Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Crazy Critters Creative Writing Assignment

Andrea Farage

Description

During the Crazy Critters creative writing assignment, students develop characters that take part in a narrative involving creatures that reside in a student's imagination.

Objectives

The student focuses on a central ideas or topic (for example, excluding loosely related, extraneous, or repetitious information).

The student demonstrates a commitment to and an involvement with the subject that engages the reader.

The student uses an effective organizational pattern and substantial support to achieve a sense of completeness or wholeness (for example, considering audience, sequencing events, choosing effective words; using specific details to clarify meaning).

The student proofreads writing to correct convention errors in mechanics, usage, and punctuation, using dictionaries, handbooks, and other resources, including teacher or peers, as appropriate.

The student analyzes and revises draft to further develop a piece of writing by adding or deleting details and explanations; clarifying difficult passages; and rearranging words, sentences, and paragraphs to improve meaning.

The student uses electronic technology appropriate to writing tasks (including but not limited to the Internet, databases and software) to create, revise, retrieve, and verify information.

Materials

-Peer Evaluation worksheet (Download master from Associated File.)
-Evaluation and development worksheet (Download master from Associated File.)
-Creative Critter drawing worksheet (Download master from Associated File.)
-Creative Critter rubric (Download master from Associated File.)
-Story starters worksheet (Download master from Associated File.)
-Create a creature worksheet (Download master from Associated File.)
-Student evaluation and comment sheet (Download master from Associated File.)
-Chalkboard and chalk or Dry-Erase Board and Dry-Erase Markers
-Transparencies and transparency markers, if you choose to use transparencies instead of worksheets

Preparations

The teacher needs to:
1. Make copies of worksheets 1-8. (See attached files.)
2. If you want to save paper, these pages can be placed on overhead transparencies for use in class.
3. If using overhead instead of worksheets, be sure to have overhead and transparency pens available for use during this week.
4. Bring in your favorite “creature” or “critter” short story to read to the class on the first day of this lesson.
5. Bring in a sample of “good” descriptive writing.

Procedures

Day One
1. Prewriting: Ask students to name their favorite creatures and critters from stories they have read. As students discuss their favorite creatures and critters, ask them to think about what made these creatures different from others they have heard or read about. Why do they like these creatures better than others they have read about? Choose one of your favorite short stories with a unique creature or critter as a main character. Look for a story that covers the figures of speech you will be working with later. Read the story to the class and ask them to write down what was unique and memorable about your creature.
2. Tell students to create some unique creatures of their own. Give them the following examples to help generate ideas: a giraffe with a short neck, a zebra without stripes, and an elephant without a trunk.
3. Have students alter animals that are already in existence to create their crazy critters. They should write a minimum of five crazy critters on their paper. If your classroom structure permits, pairing two students together helps generate ideas in this stage. A worksheet on crazy critters is attached in the Associated File to help with this. (Worksheet #1.)
4. After allowing 10 minutes in the brainstorming session, have students write one paragraph using story starters provided in attached Associated File. (Worksheet #2)
5. Students substitute their critters into the information in parenthesis on Worksheet #2.
6. The five crazy critters your students have written on their papers is all the information they need for a solid paragraph. Students decide, based on the sentence starters, what the main point of their paragraph should be…(Students can refer to worksheets 1 and 2 in organizing their paragraphs. This will provide them with the introductory sentence, the supporting details, and they will simply create a concluding sentence that wraps up everything.)
7. Make sure students concentrate on wrapping up their paragraphs about their crazy critters with a strong concluding sentence. Depending on the skill level of the students in your class, you may want to provide possible concluding sentences that help wrap up student paragraphs. Examples are provided on Worksheet #3 in the Attached File.

Day Two
8. Upon finishing their paragraphs, students swap with a partner who fills out a peer evaluation sheet. (See #4 in attached file.) Peer evaluation sheets are used to help determine what can be added to the paragraph to clarify the main point.
9. After filling out peer evaluation sheets, peers should quietly work together explaining the information they put on one another’s evaluations. After answering each other’s questions, peers begin work on their own writings.
10. Students use the peer evaluation and notes to expand their writing. The goal is to develop this one paragraph into a strong five-paragraph essay that uses three of the five characters they have created. Therefore, students should decide which characters they like most and who they will eliminate. The evaluation and development sheet helps them do this. (See #5 in attached file.) Those who progress at a faster pace may finish the sheet before class is over. Others may have to complete the form for homework.

Day Three
11. Day three begins with a class discussion of the characters that were dropped from student stories. Why students chose to drop these characters is discussed, and teachers can elaborate on what makes a good character. Follow this discussion with a brief review of the objective: the final five-paragraph essay must clearly convey the main point they have chosen with their sentence starter.
12. For additional clarification on the essay requirements, Worksheet #6 provides students with a format of the essay.
13. The remainder of the class period should be used for student writing and conferencing with individuals who are having difficulty understanding the main point or essay structure. Students hand in rough drafts for the teacher to review and redistribute during the next class period.
14. At this time, the teacher should pair students with others who balance with their ability level. From this point on, students work together to review and revise their work.

Day Four
15. Day four begins with a reading of some of the better examples of student work. Make sure to make copies of the pieces you want to read so that you can hand out all papers before you begin to read the superior works. It also helps if you have time to type the pages to place them on the overhead so that you can retain a student's annonymity while you cover what can be improved upon in the paper.
16. Before students begin their revision, help them understand how they can improve the quality of their writing by adding more detail through the use of adjectives and descriptive verbs. Read a sample of a piece of literature you find to be especially vivid and point out the adjectives, descriptive verbs, and limited use of pronouns and fillers.
17. After students rewrite their rough drafts based on the comments on the teacher evaluation sheet and the parts of speech worksheet, have them swap papers with their partners.
18. Review the peer evaluation rubric and have students evaluate their peer’s papers using the rubric. (Peer evaluation rubric is Worksheet #7. See attached file.) Make sure students understand that you will evaluate their papers on the same rubric.
19. Students take home peer evaluation sheets and type their final drafts correcting errors in spelling, punctuation, word choice, and grammar. Students type the final draft in a word processing program which is handed in with a cover sheet. (See #8 in attached file. You can choose to have students complete the cover sheet in class or at home. Instructions are on the sheet provided in the attached file.
20. Use the rubric provided to assess student achievement of objectives. (See #9 in attached file.)

Assessments

During the lesson and activities, the following formative assessment criteria are used:
Student self-assessment:
-Peer Evaluation worksheets
-Peer Evaluation rubric
Teacher assessment:
-Crazy Critters Creative Writing Rubric
-Rough draft of paper and student evaluation worksheets
-Worksheets 1-8 can be graded for extra credit
3=complete mastery of skills,
2=some mastery of skills,
0=no mastery of skills

Extensions

Students with abundant creativity and more than competent writing skills can be paired with students who have more difficulty with writing and creative assignments. This should be determined through prior writing activities. The pairing should balance the learner levels and allow one student to help another.

Extensions:
Lesson #2 Crazy Critters teach Parts of Speech (teaching parts of speech)
Lesson #3 Crazy Critters Are Figuratively Fantastic (teaching figurative language skills)

Attached Files

Worksheets 1-9 Rubrics     File Extension: pdf

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