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Beanie babies and U.S. cities are the inspirations for this adventure story assignment
Language Arts, Social Studies
Title – Beanie Adventure Stories
By – Shauna Devening
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Secondary Subjects – Social Studies
Grade Level – 3-4
Unit – Writer’s Workshop
Students will use the writing process to write an adventure story.
Students will use research materials to learn about US cities.
|Materials needed : Variety of Beanie Baby animals (one for each student in the class plus one extra for practice), research materials for U.S. cities (encyclopedias, internet, atlas, etc.), writing paper, plain white paper, pencils, crayons, markers, colored pencils, large piece of construction paper for each student (any color), scissors, glue|
|Anticipatory Set : Have students draw numbers out of a hat. Starting with number one, have each student come up one at a time to pull a Beanie Baby out of a bag (don’t let them look in the bag when they draw). Have the students name their new friends, and set them on the corner of their desks.|
|Input: This lesson will take several class periods .
1. Ask the following question: If you and your beanie friend could go on a vacation to any US city, where would you go? Make a list on the board.
2. Tell the students that they are going to choose a city, and write a story about their adventures with their beanie while they were there.
3. Next, the students will research the city they chose, and decide on three places there they would like to visit (museums, landmarks, parks, etc.)
4. Once they have picked their three places, they are ready to start brainstorming and creating a rough draft. While they are brainstorming, write these questions on the board to help them. What did we see at each place? Did anything funny happen? Scary? Did my friend do anything strange? Remind them that this is an adventure story, and encourage them to use their imaginations and be creative. Tell them to explain what kind of animal their friend is in the intro of the story.
|Guided Practice/Modeling : After you have explained the assignment, have the students help you brainstorm ideas for a story. Pull out the extra Beanie Baby and give it a name. Use a local city for your trip. Pick three places to visit there and write them on the board or overhead (leave space to write by each one). Help the class brainstorm things that might happen on the trip and write them down using the questions from above (ex. While visiting the Lincoln Monument in D.C., Rainbow,my chameleon friend, blended in while sitting on Lincoln’s shoulder. I didn’t find him for four hours). Pick the ideas that you would use for the story and circle them. Have the students go through the same process brainstorming for their own stories. When they are done, they are ready to start a rough draft.|
|Check for Understanding : Meet with each student after their rough draft is finished to help them edit and discuss the story.|
|Independent Practice : Students will write the final draft of their adventure story.|
|Assessment : Students will create and share with the class a final poster project. The poster will include a final draft of their adventure story, “pictures” of them and their beanie at each of the three places they visited (these will be hand drawn illustrations), and captions for each picture.|
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