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Lesson Plan

Powerful Writing: Description in Creating Monster Trading Cards

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Powerful Writing: Description in Creating Monster Trading Cards

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Michelle Kimbro

Oakwood, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



Students discuss types of monsters they know from literature, comics, cartoons, and trading-card games, generating a list of descriptive words and phrases to describe them. Students then use a template to create their own monster trading cards using "powerful," vivid language to describe their creatures. Descriptive imagery and word choice combine with visual elements to create a cross-disciplinary menagerie in your class.

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Monster Trading Card Template: Students can use this template to create their own character trading cards.

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Word play allows students to learn language in a creative environment. Moreover, allowing students to play with the language opens up opportunities to increase their vocabulary and extend it to other disciplines. As Nilsen and Nilsen (2000) point out, "[W]e are suggesting that it's time to develop a process approach to teaching vocabulary. Because of international communication and new technologies, the English language is changing faster today than it has at any time since the Norman conquest. . . . We need to give students experience not just in memorizing words and their meanings, but in synthesizing, analyzing, and interacting with words" (32).

This lesson asks students to play with words by creating original names for monsters of their own creation while also stressing the use of vivid details in their description of their creations.

Further Reading

Nilsen, Alleen Pace, and Don L. F. Nilsen. "Language Play in Y2K: Morphology Brought to You by Pokemon." Voices from the Middle 7.4 (May 2000): 32-37.

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