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Lesson Plan

All About Our Town: Using Brochures to Teach Informational Writing

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades 2 – 4
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Eight 40- to 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Emily Manning

Emily Manning

Denton, Texas


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology






  • Alphabet City by Stephen T. Johnson (Puffin, 1995)

  • City of Numbers by Stephen T. Johnson (Puffin, 1998)

  • Chart paper

  • Travel and attraction brochures

  • A local phonebook and local maps

  • Disposable cameras

  • Computers with Internet access

  • Overhead projector

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1. Obtain disposable cameras, about three for a class of twenty students. You may choose to ask a local store to donate them or to send a note home requesting funds to help purchase them (see Letter to Parents 1).

2. Make sure that students have permission to use the Internet, following your school policy. If you need to, reserve two 40-minute sessions in your school's computer lab. These do not need to be on consecutive days (see Sessions 3 and 4).

3. Visit and familiarize yourself with Tips from the Pros. You may also want to bookmark it on your classroom or lab computers.

4. Gather a variety of resources about towns, cities, and travel including:
  • Websites about your community and its local attractions. ConventionBureaus.com may help you get started; it lists convention and visitor's bureau sites around the world. You might also encourage your students to visit a mapping website. Bookmark any websites you will use on your classroom or lab computers.

  • Samples of a variety of travel brochures. Ideally these will be from local attractions. Your local visitor's bureau should be a good resource. You will want at least three or four different brochures and should get more than one copy of each if possible (see Session 1).

  • A local phonebook and local maps.

  • Books about cities and towns. You will want a couple of picture books such as Alphabet City and City of Numbers, both by Stephen T. Johnson, to use in Session 4. The City and Town Booklist will give you some additional ideas. Use these books as read-alouds and for independent reading during the project. You might choose to prepare a list of book responses for students to work on when they finish assignments early. These can include comparing and contrasting the book towns to students' own town, making a "city" dictionary, or writing a book review.
5. Decide how you will create the final brochure. You can use a program such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft Publisher. Or you can use an online tool like the ReadWriteThink Printing Press. You will want to familiarize yourself with the software or tool you will be using and may want to generate some sample templates to share with the class. The Sample "Our Town" Brochure should give you some ideas about a brochure template; you may want to make copies of this to distribute to students.

6. Make copies of the Editing Checklist, New Town Interview Questions, Brochure Planning Sheet, and Camera Note for each student in the class. Edit the Letter to Parents 1, Letter to Parents 2, and Letter to Parents 3 as necessary and make copies for each student in the class. Make a transparency of the Paragraph Puzzle.

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