Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Where No Student Has Gone Before

Leslie Briggs
Santa Rosa District Schools


As a pre-reading activity for the novel, A WRINKLE IN TIME, cooperative writing groups create a story about an unknown planet suddenly invaded by humans.


The student drafts and revises writing that -is focused, purposeful, reflects insight into the writing situation;-conveys a sense of completeness and wholeness with adherence to the main idea;-has an organizational pattern that provide for a logical progression of ideas;-has support that is substantial, specific, revelant, concrete, and/or illustrative;-demonstrates a commitment to and an involvement with the subject;-has clarity in presentation of ideas;uses creative writing strategies appropriate to the purpose of the paper;demonstrates a command of language (word choice) with freshness of expression;has varied sentence structure and sentences that are complete except when fragments are used and purposefully; andhas few, if any, convention errors in mechanics, usage, and punctuation.

The student produces final documents that have been edited for-correct spelling;-correct punctuation, including commas, colons, and semicolons;-correct common usage, including subject/verb agreement, common noun/pronoun agreement, common possessive forms, and with a variety of sentence structures,including parallel structure; and-correct formatting.

The student identifies common themes in literature.


-Visual Cues for Writing (objects from nature which the students can use for inspiration-beehive, coconut, shell, gourd, etc.)
-Rubric for Scoring (FL/FCAT Writes!)
-Group Assignment Sheet


The teacher will do the following:
1. Collects visual cues for writing.
2. Arranges desks for cooperative learning groups.
3. Assigns students to cooperative groups. (3 to 4 work best.)
4. Prints out one copy of “Group Assignment Sheet.”
5. Obtains a copy of the FL/FCAT Writes! Scoring Rubric


1. Teacher assigns students to cooperative writing groups and reviews proper behavior for groups: appropriate noise level, attention cues, movement in classroom, etc.
2. Each group receives a visual cue for writing. Possible objects include beehives, shells, gourds, etc. The object becomes a part of the student created planet.
3. Each group receives an assignment sheet.
4. Students plan a story about a group of people inhabiting an unknown planet.
5. Teacher instructs students to begin their stories with a description of the setting first, then characters and plot.
6. Student writing groups continue sharing and writing.
7. After 15 to 20 minutes of writing, teacher announces, “Your planet has just been invaded by unknown forces-HUMANS!”.
8. Student groups continue revising and writing.
9. On the second day, the teacher instructs the students to finalize and edit stories.
10. Teacher regains everyone’s attention and reviews the meaning of theme. The teacher poses the question: What is the theme of your story? Student responses should lead to a discussion of GOOD vs. EVIL.
11. Teacher asks the whole group to think of examples from books, film, and television which demonstrate the theme of GOOD and EVIL. Teacher writes all responses on the board.
12. Teacher instructs students to review their story and to highlight all phrases and sentences that support the idea of GOOD vs. EVIL.
13. Each group selects a spokesperson to stand and share the story with the class.
14. Teacher collects and scores each essay.
15. Students begin reading the novel.


Student writings are assessed using the FL/FCAT Writes! Rubric. The teacher will also need to review the highlighted phrases and sentences. The highlighted areas show support for the theme of GOOD and EVIL.


This writing activity is a good prewriting activity for the novel, but if your students are interested in SCI-FI, this is great! The teacher may want to allow students to openly discuss writings. The teacher may even allow students to vote for the “best” of show story and award a prize to the group.

Web Links

Web supplement for Where No Student Has Gone Before
FL Writes! Home Page

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.