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  • 1st Grade Balanced Literacy/Writing: Using Personification to Add Detail to Writing

    Lesson Plan Created by Carin Jordan

    Summary: Using the book I Stink! By Kate & Jim McMullan, students will learn about writing from the point of view of various animals and objects. This lesson builds upon the natural inclination of young children to

    explore their world through pretend games. Students will use their imagination to liven up and stretch the

    language of their writing. Students will write riddles to share with other students about the object or animal of

    their choice. An optional extension of this lesson allows technology integration publish writing on Voki.com. All

    the characters used in this lesson are available as Voki.com avatars.



    English Language Arts State and Local Standards:

    ELACC1W5: With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions

    from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed.

    a. May include oral or written prewriting (graphic organizers).

    ELACC1W6: With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish

    writing, including collaboration with peers.


    Enduring Understandings:

    Using interesting details and figurative language adds interest and excitement to writing.


    Students will:

    Learn how to use figurative language and add details to strengthen and add interest to writing.


    After completing this lesson students will be able to:

    Write from the perspective of an animal or object and use figurative language and details to make their writing more interesting.

    Essential Question:

    How do good writers use figurative language and details to make their writing more interesting?


    Process - Tiered Graphic Organizers: Through the use of tiered graphic organizers, through which all

    learners work with the same important understandings and skills, but proceed with different levels of challenge

    and support.

    Process - Student Choice: Students will have the opportunity to select the character, animal, or object of

    their choice to complete the writing activity.

    Flexible Grouping: Students will conference with other students of their own choosing to share the riddles.


    I Stink! By Kate & Jim McMullan

  • Anchor chart paper and markers

    Ear of corn or photo of an ear of corn.

    Sample of Voki published work for shared writing. http://www.voki.com/pickup.php?scid=9499813&height=267&width=200

    Classroom Computer and interactive whiteboard

    Classroom subscription to http://www.Voki.com

    Student 3/6/14 cold write work samples for pre-assessment

    Attachments: o Student Choice boards printed in color, 1 or 2 per table o Who Am I? Differentiated Graphic Organizers

    High: Open space, high level guidance Medium: Full set of questions set up like model writing Lower: Fewest Categories, more space to write

    o Writing Rubric o Student Observational Data Checklist


    Pre-assessment based on review of student cold write work samples completed on 3/6/14 and completed

    rubric to assess current level of student writing ability.

    Based on this information it was determined that most students need to focus on adding interesting details to

    their writing. Many of the students in Ms. Collins class are observing basic capitalization and punctuation

    conventions. It was further determined that most students are within a close range of writing abilities in terms of

    content and the need to add length and details to their writing.

    This lesson, therefore, will be differentiated primarily through student choice as well as flexible grouping

    during the sharing portion of the lesson. Some level of differentiation will also be provided to several students

    in the class. One student will receive a more open ended graphic organizer, in order to allow the student to

    explore his own writing with fewer limitations. Two other students will receive a more limited graphic

    organizer designed to allow them to have more room to write.

    This lesson is intended to energize student writing through the use exciting imagery generated through student

    imagination. The lesson is also designed to engage student interest through interactive sharing activities at the

    end of the lesson and provide an optional technology extension to generate student interest.


    On the day of the lesson the teacher will invite students to the classroom carpet. Teacher will begin with a

    conversation similar to the following:

    When I was a little girl I loved to pretend. Every day I woke up and would pretend to be a different

    animal. Sometimes I was a snake, sometimes I was a monkey, and sometimes I was even a dinosaur! You

    can even pretend to be a thing, like a tall tree, a floating cloud, or even a teacup. Have any of you seen a

    movie with characters like a tea cup, a clock, and a candlestick? [Allow students to suggest Beauty and

    the Beast or prompt as needed.]

    Today we are going to read a book where the author pretends to be a garbage truck. Can you imagine

    what it would be like to be a garbage truck? Lets find out.

    Teacher will read I Stink! by Kate and Jim McMullan.



  • After reading the book, the teacher will work with students to create a piece of shared writing. The teacher will

    introduce this part of the lesson with the following remarks:

    Today we are going to do what Kate and Jim McMullan did in their book. We are going to pretend to be

    something and we are going to write from that point of view. First lets take a moment to turn to our

    elbow partners and talk about what the words point of view mean.

    After students discuss and teacher elicits and appropriate response from students, teacher will display an ear of

    corn either as a photo or (ideally) by providing the actual object. Teacher will then state:

    Today we are going to be one of these. What is this? (Wait for responses.) Yes, it is an ear of corn. Lets

    pretend that we are an ear of corn and fill in this chart together.

    After teacher and students have created this shared writing piece together, teacher will show students how they

    can publish their work using technology. Teacher will share the following link with students:



    After completing the shared writing example, the students will return to their desks. Teacher will distribute the

    Who Am I? graphic organizers as well as choice board cards for each table. Students will select an animal,

    character, or object from the cards provided. Note: Students who have a strong preference for an alternate

    character may be accommodated to ensure that adequate student interest is engaged.

    Students will complete the graphic organizer while the teacher monitors student progress and provides support

    as needed. Students who complete the exercise will be encouraged to re-read their own work and add details if


    Early finishers may begin to create a published copy of their work which they will use as a reference for the

    technology integration portion of the lesson.

    When the teacher has deemed that all students have reached a sufficient stage of process, the teacher will allow

    the students to work together in pairs or small groups to share their Who am I? writing riddles.

    The lesson will conclude with students seated on the rug and selected students sharing their work with the class

    as a whole.


  • Group Element of Differentiation


    Colin enjoys writing and is usually the most motivated and independent writer

    in the class. Therefore, Colin will receive a graphic organizer that has prompts

    but is more open ended in order to allow Colin full opportunity to express his


    Acadia, Estaban, Eric, Jason,

    Manuel, Nick, Shakira, Sophie,

    Santana, Theo

    The majority of the class will use the same format used during the modeled

    writing process. Students will be encouraged to use as much detail as possible.

    Jerome, Zoe

    Students will write using the shortened format graphic organizer to provide

    adequate room for the larger lettering. Using individual student teacher

    conferences, teacher will transcribe the students own writing in to a model

    paragraph which students will then use a model for the rewrite.

    Note: The following students receive their writing instruction during their ESOL time according to the following schedule:

    8:35 9:25: Katrina, Catherine, Rachel, Violet

    The following students participate in the school Talented and Gifted program on Mondays:

    Roland, Toby, Natalia, Wendell.

    As an optional technology extension of the lesson, students will visit the s