Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Independent - To Be or Not Top Be - Day 7, Lesson 5: A Novel Idea

Katie Koehnemann
Bay District Schools


Students read a historical novel through a chapter-by-chapter reading, recording and re-telling presentation by small groups of students. Students have practice creating and utilizing a visual aid and the Oral Presentation Rubric.


The student reads and organizes information from multiple sources for a variety of purposes (for example, supporting opinions, predictions, and conclusions; writing a research report; conducting interviews; taking a test; performing tasks).

The student extends the expectations of the fourth grade with increasingly complex reading selections, assignments and tasks (for example, differences between fact, fiction, opinion).

The student uses strategies to speak clearly, (for example, rate, volume, phrasing, enunciation).

The student prepares for and gives presentations for specific occasions, audiences, and purposes (including but not limited to informational or imaginative presentations, research reports, extemporaneous talks).

The student uses visual aids, technology, or demonstrations to support a presentation.

The student uses nonverbal strategies to engage an audience (for example, eye contact, gestures, posture, facial expressions).

The student understands reasons Americans and those who led them went to war to win independence from England.

The student knows significant events between 1756 and 1776 that led to the outbreak of the American Revolution (for example, the French and Indian War, the Stamp Act, the Boston Tea Party).


-Class set of a historical novel of the studied time period (1763-1776)
-Student task sheet (In Associated File)
-Transparency of the Student Task Sheet
-Teacher selected small reading groups
-Work area for each group
-Student notebooks
-Transparency of the Oral Presentation Rubric
-Overhead projector with viewing surface
-Chart paper for group reports
-Markers or crayons for illustrating
-Tape for hanging up group posters
-Wall space to display posters


1. Select and have a class set of a historical novel.
2. Predetermine reading groups. There should be the same number of groups as there are chapters in the selected book, and attention should be given to grouping students for most effective learning.
3. Prepare a work spot for each group. Include plenty of chart paper, markers, crayons and other art medium for student use.
4. Allow plenty of time for students to enjoy this activity.
5. Make a transparency of the Student Task Sheet. (In Associated File)
6. Make a transparency of the Oral Presentation Rubric.
7. Have an overhead projector and viewing surface.
8. Secure wall space to display visual aids.
9. Have tape on hand.


*A class set of a historical, period (1763-1776) novel is needed for this lesson. Ask assistance from the media specialist in locating appropriate literature so you have a choice of novels from which to pick. When choosing a novel, select one that is easy and on an independent reading level. This will allow students to get through their assigned chapter with ease, as well as making it more enjoyable. (Better to turn them on with an easy read than have them plow through this activity.)
* This can be a very enjoyable activity and should be given the amount of time needed for students to do a thorough job of reading, discussing, making a representation of, and presenting their chapter, as well as giving/receiving feedback. This may be one of those days where you start students out in the morning with this assignment and just let the reading, exchange of ideas, synthesizing, illustrating, and learning take place. The group reading, discussion, and visual aid preparation can take the time set aside for Working With Words, Guided Reading, Writing Block Components, and more. Turn them loose with a good book and a group of friends with which to work and let it flow. Day 8 may be used for finishing up the visual aid, group presentations, and peer feedback.

1. Divide students into predetermined reading groups, having as many groups as there are chapters in the selected novel.

2. Introduce the novel, discussing the cover and title and having students predict what the novel is about.

3. Groups move to their prepared, designated work area.

4. Hand out a copy of the book to each student.

5. Display the task sheet on the overhead. (In Associated File) Explain each item and clarify the task for students.

6. Assign one chapter to each group. Pay special attention to the varying length of chapters and assign lengthier ones to the stronger readers.

7. Explain to students they can use a number of reading strategies to complete the chapter. Read aloud, partner reading, choral reading, echo reading, Everyone Read To ([The Teacherís Guide to the Four Blocks], Patricia Cunningham, Carson-Dellosa Publishing), etc.

8. As student groups read their assigned chapter, monitor groups and formatively assess by listening to and facilitating use of reading strategies. Meet with each group to assure they are on task, using good reading strategies, and that they are addressing any questions they may have as passages and pages are read.

9. After completing the chapter, students engage in a group discussion of the chapter. Monitor group discussions and formatively assess for understanding of the contents of the chapter, comprehension of meaning, and articulation of details.

10. Place a copy of the Oral Presentation Rubric on the overhead and review with students the Organization and Content items. Groups decide how best to retell their chapter to the rest of the class. Each group must create a poster(s) to depict the events of the chapter. Flow charts, QAD, pictorials, narratives, or overhead transparencies are all examples of ways to explain the sequence of events along with the important details of their chapter. Explain they are creating a visual aid, which is something they will have to incorporate within their own summative presentation.

11. Allow groups time to prepare their visual aid and presentation.

12. When all groups have completed their preparation for retelling their chapter, show Oral Presentation Rubric on the overhead and review with students Delivery items.

13. Explain that as groups report out, they are to score the group on both Organization and Content and Delivery skills using the rubric.

14. Begin the book review presentation. The first group tells about Chapter One. They present their visual aid and tell the chapter. (Have the visual aid, i.e. poster, hung on the wall.) Formative assessment occurs as positive and corrective feedback is give by peers using the rubric.

15. The second group continues the story by presenting the group's visual aid, hanging it next to the one depicting the first chapter, and telling about chapter two. Formative feedback is given to each group by the class before going to the next group.

16. Continue with each group until the entire book has been retold. Visual aids remain displayed. Once complete, the entire novel will be on display in the classroom.

17. Copies of the book can be placed in Self-Selected Reading baskets for students to read at leisure.


Formative assessment occurs as the teacher monitors student groups and as peers offer positive and corrective feedback. Listen for accuracy and completeness of studentsí group discussions of material read, retelling of the events and details of the chapter, and of the visual aid. Formatively assess student group presentation, peer use of the rubric, and peer feedback.


1. Creating the visual aid and chapter presentations are areas where multiple intelligences and learning styles can come into play. Allow opportunity for individuals to capitalize on their best style for learning as they participate in this activity. This is a warm-up exercise to the summative presentation, so be forgiving and flexible, affording each student the opportunity to experiment with ways they find comfortable in retelling and presenting.
2. If students would benefit, model this activity by reading the first chapter aloud and working through discussions, creating visual aids, and the retelling presentation as a whole group. Time adjustments will be necessary if a day is taken for this modification.
3. Liberty and Justice for All is an interactive Student Web Lesson. The lesson addresses this standard: the student understands reasons Americans and those who led them went to war to win independence from England. (See link to unit plan at the top of this page.)
4. United We Stand is an interactive Student Web Lesson. The lesson addresses this standard: the student knows significant events between 1756 and 1776 that led to the outbreak of the American Revolution. (See link to unit plan at the top of this page.)
5. Lessons may reflect modifications of, but are designed in conjunction with, the Reading Framework approach to classroom instruction and may be adapted to the Four Block Classroom. It is suggested that you have a historical fiction or a non-fiction book selected for use with the Shared Reading Component. Also, for the Self-Selected Reading Component, you will need to have appropriate period books available for which students to choose.
6. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unitís link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files, if any.

Attached Files

Student Task Sheet†††††File Extension: pdf

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