A Creative Presentation
- Grades: 6–8
- Unit Plan:
- Draw conclusions and make inferences about the text.
- Use skimming and scanning techniques.
- Analyze figurative language: imagery.
- Use graphic representations such as charts, graphs, pictures, and graphic organizers as information sources and as a means of organizing information and events logically.
- Classify and organize information by categorizing and sequencing.
- Present their research findings in a variety of formats.
- Multiple copies of a variety of Gary Paulsen chapter books
- Pencil and paper
- Poster board
- Crayons and/or markers
- Construction paper
- Index cards
- Rubric for Presentation Speeches printable (PDF)
Set Up and Prepare
- Gather multiple copies of Gary Paulsen's books so that the students can independently read a variety of his work. Check your school and local libraries, your Scholastic Book Club Order form, and ask your students to bring in books they might have. See my booklist for suggestions.
- Make sure you have enough Paulsen books for each group to have two at a time, as indicated in Step 5.
- Prepare one piece of poster board per group, in a variety of colors if possible.
- Borrow scissors, glue, crayons, markers, and construction paper from art teachers if necessary.
- Ask students to bring in index cards or supply some of your own. Gather 10 cards per group.
- Determine groups of 3-4 students each. You may want to use the same groups from Lesson One.
- Copy the Rubric for Presentation Speeches printable for each group. Determine the due date and write the information onto each sheet.
Part I - Skimming and Scanning
Step 1: Introduce the lesson as one of discovery. Explain to the students that they are groups of investigators looking for clues, and all the evidence they need is in the collection of Gary Paulsen books.
Step 2: Assemble the groups together and distribute the Rubric for Presentation Speeches to each.
Step 3: Read the project description aloud, and review the requirements of the rubric.
Step 4: Model a search for imagery by selecting any chapter book in the Paulsen collection. It is most convincing if you grab a book from the stack without looking, as it proves the point that the imagery can be found in any book. While looking at the students, open to a random page. Usually on that very page or a couple of pages before or after, a great example of imagery can be found. Read your example aloud to the students, and ask the students if it is an example of sight, sound, touch, taste, or smell. Check for understanding by asking the students how they know which sensory detail it is.
Step 5: Set the following base rules for each group.
Each group should consist of 3-4 students, as more or less in the group does not tend to work smoothly.
Each group is to only have 2 Paulsen books at a time. Students have to return a book before using another one. Otherwise, one group might monopolize the use of certain books.
Because working in groups is a privilege, the noise level needs to stay at a reasonable level.
Part II - Work and Present
Step 6: Students will find at least two quotes per sense, for a total of 10 quotes. The students should write the quote on an index card with the name of the novel and the page number on which the quote was found at the bottom of the index card. This card will then be placed on the poster board in a way that clearly categorizes each quote. The students may be creative with the display by using the art supplies to create a beautiful project.
Step 7: Allow students time to complete the project. Decide whether to schedule the whole period for the work or a partial amount based on the other instruction you have planned. I usually schedule the whole 60-minute class period, and it usually takes us about three to four periods.
Step 8: When groups have completed the project, allow time for presentations. You may choose to have students present as a group and discuss their three favorite examples of imagery from their display. I usually schedule presentations after I have displayed the poster boards in the hallway or around the room, where I have allowed my students to take a "gallery walk" and observe the displays.
Supporting All Learners
Students of different levels can be grouped together for this project, or you may choose to use ability groups. One reason to use ability grouping is that you will be able to observe the lower-level students and work with groups that need more help. In this case, you may want to modify the requirements for a group and therefore change the rubric. This should only be used in extreme cases.
Also, some students struggle with the physical act of cutting and pasting or copying quotes in handwriting. If possible, allow these students to create a PowerPoint presentation of the examples of imagery and complete the project digitally.
Have students peruse other favorite chapter books for imagery. Make a list of which authors use a great deal of imagery and which seem to have used none. Post this list in the classroom as a suggested list of interesting authors whose works need to be read more often. Discuss with the students why the use of imagery is such an effective tool for writers to use.
Have the students check the newspaper for sensory details. How many examples can they find? Have the students speculate why this is so.
- Complete a group project.
How easily were the students able to find quotes? How was the discussion in the groups? Did everyone participate? Why or why not? Did the students have an opportunity to see how the other groups worked on their display? How did that go? Did you observe most of the students accurately identifying sensory details? What will you do next with the students who did not complete this assignment successfully? Since the culminating activity is an individual piece, what modifications need to be made, if any, for the struggling students?
- Observe student participation in the group project.
- Use the rubric to formally assess the project.