“How To Build a Snowman”
Objective: The students will write a coherent informational report describing the sequential steps of how to build a snowman.
Grades: Fourth Grade
Standards: 4W1.1-choose a topic, generate ideas, and prewriting strategies; 1.2-plan for an audience and purpose and generate a draft; 1.3-develop extended response around a central idea; 1.4- revise writing; 1.5-edit; 1.6-publish or write in a variety of formats; 1.6.1- multiple paragraph composition or informational piece; 2.1-writing to explain; 2.2-writing to describe.
Materials: You will need a graphic organizer that contains a place for opening paragraph, 3 body paragraphs, and a closing paragraph (Flow Map). Also you will need pencil, paper, crayons, markers, and a copy of a snowman for each student.
o Before beginning writing, do a warm-up activity to get the students thinking about giving good directions. Give the students directions on making a person from shapes. The directions should be unclear and should not state that it should be a person. (For example: Draw a square one inch from the top of the paper. Draw a hexagon under the square. Draw two small hexagons inside the square. Draw two rectangles under the hexagon. Etc. After the students have finished drawing their “person”, show the students what the picture should look like. Most of the students will be surprised.) You can use any kind of directions to demonstrate this.
o Discuss why giving specific and clear directions are very important, as seen from the previous activity. Explain that they will be writing a paper on “How to Build a Snowman.”
o Give the students a copy of an outline of a snowman. On the snowman, the students should draw details on the snowman. They will use this to explain how to build a snowman. Give the students 5 minutes to complete their snowman.
o Give the students a Flow Map graphic organizer. On the organizer, there should be a place for an opening paragraph, a materials paragraph, a paragraph explaining how to make the snowman, a paragraph for how to decorate the snowman, and a place for a closing paragraph. Before the students begin their writing, the teacher should model how to write a “How To…” paper. Explain to the students that it is very important for them to be explicit in their directions.
o After they complete their rough draft, they will switch papers with a classmate or another class. The other students will use their directions to draw their snowman. This will show them how well their directions were. If their directions were not specific enough, then the snowman will not look like it is supposed to look. The student will give the original student some advice on how to improve their directions.
o Once the other student has drawn the snowman, the original student will get their paper and snowman back. The students will use the advice from the other students to improve their writing. They will make any changes necessary and then rewrite their final draft.
o Once the students finish their final draft, the students will exchange papers again. The other student will draw a snowman based on the directions in the paper and return it to its owner.
o Once all of this is complete, the papers and pictures can be displayed in the hallway or the classroom.
Assessment: The teacher can assess the students writing according to how well the other student was able to draw the snowman using the directions given.