time A, use the Reading Informational Text Checklist and Speaking and Listening Checklist to monitor student progress (see Assessment Overview and Resources).

Purpose of Lesson

  • This lesson launches Unit 2 with a new letter from the ornithologist. Throughout this unit, students continue to build their research skills and understanding of opinion writing as they work to answer the Unit 2 guiding question: “Why do people have different opinions about birds?” Specifically, students learn about people’s opinions regarding the nest of Pale Male, a red-tailed hawk that built its nest in New York City.

In Advance

  • Prepare:
    • Picture Puzzle images for Work Time A in color, if possible. Cut each Picture Puzzle image into three or four pieces (depending on the number of students in the class) and place the pieces for each puzzle in a plastic bag or envelope. Label the bag with the corresponding number.
    • Nest caption pieces for Work Time A. Cut each nest caption piece and place in a different plastic bag or envelope and label with the corresponding number. Each small group will receive two bags: one with the Picture Puzzle images and one with the nest caption pieces.
    • The ornithologist envelope (large manila envelope) by placing the Ornithologist Letter #2 and Picture Puzzle images inside.
    • Bird Word Wall Cards for nest and egg.
  • Strategically group students into groups of four for Work Time A.
  • Pre-distribute materials for Work Time A at student workspaces.
  • Review the Picture Puzzle protocol. 
  • Post: Learning targets and applicable anchor charts.


  • Lesson-specific: egg, caption, ornithologist, prediction
  • Text-specific: impact, amazing, pester, unusual, opinion, nest


  • Ornithologist envelope (one to display)
    • Ornithologist Letter #2 (one to display)
    • Picture Puzzle Images (one piece per student and one or two pieces to display)
  • Vocabulary Strategies Anchor Chart (begun in Unit 2, Lesson 3)
  • Picture Puzzle Protocol Anchor Chart (new; teacher-created)
  • Picture Puzzle Protocol Anchor Chart (Example, for Teacher Reference) 
  • Classroom Discussion Norms Anchor Chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Speaking and Listening Checklist (for teacher reference)
  • Bird Word Wall Card (new; teacher-created; two)
  • Bird Word Wall (begun in Module 3; added to during Work Times A and B)
  • Nest Caption Pieces (one set per group and one set to display)
  • Reading Informational Text Checklist (for teacher reference)
  • Back-to-Back and Face-to-Face Anchor Chart (begun in Module 3)
  • Bird Nests Anchor Chart (new; co-created with students during Work Time B)
  • Completed Picture Puzzle Images (to display)
  • Bird Nests Anchor Chart (Example, for Teacher Reference) 
  • Index card (one per student)











Adapted from EL Education under CC BY license. All adaptations copyright 2019 LearnZillion.