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Lesson Plan

Teaching Shapes Using Read-Alouds, Visualization, and Sketch to Stretch

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Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Deborah Kozdras, Ph.D.

Deborah Kozdras, Ph.D.

Tampa, Florida


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology






  • Sadie and the Snowman by Allen Morgan (Scholastic, 1987)

  • Snowballs by Lois Ehlert (Voyager Books, 1999)

  • There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow by Lucille Colandro (Cartwheel Books, 2003)

  • Additional Books about Snow

  • Arts and craft materials for making snowman creations (see Preparation, 4)

  • Two- and three-dimensional geometric models

  • Computers with Internet access

  • Digital camera (optional)

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1. Obtain and review copies of Sadie and the Snowman by Allen Morgan, Snowballs by Lois Ehlert, and There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow by Lucille Colandro. According to Fisher, Flood, Lapp, & Frey (2004), there are several steps you can take to prepare for an interactive read-aloud:
  • Preview the text carefully. Read each text several times, taking note of good places to pause and prompt students to discuss shapes and patterns. Jot down some of these prompts on sticky notes and attach them to the appropriate pages.

  • Practice reading the story aloud. You want to model fluent reading and to use animation and expression to engage your students. This can involve changing the tone of your voice to denote emotions or using movements or props.

  • Prepare to discuss the text. Write down some questions you can ask during and after reading. These questions should provide students with the opportunity to share their thoughts, reactions, expectations, or predictions.
Another read-aloud resource that you might review before this lesson is Catching the Bug for Reading Through Interactive Read-Alouds.

2. Familiarize yourself with the sketch-to-stretch strategy and how it has been modified for this lesson. This strategy involves the use of a visual activity, and is used to make students think more deeply about the characters, theme, and story structure. In this case of "reading for information," the strategy has been adapted to discuss shapes and patterns in the real world. The steps you will use in this lesson include:
  • Reading a story interactively and discussing the shapes and patterns students notice in the story

  • Encouraging students to look around the classroom for shapes and patterns they see in real-world objects

  • Having students draw sketches of snowmen in small groups or individually using different shapes and patterns

  • Asking students to share their sketches in small groups and to talk about their use of shapes and patterns
Another sketch-to-stretch resource that you might review before this lesson is Guided Comprehension: Visualizing Using the Sketch-to-Stretch Strategy.

3. Have two- and three-dimensional models of shapes on hand for the lesson. These can be purchased from a teacher-supply store or created by you. Real-world objects such as balls, food boxes, or cans can be used as well.

4. Prepare large pieces of blue construction paper (if you can't find large sheets of blue paper, tape together smaller sheets) for a background, and white paper shapes for students to create their snowmen creations. Collect a variety of arts and craft materials as well; the book Snowballs by Lois Ehlert provides some great examples. These could include, but are not limited to, buttons; ribbons; shape stickers; colored paper; cutouts from magazines, catalogues, or grocery flyers; objects found in nature such as nuts, seeds, branches, leaves, stones, shells, or dried flowers; twine; fabric scraps; or plastic utensils. Have glue and tape ready as well.

5. Make a copy of Make a Shapely Snowman and the Visualizing poster for each student in the class.

6. Prepare materials for the activity centers you will use in Session 3. You can use any combination of the centers outlined below or create your own that relate to the lesson's theme of shapes and patterns.
  • Writing Center. Make a blank storyboard for each student following the pattern of There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow. Leave blanks for students to fill in, for example, "There was a cold lady who swallowed a ____." Depending on their skill level, students can fill in the blanks with either words or pictures.

  • Math Center. Gather a box of real-world objects for students to sort according to their shape. Household items, such as food cartons, work really well for this activity. Prepare some sorting mats (you might make some in the shape of snowmen) with areas where students can place objects that have matching shapes.

  • Reading Center. Choose books from Additional Books About Snow and Themed Reviews: Snow, Snowflakes and Snowmen and have them available for students to read. You should also have sticky notes available in this center.

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