Heartland Lesson Plan
- Grades: 3–5
- Heartland by Diane Siebert
- drawing paper for each student
Set Up and Prepare
I show the students the cover of the book and explain that I am going to read parts of the book and ask them to illustrate what they see in their mind.
I read the first page aloud to the class and I have the students orally tell me what they pictured in their mind as I was reading. Students then share their responses. I ask them what words helped them to create that picture.Then I show them the illustration in the book and ask them if their image was close to the one in the book. I read the next two pages the same way and the students share their responses.
Before I read the fourth page, I tell my students that while I'm reading I expect them to write down the words that help create an image in their mind. Students then use the words to draw their illustration. (Students may use crayons to do this. I encourage them to make a quick sketch because some students can take a really long time to finish.) I continue to read the story, having them focus on the words and create images in their minds. I stop at one other page and have the students write down descriptive words and draw what they see. Students then share their illustrations to see if they are similar to other students.
Supporting All Learners
Some students have a difficult time turning their short phrases or taking their descriptive words and putting them into a coherent paragraph. If I think this might be a problem, I have my students work in pairs or groups of three. This also shortens the time on task, because each student is not making their own book.
You can even buy bare books that have empty pages and a hard cover and have the students create their books in them. My students get really excited about these because they feel like real books.
After reading the book, I ask the students to tell me words from the book that helped them create their images. We then create a class list of these words. I explain to the students that the author used descriptive words to describe a place, allowing the reader to make pictures in their mind. I also explain to students that we call this writing craft imagery. I tell the students that we are going to practice this craft tomorrow and create a mini-picture book describing our community.
Day 2: Review yesterday's lesson about using imagery in writing and the class list of words the students created. Ask your students to tell you one place or aspect that they think is important in their community. Write it on chart paper and then as a class brainstorm creative words and phrases that describe that place. For example: A Park, trees of enormous size, butterflies flutter by, fall wind whips my hair, laugher and cheer from children playing near . Students will then choose 5 important places or aspects of their community and write 5 descriptive phrases or words for each of their places. Children share their descriptions when finished.
Day 3: Use the book Heartland to model with the students how to create a paragraph about the place using their phrases. Students create a paragraph about each place using their descriptive phrases and then on a piece of white construction paper they illustrate their paragraph. Students can either write their description on another sheet of paper so that the picture is opposite the words, like in the book Heartland, or write their words on white construction paper and then draw their illustrations around the words. Sometimes I have the students type their paragraphs and then we paste them onto the bottom of the illustration. It depends on what works for you classroom.
Day 4 & 5: Type books and draw illustrations.