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Lesson Plan

The Houdini Box: What Did Houdini Hide? Writing Creative Endings

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The Houdini Box: What Did Houdini Hide? Writing Creative Endings

Grades 3 – 6
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Jennifer Gould

Ames, Iowa


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



This lesson comprises five lessons that students love. During the first session, read aloud The Houdini Box by Brian Selznick to the class. Students then follow the steps of the writing process to create a new ending for this book. Students gain experience brainstorming, drafting, editing, and polishing their writing. Because their story endings must flow well with the rest of the book, students must understand what the book is about. The goal is for them to understand what they’re reading and to demonstrate their knowledge of the book’s content and their own creativity through a writing piece.

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  • Comprehension Cube: Students complete this worksheet and construct a cube after the read-aloud of The Houdini Box by Brian Selznick.

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Athans, S.K., & Devine, D.A. (2008). Quality comprehension: A strategic model of reading instruction using read-along guides, grades 3-6. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

  • The teacher should assess students' comprehension of the topic presented in the unit.


Peterson, S. (Ed.). (2003). Untangling some knots in K–8 writing instruction. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

  • Writing and revising in the classroom often involves peer discussion, whether in a one-to-one or group setting.

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