Lesson Plan

Daily 5 'Work on Writing' Gone Digital

Students learn how to hook and hold their audience through a year-long study about the writing strategies that published authors use. Students publish their own stories on a classroom blog.
Emily S.
Technology coordinator
Holly Hills Elementary School
Denver, CO
Show More
My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies
EdTech Mentor

World Class Outcomes: 

  • Analyze how authors are strategic in creating meaning
  • Create meaning strategically in speaking and writing

Enduring Understandings:

  • Collaboration influences effectiveness.
  • Openness to collaboration cultivates creativity.

Essential Questions:

  • How do effective writers hook and hold their audiences?
  • What is the best way to share my story?


1. Students use digital media and environments to enhance oral and written communication as contributing authors on a classroom blog. Students write blog posts for a variety of topics such as “My Family,” “My Friends,” “My Pets,” “School,” “Things That Scare Us,” “Holidays,” “Vacations,” etc.

2. Students plan and draft their posts, then collaborate with peers accepting and beginning to show appreciation for constructive feedback. In return, they begin to provide constructive feedback to their peers in a manner that is well-received.

3. As readers of the classroom blog, students demonstrate awareness of their personal role in our online school community by following the rules and expectations of digital citizenship. They recognize and respect themselves and others who are part of the same digital community.

English Language Arts
writing clearly
Social Studies
Grades 2 - 3
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Pre-Planning

Daily 5 'Work on Writing' is a year-long writing procedure framed by the essential question: How do I hook and hold my audience? To help students answer this overarching essential question, there will be many layers in a series of mini-lessons throughout the year that teach writing strategies used by published authors.

Use Common Curriculum to map out the overall structure for the Daily 5 'Work on Writing' framework with corresponding standards, organize your mini-lessons within the series, and decide how/when they might be integrated into other units of study throughout the year. You can even collaborate with teammates, specials, and RTI teachers on this year-long framework within Common Curriculum and share it with your principal.

Each mini-lesson will have a hook, direct instruction, guided practice, and independent practice. This App Flow is the break down for the first mini-lesson in the series.

Other mini-lessons to be crafted within Common Curriculum: 

  • *(planned in this App Flow) mini-lesson (write about: school): How do we know how to make good decisions? Problem and solution, cause and effect: mentor text-- Dotty by Erica S. Perl, David Goes to School by David Shannon-- Curriculum connections: building a classroom community, school/classroom rules, being a good citizen/Aug .- Sept.

  • mini-lesson (write about: my friends): What does it mean to be a true friend? Use specific, detailed examples in your writing, i.e. We play together vs. We like to climb on top of the monkey bars, lay on our backs, and talk for the whole recess.: mentor text -- Enemy Pie; Curriculum connection: restorative practices, classroom community/Sept. Author advice from Erica S. Perl: Creating Authentic Characters

  • mini-lesson (write about: things that scare us): Are there a descriptive limit to words? Using descriptive language: mentor text-- I Need My Monster; Curriculum connections: Halloween/Oct.

  • mini-lesson (write about: my family): What makes a family a community? Having a clear beginning, middle, end: mentor text: My Rotten Red-headed Older Brother; Curriculum connections: Making connections, being thankful for family, social studies: community/Nov.

  • mini-lesson (my pets): How does a story change when personification is used to change the perspective? Generating story ideas, think about different perspectives in which the story could be written, choose the perspective that would make the most interesting story: mentor text-- Me and My Cat and The Night I Followed the Dog


2 Hook

Kick off the first mini-lesson in the series by listening to the first half of the story Dotty by Erica S. Perl (Click here).

Cross-Curricular Connection: Have a whole group classroom discussion. The teacher records thinking on a popplet. Then students continue the discussion in small groups. The teacher invites students to be collaborators on the popplet in order for students to record their thinking on the same popplet. Class discussion topics may include: What is a classroom community? Who is part of that classroom community? How should you treat someone who is not part of your community? What does it mean to be a good citizen within your classroom community? Make predictions about how the story might end and/or how the story SHOULD end if her classmates are good citizens within their classroom community.

Read the rest of the story to the class. Discuss how this author was able to hook and hold her audience. 

Tell the students that they will be authors this year, and they will get to publish some of their writnig on a classroom blog. They will be studying the writing strategies published authors use to hook and hold their audience to help them become better writers. Do a skype chat or a google hangout with author Erica S. Perl, and have students ask her questions about how she hooks and holds her audience. (Erica S. Perl is an author on the list: Authors Who Skype with Classrooms (for free). You can contact her here.)

3 Direct Instruction

How do I hook and hold my audience?

Writing strategy #1: Good authors have a clear problem and solution in their story with logical causes and effects (within the context of the story). Authors should ask themselves: How do we know how to make good decisions? This question can be a guide for how characters should act in your story. The characters in your story should react to problems in a similar way that you would react.

Use YouTube to find (or create your own) read aloud for the story David Goes to School by David Shannon. Use EdPuzzle to flip your classroom instruction by strategically stopping the video to highlight causes and effects in story. 

4 Guided Practice

In small, collaborative groups, students write and illustrate their own "David" story in the style of author and illustrator David Shannon using their own classroom/school rules. Students generate a list of what acceptable and unacceptable behaviors would look like in their school or classroom. For example, one of the rules at our school is 'Be Responsible." Students generate examples of what responsible behavior looks like, such as keeping the classroom clean and turning in homework on time. In the style of David Shannon, students can let the picture tell a lot of the story in their book and end their story on a postitive note.


David Goes to Flagstone Elementary

pg. 1: At Flagstone elementary, we are responsible.

pg. 2. (Illustration of David in the classroom dropping a piece of trash on the floor.) No, David!

pg. 3 (illustration of David holding an empty folder or an unfinished piece of work.) Your homework was due today, David.

Ending: (illustration of David helping another student pick up books he dropped in the hallway) Yes, David

(illustration of David being handed a mustang--a school award-- from the teacher or principal) You earned a mustang!

After students write their story in collaborative groups, they will record their story in front of a green screen. If using an iPad, use the Green Screen app by Do Ink, and if using the computer, use iMovie to insert the student illustration as the background in the story recording. 

Click here for a green screen retelling of the book No, David! to see as an example of a book recording using green screen.

5 Independent Practice

Publish students' story recordings in a voicethread and embed it on a classroom blog so parents and students have access. During Daily 5 Listen to Reading, students can listen to the "David" stories created by their classmates. They can use voicethread to leave a comment by recording their voice, recording a video of their comment, or typing a comment. As readers of the classroom blog, students demonstrate awareness of their personal role in our online school community by following the rules and expectations of digital citizenship. They have to recognize and respect themselves and others who are part of the same digital community.

Common Sense Media offers some helpful resources for teaching digital citizenship to students. 

Click here for My Online Community (K - 2)

Click here for Things For Sale (K - 2) (This may be helpful with addressing the essential question: How can I hook and hold my audience?)

Click here for Show Respect On-line (K - 2)

6 Wrap-up

As a class, listen to the "David" stories the class created and the comments left by students and parents using voicethread. Discuss how well the stories were able to hook and hold their audience, and use popplet to record the pros and cons they learned from this first digital storytelling expereince. 

Continue adding writing strategies to this popplet all year when reflecting on the answer to the essential question: How do I hook and hold my audience?