Beacon Lesson Plan Library

What's a Word?

Dianne Parks


After hearing the story WILFRED GORDON MCDONALD PARTRIDGE by Mem Fox read by the teacher, students will brainstorm a list of memories and then write to a prompt given by the teacher. Writings will be scored according to a rubric.


The student uses a variety of strategies to prepare for writing (for example, making lists, mapping ideas, rehearsing ideas, grouping related ideas, story webs).

The student generally chooses specific detail and adequate word choice to support the story line.


-Fox, Mem. WILFRED GORDON MCDONALD PARTRIDGE. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 1985.
- Notebook paper
- Pencil
- Chart paper
- Markers
- Copies of prompt (see associated file)
-Copies of the rubric for each student (see associated file)


1. Get a copy of WILFRED GORDON MCDONALD PARTRIDGE, by Mem Fox, Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 1985.
2. Put up chart paper for brainstorming memories.
3. Prepare a copy of the prompt for students to look at.


1. Ask students, -What is a word?- Accept all reasonable answers. Create a list of these answers on the board.

2. Explain to students how words are used to express thoughts, ideas, and feelings.

3. Tell students to listen carefully as you read the story, WILFRED GORDON MCDONALD PARTRIDGE, aloud for the way words are used to share the story.

4. Read the story aloud.

5. Ask students to brainstorm about memories as a group. Map these ideas on the chart paper to prepare for the writing assignment.

6. Give the following prompt to students: You are 80 years old and are collecting a basket of your favorite memories from your childhood to share. Describe what you would put in your basket, the story behind each memory object, and with whom you would share your memory basket.

7. Discuss how specific details and adequate word choices will be necessary to create a picture of their favorite memories.

8. Have students create a list of their own memories as a prewriting activity. Remind students how strategies used earlier in the lesson (such as creating lists, mapping ideas, etc.) help to focus writing.

9. At this time distribute copies of the rubric to each student. Review it and answer any questions. Remind the students that they should pay attention to punctuation and capitalization, especially in the final copy. After students have completed the prewriting activities, have them begin creating their stories.

10. Students may not finish their stories in one day. Allow time for them to complete. For students who finish early, allow them to 'peer edit' using the rubric as a guide.

11. When stories are finished, have an author 'share time' with the class.


Each student will create a descriptive writing to the prompt given by the teacher. A rubric will be used as a formative assessment of student's learning. (see Associated File)
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