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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 Kaufman teaches first grade at Double Diamond Elementary in Reno, Nevada. She created this lesson while attending the Northern Nevada Writing Project's "Traits in the Primary Classroom" inservice class.

This Lesson:
Antonyms & Onomatopoeia

Focus Trait:
Word Choice

Lesson's Mentor Text:

I Stink!
by Kate & Jim McMullen

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: Word Choice –The concept focus is Word Choice as alliteration. In this writing word choice must follow phonics rules for beginning sounds.

Standards Addressed:

  • Write, with teacher assistance, responses to literature.
  • Generate and select, with teacher assistance, ideas for writing from a variety of sources.
  • Identify synonyms and antonyms in context.


I Stink! by Kate and Jim McMullan

This is a very descriptive story of the daily events of a garbage truck. The first page encourages the reader to guess who the story will be about, then goes into detail about the events the garbage truck completes each day. Onomatopoeias are incorporated throughout the story to bring the voice and character of the garbage truck to life.


Day 1: Ask the students to recall their 5 senses. Remind them that they are sight, sound, touch, touch, taste and hearing. Discuss and list on chart paper all the ways they might describe a garbage truck using their 5 senses. Begin the first read aloud of “I Stink” while asking the students to think about how the author describes the garbage truck using 5 senses.

Day 2: Read the story again and discuss all the onomatopoeia words the garbage truck makes. Next, take the students outside to visit the playground during recess. Talk about some of the noises that are being made in the school yard. Try to bring these sounds to life using onomatopoeia words. Example: A basketball dribbling on the ground makes the sound, “BOINK! BOINK!”


Day 3: Reread the first page of I Stink! Discuss how the author describes the character (the garbage truck) using senses.

Model, with student input, the use of this graphic organizer to create ideas for writing. Use a familiar playground item seen the day before such as a basketball, swing, or jumprope.

Hand out a blank graphic organizer, encourage students creativity as they complete their own “Who am I” graphic organizer.

Day 4: Read a “Who am I” and encourage students to guess what character I might be. Discuss what parts in the story help the reader make a correct guess.

Model with student input, the use of the graphic organizer to create a “Who am I” story. Allow students ample creativity and revision time to create and illustrate their own “Who am I” story.

Tools Needed:

  • Graphic organizer
  • 2 page flip book


Students create a two page flip book with their story on the front page and their illustration on the inside.


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