Oral Language Fluency: 1

Teacher: Anna Pires, 2nd Grade anna

Houghton Mifflin Story: Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco.

In this lesson, second grade students will practice the story retell strategy. The teacher scaffolds this activity by having students practice the skill in a variety of ways with different levels of support along the way. Let’s watch as Anna crafts this lesson so as to get the most oral language production from her ELs as possible.

Here are the artifacts and resources from the lesson:

Thunder Cake Retell Strips

Thunder Cake Sequence of Events


Anna opens the lesson by tapping students’ prior knowledge. She reminds them of the story that they have read before the spring break so as to prepare them for the learning that will take place. Notice how she begins by using wonderful visuals from the story to help create meaning for students. Listen how she uses her voice to contextualize the story and make it seem real for students. This helps keep them engaged with the content that is being presented.


Classroom Reflection

Why is it important for Anna to use pictures from the story to retell with students? Would it have been so successful if she simply retold the story orally with no visual support?


In this clip, Ana has students pair share their opinion as to why the character in the story is brave. Notice how students are all engaged in the action of sharing their ideas with their partner. This helps them to feels as though they are an active part of the lesson being presented and allows them to practice their oral language with peers. You’ll see how she counts down from 5 allowing them time to complete their thoughts before moving on to the next portion of the instruction.



Classroom Reflection

Why is it important to have students pair/share during the retell?


In this portion of the lesson, Anna asks students to retell the story by forming their own sentences about the story’s content. Watch how Anna uses both non-volunteers and pair/share to have students report out the main events of the story. This builds student confidence by giving them the opportunity to share in their pairs before they report out to the whole class.



Classroom Reflection

Notice how Anna has students retell the story after she has modeled it for them on the board. How might the lesson be different if she had asked them to retell before she had modeled the strategy?