Grade: Middle
Subject: Special Ed

#3289. Collaborative Circle Writing for Halloween

Special Ed, level: Middle
Posted Thu Nov 18 17:52:41 PST 2004 by William Welch (
Mulholland Middle School, Van Nuys, CA USA
Materials Required: paper, pencils or pens, list of current vocabulary words, descriptive adjectives, descriptive charac
Activity Time: One or two - 50 minute classes
Concepts Taught: Brainstorming, prewriting, cooperative groups

LESSON PLAN #2 Date: 10/28/04
William A. Welch - Instructor

Unit Title: Themes in Literature

Lesson Title: Collaborative Circle Writing using Narratives

Time Needed: 1 to 2 class periods

Teaching Standards Reference: This lesson clearly demonstrates the California State Teacher Performance Standards for Engaging and Supporting Students in Learning 1.0, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 and Instructional Planning, 4.0, 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4.

Lesson Objective: Students will develop creative and cooperative skills in the writing process using a narrative format.

Lesson Motivation: Review the vocabulary words from the Tell Tale Heart. Briefly review the characters, theme and plot.

Materials: Pencil and Paper. Use new vocabulary words from story and a list of descriptive adjectives and potential characters (the Action Adventure List).

Directed Lesson Sequence: Explain the concept of circle writing, where students add to each other's ideas by passing partially written stories from student to student. Ideas are generated as students adapt to each new paper. Explain that the students will write a narrative, using characters, a theme and a plot, as a group. Pass out the Action Adventure descriptive word list. All cooperative group members are to start writing when the prompt is given and continue until the signal is given to change papers. At that signal, each student is to pass their paper to the next student on their right who will continue writing until everyone in the group has had a chance to add to everyone else's paper.

Guided Practice: Divide the class into groups of four to five students. Ask each student to take out paper and pencil or pen. Give a writing prompt using the setting of Halloween. Say, "When I tell you to begin writing, begin to tell about an event that happened one Halloween night. You can begin with: 'It was a dark and stormy night'." Instruct the student to use some of the new vocabulary words and some of the suggested Action Adventure words in their stories. Allow adequate time for students to get their first thoughts down on paper. Ask them to stop by saying: "Finish the sentence you are on, then lay your pencils down. You are going to pass your papers to the person on your right. Write another sentence that continues the story. This time, however, your sentence should make sense with what has already been written on the paper you get. Allow time for that second thought. Ask a student from each group to read the story they have so far. Check for understanding.

Independent Practice: Give the prompt for students to pass their papers to the person on their right. Encourage discussion within their groups. Circulate while writing is in process. When papers return to their original owners, instruct students to write a good summary sentence which would give a good ending to the story.

Alternate and Supplementary Activities: Ask students what did you notice about the experience you and your group have had? What was the theme or moral to their story? You can alter and extend the assignment by having each group write about a scene with different weather conditions, such as thunder and lightning, a scene with fog, a scene with wind, etc. Then distill the group stories into one class story.

Assessment: At this pre-writing stage, the writing it self is the assessment. Observe the group interactions and contributions of group members. Ask students to identify the characters, plot and theme of their stories.