English Language Arts Lesson with A Talking-Story

Interactive Storytelling

Tree Map Lesson Vocab Thinking Maps Final ProductsLesson One: Corn Tassel Story, 5 min., Parts of a Corn Plant Brace Map 20 min.

Storytelling nurtures classroom community. Everyone present co-creates this unique, in the moment, story experience. No props are needed as the visual images are alive in the story.

Telling a Story: Lesson Prompt:

Set the moment as something special is about to happen. Ring a chime. Strike a pose. Hum or sing a verse. When you have students’ attention. Standing in one place. Pretend you are dusting the air with an imaginary corn tassel.

Teacher: “O fiddle dee. Fiddle dee. I do declare. I think I’ll sprinkle some in the air.”
Pretend to shake pollen dust into the air above and in front of your head.(This in the pollen from the tassels falling onto the silk on corn cobs that are on a tall corn stalk.)

Teacher: “But I need to get some over there.” Gesture head to one side.
“But I can’t move. I’m held to the ground. I need some help. Can you be the whispering wind? Can you gently blow the pollen dust to the silk threads on the corn cobs around me?”

A Talking Story Face to Face StorytellingBy this time, students will start asking questions.
Students: “Why can’t you move?” “Where are you?”
Teacher: “I’m a corn stalk. My roots hold me in the soil in the corn field.”
Students: “What are you holding?”
Teacher: “A corn tassel.”
Students: “What’s in the air?”
Teacher: “Pollen. Isn’t it pretty?”
Students: “I don’t see anything.”
(Maybe add a few ‘La la la-s’)
Teacher: “Oh sure you do. It’s that tiny yellowish, clear dust in the air. Do you see it now?”
Students: “What are you sprinkling pollen on?”
Teacher: “On the silkthreads of a corn cob.”
Students: “Why?”
Teacher: “The corn kernel won’t grow unless each silk threads get pollen.”
I need more help. Can you be the wind again? I need to get some over there.” Gesture head to another direction.
Student: “What’s a corn kernel?”
Teacher: “What do you think a corn kernel is?”
Answers: A Seed. Food for people. Food for animal. Grain.

Differentiated learningBring students to the area where you have:

1. A large poster of a corn plant and labels for each part.
2. An blank Brace Map. (Prepared with dots of Tacky Putty where the pictures and labels will go.)
3. Images and labels from last Blog prepared on card stock, laminated.

Tell students you will be laying these parts of the corn plant and their labels on the floor for them and the students around them to see. Note they need to leave them where you set them down. They will be used to create the Brace Map.

Process: “Today we will be making a Brace Map together for Parts of a Corn Plant. Once we learn the names of the parts of the corn plant together you will build a Brace Map for parts of the corn plant in small groups.” Use the poster to build the Brace Map with students. I have found tacky putty works best.

Lesson Two: Choosing How to Show
What You Know – Small Groups create Circle Map of possible final project. 10 min.

Common Core App TabLesson Three: In large group discuss Rubric for Final Product. Explain that they will evaluate and be evaluated by peers. Small Groups create Circle Map of final project. 10 min.

Lesson Four and Five: Organizing Your Ideas- Small Groups create a Flow Map of sequence they will take in Showing What They Know. 20 min.

Lesson Six: We Are A Team!- Small groups create Tree Map assigning parts, jobs, roles. 20 min.

Lesson Six, Seven and Eight: Rehearsal – Small groups work collaboratively in final project. 20 min. Some groups may be ready to model a rehearsal for large group.

Lesson Nine and Ten: Small groups present their final product.

Natural Common Corn questions

What is a corn tassel?

  • A corn tassel is the male flower of the corn plant. It grows on top of the corn stalk. These tassels are shades of yellow, green and purple. Corn plants grow tassels on top after the major growing of the plant is complete and when it is time for the ears of corn to begin growing.

What is the tassel for?

  • The tassel produces pollen. The pollen is what causes the ear of corn to grow and ripen. The pollen falls off of the tassel and is blown by the wind to reach the silk of the ears.

What is corn silk?

  • Silk is a hollow ‘thread’ connected to a kernel of corn inside each ear. Pollen travels down the silk causing a corn kernel to grow.

Why do some ears of corn have both big and small kernels?

  • The silks attached to the smaller kernels did not receive pollen and the kernels could not grow.

What does pollen that falls from the tassel look like?

  • The “dust-like” pollen is yellow or white that falls from a tassel millions of individual, nearly microscopic, spherical, yellowish- or whitish translucent pollen grains.

How much pollen does a tassel produce?

  • Estimates of the total number of pollen grains produced per tassel range from 2 to 25 million.

How many silk threads are on an ear of corn?

  • A well developed ear shoot should have 750 to 1,000 potential kernels each producing a silk.

About how many kernels are on a full grown ear of corn?

  • A rough number would be around 700 for a good ear of corn for us. Usually there are 14-18 rows of kernels and they range in length from 36-44.

Blended Curriculum Lesson: Math. Students (Young farmers) will draw an array for a potential ear of corn (they have grown). Students will write and solve the multiplication equation. Examples: 14 x 36 = 504, 15 x 38= 570, 16 x 40 = 640, 18 x 44 = 792. Students can combine their corn to make a bushel. Q. How many grains of corn are in a bushel? This would make a great bulletin board!

Blended Curriculum Lesson: Social Studies. Create a whole class created story. What is the name of the community that grew this corn? Where was it sold? How much did it cost? Who bought it? Was it used for food? People or Animals? Fuel?

More Corn Facts

  • Pollen shed usually begins two to three days prior to silk emergence and continues for five to eight days with peak shed on the third day.
  • On a typical midsummer day, the shedding of pollen is in the morning between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m.
  • Pollen is light and is often carried considerable distances by the wind. However, most of it settles within 20 to 50 feet.
  • Silks are covered with fine, sticky hairs which serve to catch and anchor pollen grains.
  • Pollen grain starts growth of the pollen tube down the silk channel within minutes of coming in contact with a silk and the pollen tube grows the length of the silk and enters the female flower (ovule) in 12 to 28 hours.
  • Pollen of a given plant rarely fertilizes the silks of the same plant. Under field conditions 97% or more of the kernels produced by each plant are pollinated by other plants in the field.
  • The amount of pollen is rarely a cause of poor kernel set. Each tassel contains from 2 to 5 million pollen grains which translates to 2,000 to 5,000 pollen grains produced for each silk of the ear shoot. CornPollination- An Overview

Tassel Emergence & Pollen Shed – Corny News Network (Purdue …

National Common Core Standards Met in Above Lesson

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
SL.4.4. Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
SL.4.5. Add audio recordings and visual displays to presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.
SL.4.6. Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting ideas) and situations where informal discourse is appropriate (e.g., small-group discussion); use formal English when appropriate to task and situation.

Text Types and Purposes
W.4.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

  • Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
  • Use dialogue and description to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.
  • Use a variety of transitional words and phrases to manage the sequence of events.
  • Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
  • Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.

Knowledge of Language
L.4.3. Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

  • Choose words and phrases to convey ideas precisely.*
  • Choose punctuation for effect.*
  • Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting ideas) and situations where informal discourse is appropriate (e.g., small-group discussion).

For continued support in your brain based instructional strategies visit this pdf link by Eric Jensen 2010:
10 Most Highly Effective BRAIN BASED Strategies For Student Achievement “…..the brain is intimately involved in and connected with, everything educators and students do at school. Any disconnect is a recipe for frustration and potentially, disaster. Brain-based education is best understood in three words: engagement, strategies and principles. You must engage your learners and do it with strategies that are based on real science….”

Comments are closed.