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Learning outcomes

Students will identify the meaning of the word “exaggeration” through a study of the book A Million Fish…More or Less. After reading the book, students will then use their background knowledge of narrative writing to compose an imaginative narrative story using exaggeration.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

2 Days

Materials/resources

Pre-activities

Students should already be familiar with the narrative writing process and should be well practiced in revising and editing their own papers. I normally use this lesson when helping students develop “hooks” for their papers.

Activities

  1. The students will listen to an oral reading of A Million Fish…More or Less. (This is a mathematics based story and works very well in a lesson on place value or estimation also.) Students will classify the story as fiction or non-fiction.
  2. The term “exaggeration” will then be introduced. I usually write the word on the board and have students guess what it could mean. If no one knows, I then tell them what the definition is and follow by asking if the author of A Million Fish…More or Less used exaggeration in the story.
  3. In collaborative pairs, students record ways in which exaggeration was used. These methods are then recorded on the board.
  4. I ask the students if using exaggeration made the story more interesting than if the author had used true facts. They usually agree that it does make the story better! We then discuss how we could use exaggeration in our own writing and if exaggeration would be a good “hook” for a story.
  5. In small groups the students develop ideas they could write about using exaggeration.
  6. We record their ideas on the board. I then ask students if a story using exaggeration would be more of a personal or an imaginative narrative. Obviously, it would make a much better imaginative narrative.

Assessment

I keep an ongoing checklist for each student, identifying areas of strengths and weaknesses in each story they write.

Supplemental information

This is a good way to teach the Style feature of the writing rubric.

Students can also examine other tall tales for exaggeration, such as Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, John Henry, Calamity Jane, etc.

Comments

This is a good lesson to use as the writing test date is approaching. The students enjoy writing to prompts they develop themselves.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Language

        • Grade 3
          • 3.L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings. 3.L.5.1 Distinguish the literal and nonliteral meanings of words and phrases in context (e.g., take steps). 3.L.5.2 Identify real-life connections between...
        • Grade 4
          • 4.L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. 4.L.5.1 Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture) in context. 4.L.5.2 Recognize and explain the meaning of common...
      • Writing

        • Grade 3
          • 3.W.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
        • Grade 4
          • 4.W.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 3

  • Goal 2: The learner will apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed.
    • Objective 2.03: Read a variety of texts, including:
      • fiction (short stories, novels, fantasies, fairy tales, fables).
      • nonfiction (biographies, letters, articles, procedures and instructions, charts, maps).
      • poetry (proverbs, riddles, limericks, simple poems).
      • drama (skits, plays).
    • Objective 2.04: Identify and interpret elements of fiction and nonfiction and support by referencing the text to determine the:
      • author's purpose.
      • plot.
      • conflict.
      • sequence.
      • resolution.
      • lesson and/or message.
      • main idea and supporting details.
      • cause and effect.
      • fact and opinion.
      • point of view (author and character).
      • author's use of figurative language (e.g., simile, metaphor, imagery).

Grade 4

  • Goal 2: The learner will apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed.
    • Objective 2.03: Read a variety of texts, including:
      • fiction (legends, novels, folklore, science fiction).
      • nonfiction (autobiographies, informational books, diaries, journals).
      • poetry (concrete, haiku).
      • drama (skits, plays).
    • Objective 2.04: Identify and interpret elements of fiction and nonfiction and support by referencing the text to determine the:
      • plot.
      • theme.
      • main idea and supporting details.
      • author's choice of words.
      • mood.
      • author's use of figurative language.