Write Like David Shannon
Students research the author David Shannon, then create books that mimic his writing style.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
- Unit Plan:
Students will research one of their favorite authors, David Shannon. They will listen to his stories as well as his biography and write a book in the style of one of his titles, David Goes to School.
- Distinguish various books by David Shannon from other authors.
- Compare three of Shannon's books for similarities.
- List various settings for a story.
- Integrate Shannon's pattern of writing.
- Formulate their own story using an author's style.
- Various books by David Shannon
- David Shannon's biography
- Other books written by favorite authors from your classroom library
- Chart paper
- Blank white paper
- Colored tag paper
- Colored markers or crayons
Set Up and Prepare
- Gather 5–10 sheets of blank white paper for each student.
- Gather 2 sheets of colored tag paper for each student.
- Staple the blank sheets of paper together for each student, 3 staples down the left side.
- Before teaching this lesson, read some of the books you'll be featuring.
- Set out several of these books.
- Print copies of David Shannon's biography.
Step 1: Before the students come in, scatter the David Shannon books and other favorite books throughout the classroom.
Step 2: Tell students that we need to organize the books so that we can talk about one of our favorite authors, David Shannon. Tell them that the books need to be organized so that David Shannon's books are in a separate stack.
Step 3: Hold up each book and ask students if it is one of David Shannon's books. Encourage students to name the authors of the other books or identify it for them.
Step 4: After the books have been sorted, read a selection from each book to remind the students of the story. Be sure to read these three David Shannon books: No, David; David Gets in Trouble; and David Goes to School.
Step 5: Ask students if they notice similarities between the three No, David books. Point out the simple text with directives to David because he keeps doing the wrong thing. At the end of each story, everything seems to be alright with David. Share highlights from David Shannon's biography.
Day 2: First Page
Step 1: Remind the students that we are studying one of our favorite authors, David Shannon. Show them the book, David Goes to School. Tell them that the setting of this story is at school. Ask the students to think of some other places where we may have gone on a fieldtrip or they may have gone with their parents. Ask them to name some other settings besides school. Chart responses.
Step 2: Inform the students that they are going to have an opportunity to write their own story using David Shannon's style of writing. Tell them that first we need to vote on the setting for our story and work on it as a class. Review the list of settings the students generated. Tally votes for the selected story setting. Recently, my students wrote about a trip to the museum.
Step 3: Look at the first page of David Goes to School with the students. The beginning of the story reads, "David's teacher always said, 'No, David!' Ask the students how their story might begin with the new setting and who will always say, "No, [Student's name]!" In our class, it began, "The guard at the museum always said, "No, [Student's Name]." Write this on chart paper using one student's name.
Step 4: Tell students that now they are going to write the first part of their story the way David Shannon did. Say each student's name in the sample phrase, "The guard at the museum always said, "No, [Student's Name]," as you distribute the pre-stapled book to each student and instruct them to write their first page. If some students want to write their story using a different setting, encourage them. Encourage students to draw illustrations as well.
Day 3: Last Page
Step 1: Show the students the end of the No, David books. Tell them that, at the end of his books, David Shannon always has a resolution or happy ending. Ask children to think of how their book might end. In our class, the students suggested, "The guard said, 'OK [Student's Name], you can go home now.'" Model this ending for students on chart paper using the same student's name from Day 2.
Step 2: Tell students that now they are going to write the first part of their story the way David Shannon did. Remind them to be sure to have a resolution at the end of their story. Say each student's name in the sample phrase, "The guard said, 'OK [Student's name], you can go home now,'" as you distribute their books from Day 2 and instruct them to write their last page. Encourage students to draw illustrations as well.
Day 4: Main Body
Step 1: Begin this day by reading the first and last pages of a few of the students' books.
Step 2: Show David Shannon's book again with all the things the teacher said to David.
Step 3: Ask the students to think about what kind of things might be said in their books. In my class, the students suggested the guard said:
- Don't run!
- Don't touch the paintings!
- Use quiet voices!
- Don't fight!
- Don't scream!
- Don't touch the statues!
- Keep your hands to yourself!
Model writing these phrases as you chart them on different paper to show they are a different page in the story. For classes that are not as developed in their writing, post these around the room. For more proficient classes, cover up the chart paper to encourage students to write on their own.
Step 4: Distribute the student books. Allow students time to write the body of their book.
Day 5: Wrapping Up
Step 1: Read through a sample of a more proficient writer who is finished as a model for the other students.
Step 2: Distribute the student books and allow students time to complete their stories. Encourage those who have finished to review their text and illustrations.
Day 6: Front and Back Cover
Step 1: Show students the covers of David Shannon's No, David books. Demonstrate how students can title their books in the same way David Shannon did using their own name: No [Student's name]. Point out where the title and author's name are located. Show them the front and back covers. Allow them to choose two pieces of colored card stock to make their front and back cover. Staple the front and back cover on their books. Students should write the title and their name as the author on the front. Suggest that they draw a picture from the story on the front similar to David Shannon's book covers.
Step 2: As students complete their books, they may add to them or read them to you as you circulate.
Supporting All Learners
For students that are not yet able to write, take dictation. Encourage more capable students to select their own setting, different from the class selection.
Conduct a publishing party and invite the families to hear students read their books.
Make a book in the style of David Shannon.
Notice each student's writing: penmanship, spelling, sound-symbol correspondence, and use of sight words. Look to see if the text they wrote or dictated matches their picture.
- Did the students distinguish David Shannon's books from other authors?
- Were the students engaged in creating their own books?
- Were the students able to use David Shannon's style?
- Was there enough time for students to be successful?
- What would I do differently next time?