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Lesson Plan

Using Children’s Natural Curiosity to Lead to Descriptive Writing

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Using Children’s Natural Curiosity to Lead to Descriptive Writing

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time 40 minutes
Lesson Author

LaDonna Helm

LaDonna Helm

Urbana, Illinois

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Student Objectives

Instruction & Activities

Extensions

Student Assessment/Reflections

 

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

Students will

  • listen to a story and focus on the clues used to describe each object.

  • think of a familiar object and draw it.

  • develop three descriptions for the object.

  • write a description of each object with assistance from an adult or peer.

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Instruction & Activities

  1. Begin by reading It Begins with an A aloud to the class.

  2. While reading the book, be sure to point out descriptive words (i.e. color words, number words, size words) that describe the object. Discuss the word choice that is used and the ways that the diction helps make each clue effective.

  3. After reading and discussing the book, practice describing objects with the group. For example, name a familiar object (for instance, an apple) and ask the students to give three clues to describe it. For this example, they might respond with "it is red, you eat it and it is a fruit." Another student may recognize that these descriptions also apply to a cherry or strawberry.

  4. Use this as a teachable moment and probe and ask the students to rethink their clues. The second time they should develop more specific clues such as "it can be red or green or yellow, it is a fruit and it grows on a tree."

  5. Write each of the three descriptions on the front of chart paper; then draw the object on the back of the paper. Repeat this process as necessary.

  6. Tell students that they will share their clues with one another and judge them for effectiveness before they are published. Peer editing such as this encourages students to be specific and precise when writing for an audience.

  7. Ask students to get an object from the classroom to describe. Actually obtaining and manipulating the items allow kindergartners to use their five senses to really get in touch with the objects. This may lead to the development of better descriptive writing.

  8. Ask students to develop three clues to describe the object, to write the clues on one side of the piece of paper (with assistance as necessary), and to draw a picture of the object on the other side of the piece of paper.

  9. Help each student develop and write descriptions of the object.

  10. After students from each group have completed a page, combine all of the pages, and add a cover to make a classroom book.

  11. Establish a schedule to allow each student the opportunity to take the book home and share it with family members.

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EXTENSIONS

  • Encourage students to read the book to the principal, librarian and other kindergarten classes.

  • Encourage students to develop more than three clues to describe objects.

  • Ask classmates or peer-tutors from other grade levels to assist with the writing process.

  • Make a Guess Book of objects that begin with the letter T or other specific letters.

  • E-mail three clues to friends and family members and ask them to guess the object. They can then reciprocate to make for ongoing email interactive fun.

  • Make a Guess Book of objects that can be found in your classroom.

  • Ask each student to write three clues and draw a picture of an object found at home.

  • Publish clues and answers using the Flip Book student interactive:

    • On the odd pages, students can use the "All Text" layout to type their clues.

    • On the even pages, students can use the "Drawing" layout to draw the answer.

    Alternatively, make copies of the blank flip book, trim and assemble the books, and have students publish their clues and answers, using markers and colored pencils.

  • Extend this lesson with the National Geographic Xpeditions lesson Who Am I?,  which uses a similar guessing game to explore animals that live in the desert.

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STUDENT ASSESSMENT/REFLECTIONS

  • Working with individual students within this small group setting will allow you to do on the spot, authentic assessments. You will be able to gauge which students need help with letter recognition, letter sounds, letter writing and writing words.

  • It will also allow you to challenge students on various developmental levels. For example, students who need help with letter recognition can get practice by naming letters as you write them. Students who need help with letter sounds can do so by helping sound out words. This activity also encourages students who can write words to apply their skills when writing three descriptions.

 

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