Friday, May 5, 2017

Specimen Narration Lesson: Geography

Form: 1B


Book Used: Geography (1st Series) by A.B. Archer and H.G. Thomas, Book I, pages 67-69

Aim: To arouse interest in the country and people of Pakistan

Method: Introduction:
Brief recapitulation of the last lesson. "What country did we read about last time?"

Step 1: Talk about Pakistan, mentioning any people whom you happen to know there. Explain that it was once part of political India.

Step 2: Find Pakistan on the map; notice its position with regard to Egypt (the last country studied) and England. Plan how you would go there from England by sea or air.

Step 3: Look at and discuss the pictures on page 67.

Step 4: Write any difficult words on a blackboard, if available, e.g. Bengal, Bengali, Pakistan, Roshik.

Step 5: Teacher read aloud section 1: "A boy who lives in Pakistan."

Step 6: Uninterrupted narration.

Step 7: If there are several pupils they may supply anything which has been left out. If narration shows that something has been imperfectly understood, the teacher should explain, but she should not tell the children anything they should have known if they had listened carefully.

Step 8: Look at and discuss the picture on page 68.

Steps 9 and 10: Reading of the section "A land of the three seasons" followed by a narration as before.

Step 11: Look at the picture on page 69, "Guess what they are cooking?"

Steps 12 and 13: Reading of the section "Dinner with Roshik's Family" followed by narration.

Conclusion: Answer the questions on page 69. If there is time, a quick drawing might be made of something in the picture, e.g. a cooking pot. This might alternatively be modelled in clay during a craft period.

My notes...

This is a "Specimen Narration Lesson" from the CMDC's PNEU teaching programmes 1968-1977 1952-1978 Pamphlets 1-9.

It is a "first grade" lesson plan.

The book, Geography (1st Series) by A.B. Archer, M.A. and Helen G. Thomas, was subtitled Six Children from Far-away Lands.

I found two images of pages inside the book.

My first thought was that these look very textbook-y.

This particular reading was divided into 3 sections, and each section was followed by a narration. The sections are very short - 3 to 5 paragraphs, and some paragraphs have as few as two sentences. 

I have several takeaways from reading this lesson plan.

  1. The objective is not for students to learn specific facts about a country, but to "arouse interest" in the country and the people who live there.
  2. We're supposed to ask our children what we read about "last time" before reading the next chapter.
  3. Connections. We're supposed to make personal connections to the text. If we know someone who lives somewhere, we're supposed to say so. We're also supposed to connect the new information to something the child knows; in this lesson, the children have heard of India, so it makes sense to tell them that Pakistan was once part of India.
  4. We're supposed to show them where a place is located prior to reading about it, and to connect this new knowledge to prior knowledge. Where is this new place in relation to the last place we learned about? Where is this place in relation to where we are now? How can we get there?
  5. Look at the pictures and talk about what you see.
  6. Write "difficult" words on a whiteboard. In this lesson, the "difficult" words were names of places and people - proper nouns.
  7. I can imagine the teacher reading about Bombo (above) and asking, "Now, what can you tell me about Bombo's house?" or "What can you tell me about Bombo's supper?" as opposed to reading three pages and asking for a child to narrate back all three pages. A child is going to be more successful at narrating if we break a chapter up into several sections. It's not just "okay" to do this; it's necessary. It shows a child that information can be organized by topic. Narration is oral composition, and organizing information by topic is a basic composition skill.


  1. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on narration. It's helpful to break it down like this because narration can be rather confusing sometimes, I think.

    1. I agree. It can be confusing! I was glad to learn more. It helped me do a lesson with Gemma this week, using a map and a list of proper nouns.

  2. This is great! I need to mine the archives. We use a similar style book (but a bit more recent) in our third grade. I've been modeling some lessons off similar shared samples on dewey's treehouse, age it really makes so much difference in the lesson.

    1. Hi Amanda,
      The archives are really fun to explore. Which book are you using? :)

    2. It's called 52 days by Camel, about the Sahara. We also use Jungle Islands and By truck to the North, each 9 chapters with color pictures, all recommended in the Mater Amabilis curriculum, my main guide.

    3. Ooh! I like Mater Amabilis. I'll have to go back and take a look at their Y2. Thank you for the recommendations. :)