K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • comprehend the story and retell it in their own words.
  • write complete sentences to retell the story.
  • use the Writing Process (with the help of the teacher and assistant) to write and rewrite their own story.
  • type their story after proofreading and editing.
  • use word processing skills to type their story.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

5 days


Used by the teacher:

Technology resources

  • computer
  • Microsoft Works or any word processing software
  • printer


Before the students began writing, I read Tacky the Penguin. Then I divided the class into two small groups. I worked with the students who could already write complete sentences. In this group of 9 students, we discussed what caused Tacky to be an odd bird. On chart paper, we made one big multi-flow map (for cause and effect). My assistant worked with the other group of 11 students. This group consisted of the students who were having some difficulty writing complete sentences. They used a tree map (for classifying). Using the tree map made it easier to write three complete sentences. They had to tell what Tacky had, did, and is.


All week before writing, I read Tacky the Penguin. Each day we discussed a different element of the story. By Wednesday, the students were helping me read the story. On Friday, my class had “Tacky Day” and the students got to act out the story. I also read Three Cheers for Tacky on this day.

  1. After reading the story, explain a new part of the writing process since this was the students first time using this process.
  2. On day two, model how to write three sentences from the charts that each group had made the day before. Make sure to put mistakes in your model so that you can also show how to proofread. Explain that it was okay if the first draft was sloppy. Also, have each student get out a red crayon to use while they were proofreading.
  3. As the students finish, show small groups how to make a penguin tri-fold book (instruction in Teachin’ Cheap). This was done on days two and three depending, on when each child finished writing, proofreading, and editing.
  4. Before the students type their story, have a writing conference with each student after they had corrected their mistakes. This should take place on days three and four.
  5. I only have one computer in my classroom so while one student was typing, I had the other students who were finished illustrate each page. The students put one sentence on each page. The students typed their story in Microsoft Works, using the first grader font with 20 as the font size. I had to help them go into this program because we had not used this before. I also had the students press enter a few times after each sentence so that it would be easier for them to cut out the sentences.
  6. On days four and five, students finish typing and illustrating their stories. As they print their stories, show them how to cut and put their sentences on each page.
  7. After five days, I still had a few students who had not had a chance to type their story so I let them go into the computer lab to finish typing. The end result was that each student had their very own version of Tacky the Penguin.


Before the students began typing their stories, I made sure that they had proofread and corrected their writing. As my assistant and I conferenced with each child, we were able to tell who was still having trouble with writing complete sentences, putting punctuation at the end of their sentences, and using capital letters in the correct places.

When the students were on the computer, I was able to observe who knew basic word processing terms like enter, backspace, space bar. I was also able to see who had trouble taking their information from their paper to the computer. The students could not print until I had checked their typing.

Supplemental information


I get a lot of ideas for making books in Teachin’ Cheap. This book gives ideas for materials that you already have on hand at your school. I used this lesson last year except the students did not type their stories. The students felt more successful typing their stories because they felt like they had made a real book.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Literature

        • Grade 1
          • 1.RL.2 Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
        • Writing

          • 1.W.3 Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.
          • 1.W.5 With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 1

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.06: Compose a variety of products (e.g., stories, journal entries, letters, response logs, simple poems, oral retellings).
  • Goal 5: The learner will apply grammar and language conventions to communicate effectively.
    • Objective 5.06: Self-monitor composition by using one or two strategies (e.g., rereading, peer conferences).