After studying utopian literature, students design their own utopian society, publishing the explanation of their ideal world on a blog. As they blog about their utopia, students establish the habits, practices, and organizing social structures that citizens will follow in their utopian societies. They begin by brainstorming ideas about what a perfect society would be like and then, in groups, begin to plan their project. Next, they become familiar with the blogging process, including legal guidelines and the specific site they will be using. Over several class sessions, students work on their blogs comparing their work to a rubric. Finally, after students visit one another's blogs and provide constructive and supportive feedback, they reflect on their own work. The lesson plan includes alternative handouts for classrooms where computer or blog access is limited. In this alternative, students complete the same basic activities, but publish their work using a Flip Book.
This project could be used as a Book Report alternative or as a creative way for students to express their comprehension of a short story. Students would create a book cover as a single page, or as a complete book jacket. Teachers could identify the particular information they would require for the full project to be placed in certain sections of the jacket.
This mini unit walks students through the question/discovery process of nonfiction literature. The first lesson encourages students to wonder while reading. Then students research to find the answers to their questions. They explore ways to show/write their new learning. As a class the kids work to publish 1 or 2 classroom books on the research topic. This is a great way to introduce the nonfiction unit and then let each student write thier own question book based on the process they used with the class book.
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" demonstrates that even the smallest punctuation mark signals a stylistic decision, distinguishing one writer from another and enabling an author to move an audience. In this minilesson, students first explore Dr. King's use of semicolons and their rhetorical significance. They then apply what they have learned by searching for ways to follow Dr. King's model and use the punctuation mark in their own writing. Note that while this lesson refers to the "Letter from Birmingham Jail," any text which features rhetorically significant use of semicolons can be effective for this minilesson.
With this resource, students will identify elements of setting development within multiple texts as well as recognize picture books as model texts that exemplify multiple literary elements. The lesson has a writing component where students apply the elements of setting development to revisions of their own writing.