Lesson Plan

“My Dream Vacation” - an AppSmashing Adventure

Students will write an informational essay on the topic “My Dream Vacation”. Students will begin by brainstorming locations using the internet to facilitate research and idea development. Students will write their informational essay using Google Docs a
Kristin L.
Technology coordinator
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

From this activity students will be able to:

  • conduct research on a geographic location
  • demonstrate creative thinking
  • become more adept at summarizing text
English Language Arts
Social Studies
Grades 4 – 5
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Activity: Conversing

Ask your students the following question “What if you could travel anywhere you wanted?  What would be your dream vacation?  Where would you go?  Money is no object - think outside the box”.  In a popcorn-style format, have students throw out potential ideas.   

Student Instructions

Students will respond to teachers questions verbally and, perhaps, even with actions or movements - improv style.

2 Direct Instruction

Google Drive
Free, Paid
  1. Have students research possible locations for their essays.  Research will conclude in student picking one destination from which they will construct their informational essay.
  2. Have students write, using Google Docs, an informational essay that includes the following points about the destination:
    1. why it was selected

    2. how you will travel there

    3. when (time of year) you will travel

    4. how long you will stay

    5. where (specifically) you will stay

    6. weather/climate

    7. culture of the people/environment

    8. what you will do when you are there

  3. Find a few images of your location that you can use as a background as you will be superimposing images of yourself in that location. Save these images to the camera roll on your iPad.
  4. Locate a few images of your location that will help tell your story as you summarize your essay in the form of a 1 page comic strip.  Save these images to the camera roll on your iPad.
  5. Using pen & paper (or a Google Doc), create a quick outline for your comic strip to ensure that your summary has a beginning, a middle and an end...that it tells the full story.






Student Instructions
  1. When you have selected your location begin researching facts about the area including key points of interest, climate, culture, travel and entertainment.
  2. Drawing upon your research, construct an informational essay as outlined in earlier instruction.
  3. Locate pictures of your location to be used in conjunction with your own pictures (pictures of yoursel)  - - you will be superimposing yourselves into your locations.
  4. Find some additional pictures of your location that will aid you in creating your 1 page comic strip summarizing your essay.
  5. Create an outline for your comic strip that summarizes your essay.

3 Guided Practice

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Students will already know how to conduct internet research and are familiar with Google Docs.  Teacher will assist students who need assistance and be available for guiding this process.


Teacher will demonstrate the app “Chop & Cut Me In” showing students how to crop their own images (pictures of themselves) and insert them into their saved backgrounds (on the camera roll).  Remind students to look at their backgrounds and decide how they should pose as their self-portraits should be taken in the pose that best suits the background.


Teacher will demonstrate the app “Comic Book” showing students different layout options and how to add captions.  Using some of the images they created with the app “Chop & Cut Me In” they can create a more “rich” comic showing both their location and how they will spend their time at the location.

As the comic strip is a summary of their essay, the teacher will guide students in the summarization process making sure each student has an understanding that their comic will tell their story with a beginning, a middle and an end.

iPad Apps Used (could not locate in the digital tools - would not register):

Chop & Cut Me In:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chop-cut-me-in-photo-background/id897823...

ComicBook!:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/comicbook!/id436114747?mt=8

Student Instructions

Students will begin exploring new apps (“Chop & Cut Me In” and “Comic Book”) while teacher moves about the room assisting students and ensuring comprehension.  Students will also begin taking self-portraits to be used for superimposing.

4 Independent Practice

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Students should begin working on all elements of their essay, superimposed photo graphics and their comic book summary.  As students are working, teacher moves about the classroom to assist with all aspects of the project.  Prior to comic book creation, teacher will verify that the students’ outline for the comic strip is comprehensive.

Digital Tools:

*see Guided Practice for additional tools used

Student Instructions

Students will work on their essays, photo graphics and comic strip.

5 Wrap Up

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Have students save their work in Google Drive (essay already in Google Drive; superimposed graphics & comic strips to the camera roll and then uploaded to Google Drive).  Print out copies of students’ comic strips and post around the room.  Have students do a walking tour of the classroom reading each others comic strips.  Conclude with a discussion about the project and ask for feedback on the comic strips asking students if the comic books they viewed told a story and showed a complete idea.

Digital Tools:

*See Guided Practice for additional tools used

Student Instructions

Save all work to Google Drive.  Walk around the classroom to view classmates work - the comic strips.  Analyze the comic strips - do they tell a complete story?  Share your thoughts.