Students will write a descriptive paragraph about a fictional dinosaur character using writing process steps and extend their writing with illustration and Word Art title. Teachers in grades 3-5 can introduce the fun and easy tech integration aspects of this lesson into a writing lesson of their own.
ObjectivesStudents will write a descriptive paragraph about a fictional dinosaur character using writing-process steps; they will extend their writing by creating a title graphic for their stories by integrating a fun and very-easy-to-use tech tool lesson.
dinosaurs, creative writing, writing process, WordArt, MicroSoft Word
About This Lesson
This lesson introduces an easy-to-use MicrosoftWord feature that students can use to bring their dinosaur stories to life. Before teaching the lesson, you should practice using the WordArt application so you are comfortable presenting it to students. You will see how easy it is to use -- you'll master this tool in 60 seconds or less -- by using this WordArt Tutorial.
Read to your students the book How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen. In this story, dinosaur children going to bed show a striking similarity with human kids' behavior in the same situation. It's a very funny, engaging book that students will enjoy. Ask students How are the dinosaur children and real children alike?
Follow-up that read-aloud by reading another Yolen book on the same theme - for example, How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten? or How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Room?
Next, invite students to pretend they have a special dinosaur friend of their own. Have them give their "dinopal" a name (like their own name -- such as Paulasaurus, Janoraptor, or Erinlongneck).
Begin the writing lesson using writing process steps that are appropriate for your students' grade level. In first grade, students are able to brainstorm describing words (adjectives) as a group; do this activity with your students to create a class list that all students will use as they write. Also invite students to share ideas about the kinds of things their dinopal likes to do.
Then instruct students to create a plan for their writing. For this purpose, they might use a graphic organizer like this example.
If your students are familiar with the Kidspiration program, they might use it to create their graphic organizer/story web.
Next, students use their story web/graphic organizer to write their first draft. This is a "sloppy copy"; the emphasis is on writing, not correct spelling. The adjective list that students brainstormed and your classroom word wall can be a big help to students as they are writing.
After a first draft is written, revision and editing are accomplished during a student/teacher conference.
Next, teach students how to create their story titles using the WordArt feature of Microsoft Word. (See how to use WordArt.) If this is the first time students are using Word Art, model and present the procedure in the way you introduce any other new computer activity. You might have older students or parent volunteers help out. The final copy of the students' stories should be handwritten (or typed in a word processing program) and illustrated on the paper with the WordArt title.
See examples of my students' DinoPal writing and illustrations on our Our Dinopals Web page.
AssessmentAssess students' final results -- their illustrated, descriptive writing samples about fictional dinosaur friends. In addition, assess their skill at using the WordArt tool.
Marci McGowan, H. W. Mountz Elementary School in Spring Lake, New Jersey
Copyright © 2007 Education World
Originally published 01/19/2006
Links last updated 03/04/2007