Lesson Plan

Responding to an Informative On-Demand Writing Prompt (Day 1)

Students will respond to an on-demand writing prompt by gathering evidence from an informational text or digital source.
Stephanie L.
Classroom teacher
Shaffer Elementary School
Atwater, CA
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My Grades 3
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts

Students will be able to learn how to gather information from a source, take brief notes, and organize information using a graphic organizer to plan an informative piece of writing.

English Language Arts
Grades 2 - 4
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

  • Pose the question "What are animal traits?" to the class.
  • Provide the following definition:  Animal traits describe how animals look and act.
  • Use the National Geographic Education website to show the "Meerkat Survival Tactics" video.
  • Use the strategy Think-Pair-Share to generate thinking.

2 Direct Instruction

  • Refer to the following LearnZillion videos narrated by Lindsay Browne:  #1 Plan an explanatory paragraph using a graphic organizer and #2 Add specific examples to explanatory writing by rereading the text.
  • Students will watch video #1 that models how to plan an informational paragraph by using a graphic organizer
  • Review the steps to the writing process that will be addressed:  (1) close reading and analysis, (2) read the prompt to figure out what it is asking you to do, (3) and generate ideas from the text.
  • Students will watch video #2 that models how to add specific examples by rereading the text, Animal Traits, for facts and details that support the prompt.
  • The students will be shown how to use specific information from the text to answer the prompt.


3 Guided Practice

  • The students will be provided with the close reading passage, "Extreme Animals" (Lexile level 780) from the website ReadWorks.
  • Students will use close reading strategies to comprehend the text and annotate notes with guidance.
  • The teacher should refer the students back to the prompt and make sure the notes taken during the close reading exercise provide supporting details.
  • If necessary, revisit the Video #1 from LearnZillion for extra support.

4 Independent Practice

Google Drive
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  • The students will be provided with a blank Google Doc template of the graphic organizer used during the direct instruction activity.
  • The students will work in groups of 4, refer to their notes takes from the close reading passage, "Extreme Animals," to complete the graphic organizer.
  • The students will add specific examples by rereading the text for facts and details that support the prompt.

5 Wrap-Up

Google Drive
Free, Paid
  • Students will wrap up the lesson by creating a Google Slide with an image of their favorite animal from the text Animal Traits or the passage, "Extreme Animals."
  • The will also include a minimum of 3 traits that describe the animal they chose.
  • The graphic organizer will be used in a following lesson as a tool to write an informative response to an on-demand writing prompt.