Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Whose Voice Do I Hear?

Kelly Toomey


Students learn about the power of voice in writing by completing a story using words following a particular voice. They also utilize their knowledge of the parts of speech to complete this activity.


The student uses various parts of speech correctly in written work (including but not limited to using objective and subjective case pronouns, using singular and plural possessive forms of nouns, using common and proper nouns, using correct forms of adjectives, verbs, and adverbs).

The student uses creative writing strategies appropriate to the format (for example, using appropriate voice; using descriptive language to clarify ideas and create vivid images; using elements of style, such as appropriate tone).


-Overhead projector
-Two overhead projector transparencies
-Copies of worksheet for each student (See attachment.)


1. Make an overhead transparency of -Mary Had a Little Lamb.- (See attached file.)
2. Make an overhead transparency of -Mary Had a Little Lamb- with blanks provided. (See attached file.)
3. Make a copy of classwork assignment for each student in the class. (See attached file.)


1. Lesson Introduction:
Begin with discussion of what voice in writing means. Explain that any well- written assignment has a strong voice and this element is essential in the development of their writing skills. Every word and the way it is used influences voice. Then read -If You Are a Hunter of Fossils- by Trish Granier as an example.
2. Review with students the basic parts of speech such as noun, verb, pronoun, adjective, adverb, interjection, conjunction, preposition. Their basic understanding of these parts of speech is necessary to complete this lesson.
3. Tell students that we will complete a story by filling in words that follow a particular voice.
4. On the board or overhead list the following voices: surfer, southerner, teenager, toddler, Cajun, valley girl.
5. Place an overhead transparency of the Nursery Rhyme, -Mary Had a Little Lamb” (see attached file) on the overhead machine. Read through this popular nursery rhyme with the students.
6. Now place a copy of the nursery rhyme with blanks on the overhead projector. Read through this version together whole group saying the word -blank- whenever a word is missing.
7. Explain to the class that they are now going to choose one of the voices listed on the board. To keep their attention, do not explain what this will be used for just yet. Have them vote for their favorite voice. When the votes are in tell them that they will use the chosen voice to complete the incomplete version of -Mary Had a Little Lamb.-
8. Draw the students’ attention to the parts of speech written below the blanks on the incomplete version of the nursery rhyme. Explain that in small groups they will substitute words in the blanks that are the correct part of speech and that follow the correct voice. For example, if a group has chosen a southern voice and the word that is missing is an adjective, they might choose -itsy-bitsy- or -teeny-weeny.- They want to select words that reflect that voice that they have chosen.
9. Begin having the class work in their small groups. Instruct students that after every word they choose to fill in a blank to ask themselves if it both follows the chosen voice and is the correct part of speech.
10. When the nursery rhyme is complete, have the small groups take turns sharing their new versions of the nursery rhyme. See if the class can guess which voice the group chose. Discuss how the rhyme has changed now and how it has taken on a different voice.
11. Clarify any unclear points with the class and allow them to ask any questions they may have.
12. Explain that they will each have the opportunity to utilize the skills that we have practiced now.
13. Hand out to each student a copy of the classwork assignment (see attachment). Have students choose a mood or emotion from the list at the top of the paper and have them complete the story by filling in the blanks with words that both follow the mood/emotion they have chosen and the correct part of speech.


Students are able, after completing the Beacon Learning Center Lesson, to use the following assessment criteria.
They are to:
-Determine appropriate words to use in conveying a particular voice in writing. Teacher assesses by observing and listening to their final products of the rewritten version of the nursery rhyme and also by students' written work on classwork assignment.
-Generate appropriate parts of speech to complete a phrase or sentence correctly in their writing. Teacher assesses by using rubric on students' individual work.


1. To complete this activity students must have a basic knowledge of the parts of speech.
2. To extend this lesson students could write their own original story or nursery rhyme and provide blanks where needed.
3. The teacher could laminate these stories and keep them to use with students in need of extra practice in mastering these standards.
4. Students could use an overhead marker that erases with water so that they could be reusable. Teachers could also utilize these by having students swap stories and take them home for additional reinforcement.

Web Links

Web supplement for Whose Voice Do I Hear?
6+1 Strait Writing

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