Lesson Plans

February Presidents' Day Black History Month
Presidents' Day Lesson Plan
Students work together to write a class book, with a few pages dedicated to each president
Prepare

Divide students into groups of 2-3 and have them choose a president to focus on.

You might have students choose from a list you provide.

If possible, spend some time as a class analyzing and annotating other informative texts to pull out key features.

You could also talk about how to work effectively as a group.

Review the StoryJumper platform if students haven't used it before, using the tutorial video.

You can also review how to setup a group book.

Here's an example First Five Presidents book.

Research

Groups should carry out research on their president, selecting the information they will include.

You might include specific requirements such as:

  • Early life
  • Run for presidency
  • Time in office
  • Later life
  • Legacy
  • Images
  • Fun Facts / Quotes
  • Add Your Voice*

* In StoryJumper, students can record their voice saying famous quotes from their president or narrating their book.

Write

After allowing enough time for research, allocate a few pages in the book to each group, based on the chronological order of their president.

Students should then write their pages, thinking about informative writing, appropriate images and a clear layout.

Review

When students have finished, review the different sections as a class to learn about the different presidents and to discuss things that each group has done well on their pages.

If you have a copy of a similar book made by last year’s students, then you could also review that together.

Publish

Publish the class book to keep a copy in your classroom so students can feel & listen to previous classes’ books each year.

The published book will link to any voice recordings that students add to the book.

Knowing their books will be published adds a level of accountability to students' work and encourages higher standards.

Alternative Plan: Write Individual Books

Each student could create their own book based on a president they choose, telling their life story through text and images.

To jump start your students' books, you can create a template book that you preload with text & pictures and then students can build off of it.

After student books are shared by you, parents have the option to publish their child’s book.

Black History Month Lesson Plan
Students write their own story books from the perspective of a member of the civil rights movement
Prepare

Have students choose a member of the civil rights movement they would like to work on.

You might provide a list for them to choose from.

Explain that they will be writing the story of this person, told from the subject’s own point of view.

Review the StoryJumper platform if students have not used it before, using the tutorial video.

To jump start your students' books, you can create a template book that you preload with text & pictures and then students can build off of it.

If you aren’t familiar with how to set up students with their StoryJumper accounts, review the Teachers’ Guide.

Here's an example I Am Rosa Parks book.

Research

Students should carry out research on their subject and choose which information to include in their story.

You might add specific requirements such as:

  • Early life
  • Their impact on the civil rights movement
  • Later life
  • Legacy
  • Images
  • Fun Facts / Quotes
  • Add Your Voice*

* In StoryJumper, students can record their voice saying famous quotes or narrating their story.

Write

After completing their research, students should write their stories using the first person narrative.

Remind them to think about the best structure for their story and the layout for each page.

Review

When students have finished, click “Share Student Books” on your class page so that students can see each other’s books.

Have them read each other’s books to learn about the different members of the civil rights movement and to discuss things that other students have done well.

Publish

Share the student books with parents, too, so they can read the books and choose to publish copies for themselves.

Knowing their books will be published adds a level of accountability to student work and encourages higher standards.

Alternative Plan: Write a Class Book

Students could work together on one class book with each student or small group of students writing a section about their subject as a short story.

Review how to setup a group book.

March Women's History Month Irish Heritage Month
Women's History Month Lesson Plan
Students write their own informative books about a famous woman from history
Prepare

Talk as a class about inspirational women in history that students know.

You could brainstorm a list on the board that you later use to select women to write about.

Decide if you want students to create individual books or work in small groups of 2-3.

In StoryJumper, a group of students can collaborate on the same group book while each student works on their own computer.

If you aren’t familiar with how to set up students to start their books, review the Teachers’ Guide.

To help your students get started, you can create a template book with a general outline and share it with them. Then they can add their own content into your template.

Read & Analyze

Have at least one informational text about a famous woman available to read and analyze together.

You could use StoryJumper books such as this book on Amelia Earhart or this book on Harriet Tubman. Also, you could reference hard copy published books about famous women.

As a class, or with students working in groups, make a list of the type of information that is included in the book (e.g. early life, later life, why they are famous, impact, death, etc...)

Review the StoryJumper platform with students if they haven’t used it before, using the tutorial video.

Research

Students carry out research on their famous woman.

Discuss which sources are appropriate based on the grade and research experience of the class.

Students could choose their own famous woman from history or you could assign one. (e.g. Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Blackwell, Amelia Earhart, Ada Lovelace, Florence Nightingale, Rosa Parks, Sacagawea, Harriet Tubman, and many others.)

Direct students to research and include any/all of the following for their famous woman:

  • Early life
  • Later life
  • Why they are famous
  • Long-term impact
  • Quotations
  • Timeline
  • Bibliography
Write (and Narrate)

After sufficient time for research, ask students to write their books.

Remind students to think about informative writing, appropriate images and a clear layout.

In StoryJumper, students can also record their voice saying famous quotes from the person or narrating their text. They can also add background music and sound effects.

Review

When students have finished, click “Share Student Books” on your class page. Then they can review each other's books to learn about other famous women from history.

You can also use this opportunity for peer feedback and editing.

Publish

Share the student books with parents, so they can read their child’s book and choose to publish it as a hardcover or paperback book.

They could also be published to be kept in the classroom, giving a real purpose to the writing.

Knowing their books will be published adds a level of accountability to student work and encourages higher standards.

Alternative Plan: Write A Class Book

Students could work together as a class to create a "Women in History" book where each student/group takes a few pages to provide information about a different woman.

You could then publish this collective book to keep in the classroom to review with next year’s students.

shamrock Irish Heritage Month Lesson Plan
Students write their own story books based on the real story of St. Patrick (or other Irish person/event)
Prepare

This lesson plan is designed for students to write a fictional story based around the real history of St. Patrick. Alternatively, you could choose a different event/person from Irish history to discuss and then have students write stories from there.

Other possible people/events include:

  • Famous people of Irish descent (but could’ve lived anywhere in the world)
  • The Great Irish Famine
  • The Easter Rising

If you aren’t familiar with how to set up students to start their books, review the Teachers’ Guide.

Learn the History

Discuss what students know about St. Patrick (or other Irish person/event). Chances are most of what they know about St Patrick is not true.

Tell students the real story of St. Patrick. You could use this link to read the story as a class, or have them watch this video. As you watch/read for a second time, pause to make a list of key information or events on the board.

If you are covering another Irish person/event, identify appropriate resources to teach students about this topic.

Explain that students will be writing a story based around the life of St. Patrick (or other Irish person/event). This could be:

  • A story about a real event in his life, fleshed out with imaginative detail
  • A fictitious story about something that could reasonably have happened to him
  • His entire life story, using their imagination to add interesting details or to fill in gaps
  • A version of his story set in modern times

Review the Story Jumper platform with students if they haven’t used it before, using the tutorial video.

Write (and Narrate)

Remind students to use appropriate vocabulary, eye-catching and relevant imagery, and a clear layout.

In StoryJumper, students can also record their voice to narrate their books and add background music and sound effects.

Review

When students have finished, click “Share Student Books” on your class page so that students can read each other’s books.

They could make suggestions for improvements and comment on things that have been done well.

Publish

Share the student books with parents, so they can read their child’s book and choose to publish it as a hardcover or paperback book.

They could also be published to be kept in the classroom, giving a real purpose to the writing.

Knowing their books will be published adds a level of accountability to student work and encourages higher standards.

Alternative Plan: Research Based Writing

This lesson plan is designed so that students do not need to carry out research.

However, if you prefer to cover a variety of historical people/events across the class, students could carry out their own research.

They could also write more informative texts incorporating real facts about these topics.

April Personal Yearbook Reflective Journal
Personal Yearbook Lesson Plan
Students write their own personal yearbooks, creatively reflecting on their school year
Introduction

This project is designed to be creative so each student plans the content and structure of their own yearbook.

If you prefer to be more prescriptive, you can specify the sections they should all include.

You can also create a template book that outlines the basic structure and then share it with your students.

Brainstorming

Tell students they will each be creating their own personal yearbook reflecting on their year.

They can keep the book forever to remind them of their highlights from this school year.

You can use the following brainstorming method to get students thinking about what they could include in their personal yearbook:

  • Each student should have a piece of paper. Fold it in half four times so you end up with 16 boxes. Number the boxes 1-16.
  • Each student writes an idea for a section of their yearbook in box 1. (e.g. “group photo and list of class members”)
  • Each student writes their name on the back of their paper.
  • They then pass their paper to another student who reads their idea and writes a new idea in box 2. Continue this process until all 16 boxes are filled. Students can repeat ideas they see on different papers if they like.
  • Finally, return the sheet to its original owner.

If students need help thinking of ideas, you can use the list below to offer suggestions.

You could wrap up with a discussion of some of the suggested ideas, as a class or in small groups.

Section Planning

Now that students have some ideas, they should decide on the sections they will include in their own personal yearbook.

There should be at least 6-8 sections, although they can have more. Encourage them to get creative!

Suggestions include:

  • School field trips
  • What they learned from key projects
  • Personal achievements
  • Best memories. Proudest/Funniest moments
  • Class members. Who they are and quotes from them
  • News events during the year
Book Creation (and Narration)

Review the Story Jumper platform with students if they haven’t used it before, using the tutorial video

Make sure students know they can upload their own photos.

They can also record voices to narrate different sections or allow their classmates to say their quotes.

Give students time to write their books. You might also build in time for peer feedback sessions.

Sharing & Publication

When students have finished, click “Share Student Books” on your class page so that students can read each other’s books.

After students are happy with their books, share the books with parents, so they can read their child’s book and publish the memories as a hardcover or paperback book.

When students know their books will be published and kept forever, they are encouraged to do their best work.

Alternative Plan: Class Yearbook

Alternatively, you can also create one collaborative class yearbook where each student is assigned one section to complete.

All students can collaborate and work on the same group book at the same time. To do so, go to your class page, click “Create a group book”, and invite all the students to the book.

Reflective Journal Lesson Plan
Students write journals reflecting on their learning and achievements during the school year
Introduction

This project uses questioning to get students to reflect deeply on their year.

Encourage students to always explain their answers with details to promote this reflective behavior.

Display the following question on the board or read it out loud:

What is something you learned this year that you think you'll remember forever?

Ask students to "think-pair-share" their answers, which should remind students what was covered this school year.

Start a list on the board to remind students of what they've done over the past school year.

Remind them of projects, trips, topics, skills learned, etc...

You could also allow them to look through some of their work and books.

Focusing on Reflections

Explain to students that they will be reflecting on their year across all the work they have completed.

They will record their reflections in a StoryJumper book using text, photos, illustrations, and voice.

Choose reflective questions from the list below for students to focus on.

Remind them that these reflections are about their experiences in school only.

Discussing their questions and answers with a partner can help students develop their reflections.

  • What is one thing you learned this year that you will remember forever?
  • What are the two most useful things you learned this year?
  • What are the two most interesting things you learned this year?
  • What is your proudest achievement this year?
  • What was your best piece of work this year?
  • What was the most challenging part of this year?
  • If you could change one thing that happened this year, what would it be?
  • What is something that you could have done better this year?
  • What do you think you've improved at most this year?
  • What advice would you like to have given yourself at the start of the year?
  • What is something that you are going to try to do differently next year?

Student answers should cover a range of different experiences and subjects.

Students could show their questions and brief answers for you to review before they start writing their books.

Book Creation (and Narration)

Review the Story Jumper platform with students if they haven’t used it before, using the tutorial video.

Make sure students know they can upload their own photos and record voices to narrate different sections.

Students can then start creating their reflective journals on StoryJumper.


Suggest to students that they take 2-4 pages per reflection question.

Allow as much freedom (as appropriate) on how students structure their journals.

Here's an example structure:

  • Section header. Include the question.
  • Answer. Provide enough detail so someone outside of the class would understand it.
  • Images/Photos. Visually support their answer.
  • Reasons for their answer. Again students should include sufficient details. You could spend some time reviewing reasoning conjunctions to ensure a variety of language.

Give students time to write their books. You might also build in time for peer feedback sessions.

These journals serve as a culmination of the year’s work, so make sure students carefully check their spelling, punctuation and grammar.

While students are writing, check in with them to discuss their chosen questions and answers.

Ensure that each student covers a range of experiences in their book, and that they are writing clear and detailed reasons.

Sharing & Publication

When students have finished, click “Share Student Books” on your class page so that students can read each other’s books.

It’s helpful for students to read others' reflections. They might want to go back and improve their own books.

When students are happy with their books, share the books with parents, so they can read their child’s book and publish the memories as a hardcover or paperback book.

Knowing their books will be published and kept forever encourages higher standards.

May Mother's Day
Mother's Day Lesson Plan
Students create a special keepsake book all about their mom to celebrate Mother’s Day
Introduction

It’s nice to start this lesson with a general celebration of moms.

Encourage students to share their favorite memories of their moms, why they are grateful for their mom, what they love about their mom, etc...

They can discuss as a class, in small groups, or with a partner.


Keep the conversations positive and be sensitive to students in the class who have alternative family situations. You may decide to include fathers or other family members.

Planning Books

Tell students they will each be creating a special book to celebrate their own mom.

You can tell them that they will be able to print copies or send digital copies for Mother’s Day, so they create their books with their moms as an audience from the start.

Each book will include several sections, covering different aspects about their own mom.

Students can plan their own books by coming up with the sections they want to include, or by choosing from a list of possible sections (see below).

Alternatively, if you want to be more prescriptive, create a template book with sections prepared for students to fill in.

Depending on available time and the grade level of the class, students could include 4-8 different sections in their book.


However you decide to have students structure their books, have them spend time planning what to include in each section.

Suggested sections:

  • How It All Started - list background facts about their moms, including birthplace, date of birth, family, etc... Students should think about how to lay out the facts in an eye-catching way.
  • Mom’s Life Story So Far - chronological biography with interesting details. This could cover several pages telling different periods of her life with illustrations.
  • All About My Mom - facts and details about who she is now, including where she lives, job, hobbies, family, friends, etc... Students should think about how to lay out the pages in an eye-catching way.
  • My Favorite Mom Story - recall a favorite anecdote from their mom’s life. This could be illustrated over several pages.
  • My Favorite Memory with my Mom - an illustrated scene with a text explanation. Students could include a description of the memory as well as details about why it is their favorite and what it meant to them.
  • A Poem About My Mom - a poem using a set format like a Haiku or acrostic poem. You could spend a whole lesson on this section learning how to write the poems as a class.
  • If My Mom Were an Animal - a page with an illustration of the animal and an explanation.
  • What Makes My Mom Special - a page explaining their thoughts and opinions with accompanying illustrations.
  • Why I Am Grateful For My Mom - a nice page to close the book with, listing things students are grateful for.

Students may not know all the facts and information they need, so have them investigate for homework.

They can make a list of the information they need to find out and create a series of interview questions, or just have informal conversations with their moms.

Decide how much time you want to spend on this information gathering process.

Note: If students want their books to remain a secret, they can tell their moms that these conversations are for a school project.

Book Creation

Students should use their plans to create their individual books.

As students create their books, encourage them to include visuals such as props and characters from the StoryJumper art library to illustrate each section.

Students can experiment with the different backgrounds, props, and characters available in the art library.

If students are able to bring in photographs, they could be included, as well.

Students should also choose a title for their books or choose one as a class.

When students have finished, you can click “Share Student Books” on your class page so that students can read each other’s books.

You could allow for peer feedback so students can make improvements.

It’s important to check that students feel comfortable having others read their personal books.


When students are happy with their books, they can be shared with parents.

If students want to have hardcover or paperback books published for Mother’s Day, you can order books on behalf of parents 2-3 weeks before Mother’s Day. Delivery times depend on your location.

Alternatively, they can give the eBook version to their mom. The eBook can be downloaded immediately as a .pdf file and printed on any color printer.

Alternative Plan: Class Book

Another option is for the entire class to write one class book with each student contributing a page about their own mom.

You could define what should be included on each page or allow students to design their own page dedicated to their mom.

September All About Me
All About Me Lesson Plan
Students Get to Know Each Other
Overview

Approximate Grade Level: 2nd - 6th grades

Objectives

  • Students share facts and details about themselves
  • Students learn what they have in common with other students, fostering new relationships

Resources to help you prepare

  • All About Me Graphic Organizer. Download it and customize it.
  • All About Me Template Book. To add it to your class and customize it, follow the directions for Template Books.
Into

Opening Activity - Two Truths and a Lie

  • To get students excited about sharing facts about themselves, start off with a quick game of Two Truths and a Lie.
  • Share with the class two things about yourself that are true and one that is a lie. Let the students guess which one is the lie.
  • Invite a few other students up to the front to provide their own two truths and a lie.

Instruction

  • Tell students they will be creating their own All About Me book that will be shared with the class.
  • Distribute the All About Me Graphic Organizer. Explain that students will provide facts about themselves by answering each question. Space has been provided on the graphic organizer for students to plan their illustrations and narration. This is just meant for planning (bullet point list of pictures to include, background options, props, sound effects, etc) and not meant to actually be drawn out now.
  • Watch the tutorial video together as a class if this is their first time creating a StoryJumper book. Be sure to point out that students can upload their own photos. This will be very useful for facts they might have photos for already (ie. sports, pets, family members, etc...). Also, review with the class the video about adding narrations. Students will be narrating their books and might also choose to add sound effects or background music provided in StoryJumper.
Through

Guided Practice

  • Choose one question to do together as a class. For example, “What is your favorite subject?” Have students answer the question on their graphic organizer.
  • Next, ask students what they might do for the illustration/narration of that page. Collect several ideas so that students are inspired for ideas on other pages as well. For example, if their favorite subject is science, possible ideas might be: planets, a beaker, chemical equation, photo of student at last year’s science fair, magnets, or rocket ship sound effect.

Independent Practice

  • Students will complete their All About Me facts and illustration ideas on the Graphic Organizer.
  • When ready, they will log into StoryJumper to create their digital book.
  • Students will access the All About Me template book that you set up and they will begin filling in the pages.
  • To make their books even more special, students can narrate their books, add background music, and add sound effects. Be sure to have a dedicated space or time for students to add their narrations so that it's not too noisy when they record.
Beyond

Peer Review

  • When students have finished their books, click "Students Finished their Books" at the bottom of your class page.
  • Scroll down to "Share Books with Parents & Students". After you enter some info and click Share Student Books, students can read their classmates' books.
  • Ask students to read and comment on 3 other students’ All About Me books. This will allow students to get to know each other better and provide feedback to their peers. You might consider discussing examples of appropriate comments ahead of time.

Story Time

  • Give students an opportunity to present their completed books. You could do this with just your class, invite other classes, invite administrators and staff, or even invite their parents. Students will take turns reading their All About Me books and showing the illustrations. This can be done using the digital book or the published version (if purchased).
  • The All About Me book could also be used for sharing during a Student of the Week type activity.

Order published copies of student books

Teachers

  • Consider ordering published (hardcover / paperback ) copies of your students' books as a reward for students or to provide examples for future classes.
  • Knowing that their books will be published adds a level of accountability and importance to their work, encouraging higher standards and a greater sense of pride in their work.

Parents

  • Parents might be interested in purchasing a copy of their child’s All About Me book as a keepsake. After you click Share Student Books, you'll see the ordering instructions that you can email to parents or give to them when you see them in person (e.g. open house or parent/teacher conference)
October Haunted Halloween Haiku
Haunted Halloween Haiku Poems
Students learn about poetry through a Halloween theme
Overview

Halloween is a great time to learn about poetry.

This lesson plan focuses on haiku poems, but you could customize it to teach limerick, lyrical, or acrostic poems.

Approximate Grade Level: 3rd - 6th grades

Approximate Lesson Duration: 1.5 - 2 hours

Student Objectives

  • Understand what a haiku is (or other poetry type that you choose)
  • Be able to correctly identify the number of syllables in a word
  • Be able to write and publish their own haiku (or other poetry type that you choose)

Resources to help you prepare

  • Haunted Halloween Haiku Graphic Organizer. Download it and customize it.
  • Create a StoryJumper group book and share it with your class. This way each student can contribute their haiku to the same class book. Enter each student's name on a separate page to make it easier for students to go right to their page and begin.
  • Use our Halloween props/scenes like the ones shown above. Search for "Halloween" in the "Props" and "Scenes" panels on the left side of the editor.
Into

Opening Activity - Clap it out!

  • Ask students to raise their hand to give you a Halloween word (eg. pumpkin, ghost, skeleton, etc...). When they share the word, write it on the board.
  • After a word is written on the board, ask the students how many syllables it has. Have the class clap out the syllables of the word together. (eg. skel-e-ton = 3). Write the number of syllables next to the word.
  • Continue doing this until you have developed a sizable list of words and syllables on the board.

Instruction

  • Tell students they will be creating their own Haunted Halloween Haiku that will be published and shared with the class.
  • A haiku is a type of poem from Japan that only has 3 lines. The first and last lines have 5 syllables and the middle line has 7 syllables.
  • Because a haiku is so short, it's sometimes easier to focus on a single theme or item. For example, Halloween (in general) or skeletons.
  • Share this animal haiku with the class and confirm together that all haiku rules were followed (# of lines and # of syllables):
  • Green and speckled frog

    Hopping on a lily pad

    Ribbit, ribbit, jump

  • Watch the "How to Create a StoryJumper Book" video with the class if this is their first time creating a StoryJumper book. Be sure to mention that they can upload their own art or use the StoryJumper art. Also, review the "How to Narrate Your Book" video with the class. Students will be narrating their books and might also choose to add sound effects or background music.
Through

Guided Practice

  • Model writing a haiku on the board for students to see. You might want to have this haiku written ahead of time. Be sure to use some of the words from the list on the board or add some of your own before starting your haiku.
  • Remind students they have a word bank on the board to help them with their writing, but they may also use words that aren't on the list.
  • As you write, stop and check each line with the students, clapping out the number of syllables. If it's too long, talk through how you might rework it by choosing shorter words.
  • After your haiku is finished, go back and underline the words that came from the word bank.

Independent Practice

  • Distribute the Haunted Halloween Haiku Graphic Organizer.
  • Students will first create their own Haunted Halloween Haiku on paper.

Speaking and Listening

  • Students will pair up and read their haiku to their partner. The partner will listen carefully. Then they'll also read the haiku and clap out the syllables to help ensure the number of syllables is correct.
  • Then students will switch roles.
  • If changes need to be made, students will make them now to complete their haiku.

Creating the Class Book

  • When they're ready, each student will log into StoryJumper and will see the class book that you set up earlier. They will click on the book, "edit" it, and add their haiku to page that you designated for them.
  • After they add their text, they can decorate their poems with props, colors, scenes, and different fonts.
  • To make their poems even more special, students can narrate their poems, add background music, and add sound effects. Be sure to have a dedicated space or time for students to add their narrations so that it’s not too noisy when they record their voices.
Beyond

Peer Review

  • Because haiku poems are so short, after every student has finished their page in the book, ask students to read the entire class book.
  • Students can add online comments on other students’ haiku poems. This will allow students to continue to practice haiku poetry and provide feedback to their peers. You might consider discussing examples of appropriate comments ahead of time.

Order published copies of the class book

  • Consider ordering published (hardcover / paperback) copies of the class book as a reward for students or to provide examples for future classes.
  • The published StoryJumper books will also include a link to the students' narrations, so readers can listen to your students reading to them.
  • When students know that their books will be published, they'll feel a greater level of accountability and importance to their work, encouraging higher standards and a greater sense of pride in their work.
  • Parents will also be interested in purchasing a copy of your Haunted Halloween Haiku class book as a keepsake. On your StoryJumper class page, after you click Share Student Books, you'll see the ordering instructions that you can email to parents or give to them when you see them in person (e.g. open house or parent/teacher conference)

Story Time

  • Give students an opportunity to share their completed haiku poems. You could do this with just your class or invite other classes, administrators, and parents. Students will take turns reading their Haunted Halloween Haiku poems and showing the illustrations they created. This can be done using the StoryJumper published hardcover / paperback books or the online version of the book.
  • Alternatively, you could project the digital book to the class and play the recorded narrations.
Nov/Dec Holiday Traditions
Holiday Traditions Lesson Plan
Overview

Approximate Grade Level: 1st - 6th grades

Approximate Lesson Duration: 45 min. lesson + 90 min. writing and creating a book

Student Objectives

  • Understand what a tradition is
  • Write a narrative story about their favorite holiday traditions
  • Publish a book, including narration

Standards / Skills

Preparation & Materials

This lesson plan is flexible and can be used for any holiday, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year's, etc...

Into

Opening Activity - Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up!

  • This activity is a great way to get students moving, but also helpful in generating ideas.
  • Give students about 30 seconds to silently think about the word "tradition" and what they think it means.
  • Ask your students to stand up and put their hand in the air. When you say go, they will find another student with their hand in the air, give them a high five, drop their hand, and tell them what they think "tradition" means.
  • After both partners have had a chance to share their definition of "tradition", they raise their hand again and find a new partner, high fiving them and sharing with them. They'll continue this process, finding a new partner each time, until you say stop or the timer goes off.
  • When students return to their seats, ask for 3 volunteers to share what they think "tradition" means.

Instruction for students

  • Define "tradition": Something that your family has done for many years, typically around a holiday. Maybe this is something your parents did because their parents did it and now you do it, too.
  • Create a story about your holiday traditions
    • Students should write about their traditions as a story, not simply answering the questions on the graphic organizer.
    • If you have other academic goals (i.e. sequence of events, introductions, moral, etc...) be sure to review them now and let students know they need to be included in their story.
  • Think about how you'll illustrate the story
  • Write and illustrate your story on StoryJumper
Through

Guided Practice

Independent Practice

  • Students will begin thinking more about their holiday traditions and completing the graphic organizer. Walk around to ensure students are on track, occasionally calling out a student’s great work and sharing what they wrote to help others along.
  • After students complete their Graphic Organizer, they should draft their Holiday Traditions story on paper. Remind students that this is a story, not just a list of answers.

Speaking & Listening

  • Pair students up and have them share their stories with each other. The partner that is listening should stop the reader whenever something isn't clear to them and offer suggestions on possible changes. The partner reading will consider these changes and make them if desired.

Differentiation

  • As a challenge option, you could have students write about their holiday traditions through the eyes of a fictional character. This allows students to write about non-fiction events in a more creative and fictional way. Some ideas include:
    • An alien came to visit you for the holidays. What did they observe? What did they do? How did you make them feel at home?
    • A family pet (real or make believe) is telling us about your holiday traditions. What would they say? Is any part of the story a little different because a pet is telling it?
    • A made up family (human or animal) is celebrating the holidays like you. Write about your holiday traditions as if that family was doing the same thing.
    • Holiday traditions in the future. Talk about your holiday traditions as if they were happening in the distant future. How would things change?
  • As a remedial option, if creating a full narrative is too much at this time, you could have students simply enter their answers from the graphic organizer into the pages of their StoryJumper books. This still allows students to think about, write about, and share their holiday traditions.
Beyond

Create their books

  • Students will access their StoryJumper accounts and begin creating their Holiday Traditions book.
  • Students can illustrate their books using the props and scenes provided by StoryJumper or using their own photos.
  • To make their books even more special, students can narrate their books, add background music, and add sound effects. Be sure to have a dedicated space or time for students to add their narrations so that it’s not too noisy when they record.

Peer Review

  • After students have finished their books, click Share Student Books on your class page, so students can read each others' books.
  • Ask students to read each others' books and to comment on them. This will allow students to provide feedback to their peers. You might consider pairing students ahead of time to ensure each story is read and receives comments. Be sure to discuss examples of appropriate and inappropriate comments.

Story Time

  • Give students an opportunity to share their completed stories. You could do this with just your class, invite other classes, invite administrators and staff, or even invite their parents. This could be done as:
    • a read aloud to their buddies in a different grade
    • a "Star of the Week" activity
    • a start of the day story
    • a group story time where you have 5 or so students present their books
  • Alternatively, you could project the digital books onto a screen and use the recorded narration to present.

Order real books!

  • These completed stories will make excellent gifts for the holidays. Be sure to give parents the Parent Order Handout from the Share Student Books section.
  • You could also purchase copies of the best student books to use as models for next year's students and keep them in your classroom library.
  • When students understand their work will be published as real books from the start of the lesson, they'll have a greater sense of pride in their work.
 
More: Narrative Writing StoryStarter Plan


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