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A lesson inspired by the NNWP's
Six by Six
Print Guide: Traits Writing for Little Writers

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About this lesson's author:

Dee Lynn Armstrong teaches kindergarten at Rollan Melton Elementary. She has taught both kindergarten and fourth grade. She loves to write with her kindergarten students especially during interactive writing. Dee Lynn served as a NELIP Mentor for two years and is currently working on obtaining her ESL endorsement.

This Lesson:
About Frogs

Focus Trait:

Lesson's Mentor Text:

by Gail Gibbons

Thirty-six trait-based lessons for
primary writers can be found in:

The lesson on this page was inspired by the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Six by Six Guide. Click here to see how to order your own copy, which contains thirty-six trait lessons like the one found on this page.

Big Ideas behind this Lesson:

Trait Focus: Organization —The concept focus is Organization as a way to express knowledge in a way that is logical and factual.

Standards Addressed:

  • Organize and sequence with teacher assistance ideas generated through group discussion.
  • Use and expand vocabulary to communicate ideas.
  • Demonstrate an understanding that texts, pictures, and graphs provide information about the world.
  • Recall information from texts, pictures and graphs in sequence.


  1. Starting about four weeks prior to beginning our own big book, we read several picture books (fiction and non fiction) about frogs.
  2. Students completed science worksheets about a frog life cycle. Students colored -by-number a worksheet featuring a frog.
  3. Creating the following big book should come at the end of a teaching unit on frogs or another non-fiction topic.


Frogs by Gail Gibbons. This non fiction mentor text has a lot of information about frogs including life cycle, habitat and differences between frogs and toads. The illustrations are informative and easy to see.

Dee Lynn also uses “Frogs!” a Time For Kids publication. The information in this non-fiction magazine supports and adds to the information in the Gail Gibbons book and is organized by chapter. Photographs are professional and interesting to students.



  1. After reading and discussing the lives and importance of frogs, we discussed how interesting frogs are and how making a big book organized in chapters would show readers how much we have learned about frogs.
  2. In small groups, each student dictated to me the most interesting fact he/she learned about frogs. The dictated sentences were written on chart paper.
  3. As a whole group, we discussed organization and how it is easier to read about a subject when facts are grouped together in some sort of order.
  4. Each student read aloud his/her sentence to the class and we determined which chapter that particular sentence belonged to. Then the students physically arranged themselves in chapter groups.
  5. Back in small groups, each student wrote his/her sentence in pencil on a large piece of white construction paper. A parent helper, working with the small groups checked for spelling, capitalization and punctuation. Once the sentences were complete, the students traced over their writing with dark felt pens.
  6. Working with a cross-age grade buddy, the students completed sketches that supported the text.
  7. Again in small groups, with adult supervision, students drew their final illustrations on large pieces of construction paper, outlining them with dark felt pens and then using either crayons or colored pencils to complete their illustrations.

Tools Needed:

Chart paper, markers, white construction paper, pencils, erasers, dark colored sharpies, crayons.


The final product was organized into chapters according to the organization we had determined earlier. We created a title page and table of contents as a whole class. We laminated, bound and placed our big book in our classroom library for sharing.

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