Lesson Plan

Stormy Weather / Clear Writing

In this mini lesson from a science unit on severe weather, students explore the power of collaboration and revision.
DeAnn K.
Classroom teacher
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts

Students will be able to write texts to inform others about how to be safe in severe storms.  Facts and details to develop the topic is a key in all text types. In this mini lesson students will work to  strengthen their writing by revising and rewriting with guidance and support from peers and adults.



English Language Arts
English Language Learning
Grades 5
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Background

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Google Drive
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Prior to this lesson, students  prepare a draft of their writing.  Students use textbooks, library books, and online references to gather facts.  In our class, all students may use online resources that have been previewed and selected by the teacher.  These resources are listed on the class wikispace http://karl5.wikispaces.com/Science.  Students that have completed digital citizenship lessons and  earned a digital passport through the Common Sense Media Digital Passport program https://www.digitalpassport.org may also search for additional resources online.

We also read a writing mentor text Spilling Ink – A Young Writers Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter.  Students have writing partner contract and How to Give Fabulous Feedback mini poster in their writer’s notebooks for reference.  These resources are available online at http://www.spillinginkthebook.com/teachers-kit.


2 Hook - Are You an Expert?

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Teacher creates a Padlet wall.  Label the page "Severe Storms"  with the description "Students share facts you know about severe storms.  The post title is the name of the storm".

Invite students to see who will show that he/she is a storm expert.  First, students read their own draft and highligh in yellow the facts.  Instruct the students to share the name of the storm and related facts on the Padlet wall. Challenge students to read the posts already on the wall in order to contribute new facts.



3 Direct Instruction / Guided Practice - Sensory Details

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This lesson is adapted from REAL REVISION: AUTHORS’ STRATEGIES TO SHARE WITH STUDENT WRITERS p.82 - 83  http://www.katemessner.com/real-revision.

Create a poster for student reference:

Red = Sight

Blue = Hearing

Orange = Smell

Green = Touch/Feeling

Purple = Taste

I include icons for each of the senses: an eye framed in a red box, an ear framed in a blue box, etc.  This connects with visual scaffolds we use for grammar lessons from Mechanically Inclined - Building Grammar, Usage, and Style into Writer's Workshop by Jeff Anderson

Teacher models reading writing which has been done in Google drive  and changing text color to red for every description that corresponds to sight.  Students then do the same on their own writing.  Next, teacher models another read to change the text color to blue for all details that correspond to hearing.  Students then continue rereading text and changing the corresponding text color for each of the remaining senses.


4 Collaborative Conversations and Revision

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Teacher will model and lead analysis of a completed text color coding to identify patterns and observations regarding facts and details that have been highlighted and text coded.  Examples of sentence starters may be provided such as:  “I notice that most of the text is black, that means more sensory details can be added to engage the reader.”  “I notice that  there is more red text that means there are many details about what is seen, more details about touch/feeling sensory details might be added to engage the reader.”  "There are 3 facts highlighted about this storm, facts such as _____, could be added to inform the reader."  Invite students to contribute to this collaborative conversation.  

Prior to students working collaboratively in teams, we review the “How to Give Fabulous Feedback” page from Spilling Ink http://www.spillinginkthebook.com/storage/Spilling%20Ink%20fabulous%20fe... that is in their writers notebooks.  Then each student shares his/her document via Google Drive with a partner. The share setting is "can comment". Each partner reads the other partner’s story and adds comments and ideas as drive comments to the document.  Partners then discuss their observations and suggestions.  Students partner up a second time and repeat this process.  The norm is for students to accept fabulous feedback for consideration.  In our writing community authors are free to choose how feedback is processed.  The Padlet form from the hook can be again displayed for student use as they begin to revise their writing.


5 Subsequent Lessons

Activity: Creating

In future lessons, we will inquire about student peer observations in order to define the facts and sensory details that contribute to clear writing that serves our purpose of educating  the reader about storms and storm safety.  We use this to create the grading rubric for this assignment.  

Students may continue to revise and will go through an editing process prior to publishing.  Student writing is published via our SchoolLoop class page.

Students will read each other's storm stories in order to learn the characteristics of each storm for the science unit.