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Lesson Plan

Guess What's in the Bag: A Language-based Activity

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Guess What's in the Bag: A Language-based Activity

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time 50 minutes
Lesson Author

LaDonna Helm

LaDonna Helm

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



After discussing the importance of descriptive language, as well as speaking and listening skills, students practice describing a series of objects. They then take turns reaching into a bag to describe a hidden object, using only their sense of touch. After five clues are given, the other students try to guess what is in the bag, based on the descriptive language used by their classmates. Finally, after the hidden object is guessed or revealed, students discuss additional ways to describe the object. Students can continue to play the game independently, using an online interactive, or with their parents outside of class.

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What's in the Bag?: This online version of What's in the Bag? exposes students to simple text, along with audio, as they play the game.

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Young children can use descriptive language in authentic and purposeful ways to communicate in large-group settings. In this lesson young children develop speaking and listening skills as a part of language development. This shared language experience emphasizes the importance of both roles and, as Lindfors (1999) points out, "[R]elating meaning and expression is the essence of both speaking and listening. The speaker expresses his meaning out loud; the listener doesn't. The speaker goes from idea to expression (word), the listener from (the speaker's) expression (word) to idea. Thus the two simply proceed in different directions, but the act for both participants is to relate meaning and expression, to render 'word' meaningful" (147).

Further Reading

Lindfors, Judith Wells. 1999. Children's Inquiry: Using Language to Make Sense of the World. New York: Teachers College Press and Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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