Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Going to Grandma's

Jennifer Marshall


After listening to and reading [The Bag I'm Taking to Grandma's] by Shirley Neitzel, students pack their bags for such a trip.


The student uses knowledge and experience to tell about experiences or to write for familiar occasions, audiences, and purposes.


-A copy of the book: Neitzel, Shirley. [The Bag I'm Taking to Grandma's]. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1995. (This is a great book for shared reading. The repetition engages the students and encourages participation.)
-1 Large brown grocery bag
-A small brown lunch bag for each student
-1/2 Sheet of white drawing paper for each student
-Crayons or markers
-Paper and pencils for writing
-A bulletin board for the display (See Preparations, step #3)


1. Obtain the book, [The Bag I'm Taking to Grandma's] by Shirley Neitzel.
2. Collect materials.
3. Prepare bulletin board by covering it with paper and border. On the large brown grocery sack, display the words “Going to Grandma's.” This will be the center of the bulletin board. (After the activity, each child's drawing is attached to their own small brown lunch bag and stapled around the large bag. The writing samples can be placed under each bag.)


1. Ask, “How many of you have ever packed your bags to go on a trip? Was it difficult to decide what you should pack?” We are going to read about a little boy planning a trip to Grandma's house, and he is having a very hard time deciding what to take with him.

2. Read the story. Be sure to use hand movements and voice variation when reading. By using both gestures and vocal variation, the teacher helps the children remember what portion of the story comes next. When you are finished, the students will have enjoyed the book so much that they will want to read it again and again.

3. Have students retell portions of the story by describing the different items the character wanted to take on his trip.

4. Brainstorm with the children about other items that could be taken on a trip and record them on the board.

5. Give students a 1/2 sheet of white drawing paper and assign them to illustrate at least five items they would pack to take on a trip.

6. After the students have completed their illustrations, gather the group to allow the students to share their drawings.

7. When each child has had the opportunity to share the drawing, have them create a paragraph describing the items they are taking. The students should also give a reason for packing each item. (Depending on the age of your students, it may be necessary to help them generate a topic sentence.)

8. Upon completion of this activity, collect and assess the drawings and writing samples. Then display them on the bulletin board for everyone to enjoy.


The illustrations and writing samples are assessed. Students should be given an opportunity to retell the story in sequence, discuss the rhyme, rhythm and patterns that appear in the story and then write/draw about the story. Formatively assess students as they do these things.

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