Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Create Your Island Paradise

Kerry McMillen


Create a descriptive essay and map describing your island paradise.


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

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 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).


-Transparency of rubric scoring for ideas (from Six Traits of Writing)
-Paper, pencil
-Drawing paper
-Crayons, colored pencils


1. Print one copy of scoring rubric and make a transparency of it. (See web link)
2. Gather supplies listed in materials list.


Background: Students have previously been taught the -ideas- trait from “Six Traits of Writing” and have practiced using it. Students have read a story in their literature book with lots of descriptive detail.

1. Discuss the use of descriptive language from the selection by citing specific examples. Students focus on the writing trait of ideas as they discuss these examples.
2. Students orally share descriptive ideas for their island paradise trying to evoke the reader’s senses: seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting.
3. Students first complete a rough draft on notebook paper using paragraph form. The essay may be a description of the island or an actual tour of the island.
4. Teacher shows a sample of the scoring rubric on the overhead and discusses with students the procedures and the criteria for scoring their island paradise essays on the writing trait of ideas.
5. Upon completion of paragraphs, students exchange papers with a partner and score each other’s using the rubric. Students confer and share editing and revising ideas.
6. Students then revise their paragraphs using their partner’s feedback.
7. Students draw a map of their paradise island and label and color it.
8. The teacher assesses students’ writing using the “Six Traits of Writing” scoring rubric for ideas. (see website:


The teacher assesses the students’ writing using the rubric for scoring ideas from Vicki Spandell's Six Traits of Writing (see web link). The rubric can be printed from this website.

Web Links

Web supplement for Create Your Island Paradise
Six Traits of Writing

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