Students share personal experiences they have regarding animal adoption. Then they view a video segment about a photographer who photographs dogs at an animal shelter to help find homes for them. Finally, they write and share a picture book to express what they learned and persuade readers to adopt the pet.
Why is this an important concept?
Creating a literary text, such as a picture book, will motivate learners to construct new meanings on a topic and to practice literary writing skills as they synthesize a theme from the video segment and personal experiences.
(1-2) 50 minute periods
- Animal Shelter Photographer QuickTime Video
- Picture Book plan
- Picture Book Design handout
- Creating Literary Texts rubric
- Picture books (one for each student)
- Chart paper and markers
- Blank printer paper, stapler, crayons, colored pencils
Part I: Learning Activity
Note to Teacher: This activity offers options for delivery depending on how much you want to extend it.
Option A: You may want to make it a truly authentic activity in which you visit an animal shelter ahead of time and take pictures of real animals up for adoption. You can talk with the shelter manager about how your students' writing can be used to help find homes for the animals.
Option B: You may have students do their own research to find an animal up for adoption. They could look online (see Related Resources) or visit their local animal shelter.
Option C: You may ask your students to bring in a picture of their own or another animal about which to write even though it is not up for adoption.
Option D: Students could write about a fictional creature that they create from their imagination.
The following procedure works for any option. Each group will write about one animal, though. You may consider allowing students the choice of working alone.
1. Describe purpose and scope of lesson. Distribute copies of the Creating Literary Texts rubric to students, and explain how activity will be graded.
2. Begin with students sharing personal experiences with animals, adopting animals (i.e., from a shelter, a newspaper advertisement, a neighbor, etc.), and what they know about animal shelters. What can we do to help animal shelters?
3. Explain to students that they're going to watch a video segment to learn how a photographer helps find homes for some animals. As they watch, ask students to think about how they'll write their picture books so readers will want to adopt the animal about which they are writing. Play the video.
4. Pass out sample picture books. Generate a list of characteristics common about their print, pictures, design, language use, and so on.
Part II: Assessment
1. Small groups assemble. Students complete the handouts from Day 1; revise as needed. Encourage students to peer conference with students from another group.
2. Meet with each group as students work to provide guidance with language, persuasive writing, layout for book, and so on. Approve each design sheet, which should contain all words and sketches for each illustration/picture before group proceeds to final copy.
3. Students work on final copy and finish book for homework. Discuss your expectations for the final copy. You may consider accepting computer-prepared books. If students complete final as homework, though, give the option of various means for completing project.
1. Generate a list with class that describes how to read a picture book aloud. Include use of inflection, intonation, pace, and clarity.
2. Students take turns reading their group's book to the class. All students should have a chance to read part of their book.
3. If possible, invite younger students to the classroom and let your students read the books to them, too. Or, if an authentic animal shelter has been involved, invite the staff to hear the stories. Students may present the books to the shelter to use to promote adoptions.
4. Use the Creating Literary Texts Rubric to grade the picture books. This rubric assesses the process of collaborative writing as well as the finished product.
For students who need additional teacher guidance:
1. Provide writing assistance as needed. For example, allow students to tell their story into a tape recorder as a pre-writing strategy.
2. Practice reading the book aloud with students before they read it to the class.
3. Encourage students to visit the online links to New York State animal shelters to see how they write about animals that are up for adoption. See Related Resources.