Three Favorite Things

Title:  My Three Favorite Things
Subject:  Writing
Grade Level:  Third

Learning Goal:  
Students will write 3 paragraphs describing their three favorite things from home using descriptive language and details that answer valuable questions their reader may have concerning their favorite things.

Content Standard:
EL.03.WR.25:  Write descriptive pieces about people, places, things, and experiences:

  • Develop a unified main idea
  • Use details to support the main idea

NETS-S Standard:
Creativity and Innovation:  Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
Create original works as a means of personal or group expression

Materials and Resources Needed:

  • Paper lunch bags
  • Kidspiration Template
  • Half-class set of Laptops
  • Various art materials

Summary of Instructional Technology Strategies Used:

  • Develop templates to target learning activities and make the most of instructional time
  • Chunk technology instruction into mini lessons throughout class time
  • Scaffold the skills/options within a particular program
  • Utilize a variety of 2:1 configurations with students – half & half

Lesson Steps:
Introduction:  
Begin this project by sharing your three favorite things from a brown paper bag.  As you share your items with the class focus on providing details and building background about the items you are sharing.  After sharing your personal items, ask students to generate a list of details they remember about your items as well as questions they have about the items you have shared.  Record these details and questions for future use.  Have students spend time brainstorming three favorite things they will bring to school the next day.  Encourage students to choose items that are special to them for various reasons.

Writing and Creating
Throughout the next few days students will take turns working at two different stations.

Station 1:  Writing and Publishing using Kidspiration Template
Half of the class will be working with the teacher to walk through the writing process using a Kidspiration template.

  • Students begin by listing their three favorite items.
  • After listing items students write 3 important details for each item – encourage students to use simple words or phrases in the brainstorming process.
  • When students are ready they may move to the writing mode of Kidspiration and begin to add greater detail for each item.  Students should focus on answering specific questions that tell their reader about that item and why it is one of their favorites.
  • When students have completed their brainstorming and writing mode in Kidspiration they can export their writing to Word to create a final published product.

Station 2:  Art and Creation
When students are not working on the writing and publishing portion of this project they will be creating an art piece to accompany their writing.  Ideas may include: triptych art, torn paper creations, collage, pastel drawings, Sharpie and watercolor, etc..

Assessment:
Final drafts of writing may be assessed using a student/teacher checklist of writing ideas and mechanics (see below) or the state writing scoring guide.

Reflection:
When I initially taught this lesson I borrowed computers and had every student working on the laptops at once.  Not only did this limit my ability to interact with each student in regards to their writing, it also created many more technology glitches that interfered with the writing process.  Teaching this lesson in a “half-on / half-off” manner allows the teacher to focus on a small group of students and provide additional feedback and support as needed.  This also provides all students the opportunity to work on both pieces of the project on the same day in shorter segments, encouraging focused work and efficiency with time.
The Kidspiration Template that I used is set to only export the topic notes to the Word document.  This is helpful if you want a final draft in paragraph form.  If you would like to see the diagram and the details students added once they entered the writing mode, this can be changed through the Activity Wizard prior to having students work on the template.

Three Favorite Things

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