Descriptive Writing and the 100th Day of School
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Learning to write nonfiction text is an important literacy skill. This lesson guides students in writing descriptions of 100th day bottles they create at home. They will write clues about their bottles for a guessing game, practice descriptive writing, and create a class book. Several pieces of literature appropriate for use with this lesson are suggested.
Clues worksheet: Students will use this helpful handout to write three descriptive clues about the items in their bottles.
From Theory to Practice
"Our literate society demands that we read and write a wide range of texts." Since a great deal of the texts we read and write as adults are nonfiction, it is important that we guide children in learning how to competently read and write in the different nonfiction genres. This lesson provides students with practice in descriptive writing, along with opportunities to read their own and their classmates' written descriptions.
Common Core Standards
This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.
This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.
NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts
- 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
- 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
- 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
- 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
- Assessment form
- 100th day of school booklist
- Cover page
- Parent letter
- Book page
- Clues worksheet
- Writing worksheet frame
- Writing worksheet questions
- Open writing worksheet
The lesson can be completed in three class sessions. The first session should take place prior to the 100th day of school, the second session on the 100th day, and the third session after the 100th day.
In preparation for the at-home activity, prepare a sample 100th day bottle to share with students as a model of what they will be doing at home. Write out three descriptive clues and place a label on the bottle. Place the bottle in a bag to conceal it. Have another empty bottle on hand.
Students will develop descriptive writing skills by
- Writing three descriptive clues for the items in their 100th day bottle
- Completing a worksheet that involves writing descriptions about the items in their 100th day bottle
- Creating a page about their 100th day bottle to contribute to a class book
Session 1 (prior to the 100th day of school)
|1.||Prepare students for the project they will be working on at home for the 100th day of school.
|2.||Inform students that they will be working at home to create their own 100th day bottles, and they will also be learning how to write descriptions about the items they decide to place inside. Tell them that they will be playing a game to guess what is in each other's bottles and it will be important to bring the bottle to school in a bag and not to tell anyone in class what item they used.
|3.||Send home information about the project to students' parents or caregivers. Each student should take home:
Note: Have some inexpensive materials (e.g., paper clips, thumbtacks, or rubber bands) readily available at school to assist any students who need help finding items for their bottle at home.
Session 2 (on the 100th day of school)
|1.||To kick off the 100th day of school, begin with any of the following activities:
|2.||Invite students to play the 100th day bottle guessing game.
|3.||Lead students in a class discussion as they compare the various items included in their classmates' bottles. Some topics and questions are:
|4.||Discuss with students why certain clues were better than others. Did anyone use the same clue even though they had different objects, such as "It is made out of metal" for paperclips and nails? Which clues were easy to figure out? Which ones were hard? Which ones were general and which ones were specific?
|5.||After the class discussion, have students work on completing one of the following writing worksheets, depending on their individual writing abilities.
In this session, students will create and publish a class book about their 100th day bottles. The purpose of this activity is to create a book that all students in the class will be able to read. The book is simple in format and follows the same pattern for each page. This will allow each student to not only read about the bottle he or she made, but also read about classmates' bottles. A photograph or illustration will be used on each page to link to the descriptions the students write.
|1.||Provide each student a blank copy of the book page to fill out. For example:
Marshall brought 100 chocolate chips to school in his bottle. They are small and brown.
|2.||Have each student visually document the bottle that he or she created by either taking a photograph or drawing an illustration of the bottle. Include it on the bottom half of the book page.
|3.||Assemble and bind the students' pages together along with the cover page to make a class book.
|4.||Read the book aloud to the class and place it in the classroom reading area for students to enjoy on their own.|
- Read books about the 100th day of school. Some suggestions are included on the 100th day of school booklist.
- Access these other ReadWriteThink.org lessons related to descriptive writing:
- For additional classroom ideas for the 100th day of school, access the following websites:
- Celebrate the 100th Day of School! (ReadWriteThink.org Calendar)
- Celebrate the 100th Day of School (Scholastic)
- Math/100th Day (Mrs. Alphabet)
- Celebrate the 100th Day in 100 Ways (Education World)
- Celebrate the 100th Day of School! (ReadWriteThink.org Calendar)
Student Assessment / Reflections
Assessment for this lesson primarily involves keeping anecdotal notes, observing students during the lessons, and evaluating their completed work. The assessment form can be used for record keeping.
Students' descriptive writing abilities can be assessed:
- From the clues they write
- From the writing worksheet they complete
- From the page they create for the class book