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Lesson Plan

Using Children's Natural Curiosity to Lead to Descriptive Writing

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Using Children's Natural Curiosity to Lead to Descriptive Writing

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time 40 minutes
Lesson Author

LaDonna Helm

LaDonna Helm

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



From Theory to Practice



Inspired by the book It Begins with an A, this minilesson invites kindergartners to combine their experiences with familiar objects and descriptive writing by making a class book. First, during a reading of It Begins with an A, students discuss descriptive works, number words, size words, and other words that describe objects in the book. Next, students practice by giving three clues that describe familiar objects named by the teacher. Students are encouraged to develop more specific and descriptive clues. Then, each student thinks of an object and draws it on the back of a sheet of paper. On the front of the paper, they write three clues that describe the object. Finally, the completed pages are combined to create a book that can be shared with family members and peers before adding it to their classroom library.

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In her article "Letting Go of 'Letter of the Week,'" Donna Jarvis explains: "I quickly learned that one-to-one interactive writing was a powerful way to celebrate what children already know while assessing their knowledge, thus providing immediate support tailored to each child's need." This lesson expands on this idea, as students demonstrate that: young children can develop a sense of the relationships between letters and sounds when they are engaged in writing for a meaningful purpose, and new learning develops by connecting familiar to new information.

Further Reading

Bell, Donna, and Donna Jarvis. "Letting Go of 'Letter of the Week.'" Primary Voices 11.2 (October 2002): 10-24.

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