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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:

Anne Newlin teaches first grade at Moss Elementary in Sparks, Nevada. She worked to help us create the original Six by Six Guide in 2008, then built this lesson in 2009 while attending an inservice class sponsored by the Northern Nevada Writing Project.

This Lesson:
The Colorful Desert

Focus Trait:
Sentence Fluency

Lesson's Mentor Text:

The Deep Blue Sea: A Book Of Colors
by Audrey Wood

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: Sentence Fluency —The focus is on how sentences build through a “building on” book.

Standards Addressed:

  • Students understand that living things live in different places.
  • Demonstrate voice to print match.
  • Identify high frequency words to build fluency and comprehension.
  • With assistance, choose prewriting strategies to plan written work.
  • With assistance, draw or communicate ideas in written form.

Talking and Reading:

During our color unit, I tie in a study of the Nevada Desert. We study the Nevada state tree, state flower, state bird and the state animal, as well as other Nevada desert animals. I read The Deep Blue Sea by Audrey Wood as my springboard to a class book about the colors in the desert.

After the read aloud, we brainstorm desert animals, flowers and trees and their color. Ideas are written down on chart paper.

We discuss the order of The Deep Blue Sea and then negotiate the best order for our book. We choose ideas from our brainstorm that match the ideas in the picture book: instead of the sea, we have the desert- instead of the rock, we have a mountain, a pine tree for a palm tree and a bluebird for the parrot.

 


Writing:

This is a class book that we interactive write over the course of 5 days. Rather than follow the pattern of the picture book, I decided to make our book have a simpler pattern that tied in with the sight words we are studying.

  • Day 1- We write: I see the big brown desert. (Write each color word with that color marker.)

    I photocopy the following words 3 times to be used later: the big brown desert

 

  •  Day 2- We write: I see the purple mountain in

    I use the photocopied words from the previous writing to finish off the sentence to say: I see the purple mountain in the big brown desert.

    I photocopy the following words 2 times to be used later: the purple mountain

 

  •  Day 3- We write: I see the green pine tree on

    I use the photocopied words from the previous writings to finish off the sentence to say: I see the green pine tree on the purple mountain in the big brown desert.

    I photocopy the following words 1 time to be used later: the green pine tree

 

  • Day 4- We write: I see the bluebird on

    I use the photocopied words from the previous writings to finish off the sentence to say: I see the bluebird on the green pine tree on the purple mountain in the big brown desert.

 

  •  Day 5- We end our story with an ending similar to the one in the picture book.

    We write: And over the desert shines the big yellow sun.

 

I assign illustrating jobs to four groups of students:

  • Group 1-the big brown desert (I will need 7 illustrations- one for the front and back cover)
  • Group 2- the purple mountains (I will need 6 illustrations)
  • Group 3- the green pine tree (I will need 5 illustrations)
  • Group 4- the bluebird (I will need 4 illustrations)

The mountain, pine tree and bluebird illustrations will be removable by attaching sticky Velcro to the backs of them, so that students can manipulate the book as they read it.


Tools Needed:

Wood's picture book, sentence strips, markers, boo-boo tape, construction paper, crayons, paint, Velcro stickers


Publishing:

This is a class book and the book will be placed in the class library for students to manipulate and read.


(Click the image to see it in larger form.)

 


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