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

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About this lesson's author:

Brenda Freund teaches kindergarten at Lincoln Park Elementary in Sparks, Nevada. She has taught many grades for over 15 years, but her favorite experience has been in kindergarten, watching her students go from barely able to hold a pencil to becoming readers and writers.

This Lesson:
I Caught It!

Focus Trait:
Sentence Fluency

Lesson's Mentor Text:

I Was Walking Down The Road
by Sarah E. Barchas and Jack Kent

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The lesson on this page is featured in the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Six by Six Guide. Click here to see how to order your own copy, which contains thirty-five other trait lessons besides the one on this page.


Big Ideas behind this Lesson:

Trait Focus: Sentence Fluency —The concept focus is Sentence Fluency as rhythm and cadence. We can use repetitive language patterns, rhythms and cadence in our writing, making stories engaging and easy to read.

Standards Addressed:

  • Listen for rhythm, rhyme and alliteration.
  • Draw or write, with teacher assistance, simple stories.

Connecting to a Mentor Text:


Reading:
I Was Walking Down The Road by Sarah E. Barchas and Jack Kent. This is a wonderful predictable rhyming tale that my students always adore. The repetitive language pattern has rhythm and cadence, and the illustrations are engaging and humorous. Children can read this book early on in the school year. If you have a big book version of this story, it’s ideal for shared reading.

Talking: This lesson is appropriate the first half of the school year once the students have learned all the letter sounds and symbols, but I do it in the spring to coincide with a unit on insects.

1. We begin by reading “I Was Walking Down the Road,” enjoying the predictable language pattern and rhythm in the short repetitive sentences. On the second reading the children can easily jump in with the rhymes and with… “I caught it. I picked it up. I put it in a cage.”

2. We discuss and clap the rhythm of the words in the story, at first focusing only on the predictable sentences… “I caught it. I picked it up. I put it in a cage.”

3. Later we focus on the rhythm of the rhyming sentences (i.e., I was walking down the road. Then I saw a little toad.) We practice reciting the sentences choppy in order to easily hear & feel the beats. We make this fun by adding marching around the room while tapping the rhythm. Then we say the sentences smoothly, as we would normally speak them, to practice sentence fluency, but continue to tap the beat. We identify words with one and two syllables.

4. We decide to make our own class book using this same language pattern with its engaging rhythm. We count the beats in the rhyming sentences and notice each line has seven beats. We must follow this pattern.

5. We brainstorm a list of insects and then try our best to come up with rhymes for a few. The rule is we must use different insects than the author uses in her story.


Writing:

We do the writing portion of this lesson whole group as an interactive writing activity over several days. Once the students have written the words “I caught it. I picked it up. I put it in a cage,” I make several copies of the sentences and cut and paste them onto the pages of our class big book. This helps us finish this project in a timely manner and still maintain interest.

Some of our other couplets were, “I was carrying a blue rug. Then I saw a little ladybug.” and “I was choosing a green tie. Then I saw a little dragonfly.”


Tools Needed:

Chart paper, black marker, scissors, glue, blank pages for class big book, pictures of the chosen insects, self-portraits from students (to be characters in the story), and any clip art or pictures drawn by students depicting other key vocabulary


Publishing:

We laminate the pages and make a class big book, displaying it in our room for easy access during read-the-room. It is a favorite class book to revisit again and again. As a sponge activity, I read the book aloud while children march around the room and act out the collection walk.



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