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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:


Summer Bean teaches first grade in Reno, Nevada. She created this lesson while attending the Northern Nevada Writing Project's "Traits in the Primary Classroom" inservice class.

This Lesson:
Some Animals Don't Do That!

Focus Trait:
Idea Development

Lesson's Mentor Text:

Dogs Don't Wear Sneakers
by Laura Numeroff

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: Idea Development —The concept focus is Idea Development as a way to express what topics don't do.

Standards Addressed:

  • Write across the curriculum.
  • Read and share writing with others.
  • Use prewriting strategies to plan written work.
  • Draw or write to communicate.


First, we read and discussed Laura Numeroff’s autobiography: If You Give an Author a Pencil.

We stopped on page 18 to discuss how she got the idea to write, Dog’s Don’t Wear Sneakers.

I proposed that we pretend she needs more ideas for her next book and she asked our class to send her some ideas.


Dogs Don't Wear Sneakers
by Laura Numeroff

Chimps Don't Wear Glasses
by Laura Numeroff


  • Day 1: After generating and sharing several ideas on the rug using our pocket chart sentence frame (see below) the kids returned to their desks. They pulled out their personal writing journals and wrote as many silly sentence ideas for Laura Numeroff that they could think of. When time was up they circled their favorite silly sentence. Then they read their ideas to their partner and had to explain why they chose their favorite sentence to be published in our class book.

  • Day 2: They transferred their favorite sentence on to their class page and illustrated it. The humor of this book idea comes from having the children illustrate the opposite of what the sentence reads. Look at Isabella's “Horses don’t swim.” Well, here we see them doing just that!

Tools Needed:

  • Sentence strip with the sentence fame:


written on it. You could also just write the sentence frame on the board.

  • Class book page typed up with sentence frame.
  • Optional tool: Have magazine pictures, animal books, or photographs of different kinds of animals posted around the room to help generate their sentences.



First, they wrote as many sentences as they could think of in their journals. Then they circled their favorite sentence and shared them with a partner. They then transferred their sentence to their own page for our class book. Each page is put into a sheet protector and bound in a binder. This then became a class book that travels home every night with a new child in what our class refers to as the “book bag.” Included in the book bag is the mentor text along with our class book for each child to read with their family and then return the next day.

Optional idea: Send home a blank page of _____don’t ______! sentence frames and ask each family to think of other silly sentence to add to the class book.



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