Collecting family stories
Students will interview relatives and compose a family story on the computer. This lesson was completed in conjunction with two other lesson plans (art and media) using the same theme but could be used alone. Student work from all three lessons was compiled in a student portfolio.
A lesson plan for grades K–5 English Language Arts, Guidance, and Social Studies
- practice researching, diagramming, and writing a story with a beginning, middle, and end.
- practice word processing skills.
- gain an appreciation for their own family heritage.
Time required for lesson
- Collecting Family Stories worksheet
- File folders for collecting student work
- Teacher should post diagramming information (My Story Mountain) for all students to see on the Smart TV. Demonstrate how to get the diagram on their screen.
- Computers for all students
- Smart TV
- A lab set of Kidspiration software
- Read The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco, a story about the author’s family heritage. (This can be done as part of the students’ media enhancement.) Students can also create quilt blocks in MS Paint or other graphics program and stitch them together in art class.
- Students should complete the Collecting Family Stories worksheet
- Students should have some knowledge of how to open the programs on the computer and some basic keyboarding skills
- Set up the My Story Mountain template on the Smart TV.
- Return the students’ interview worksheets.
- Review the story from The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco. Present the Story Mountain Diagram for the book. Point out that a good story has a clear beginning, middle, and end. Explain that details are needed to help the story climb the mountain to the peak and then come back down to the end.
- Explain that the students have collected information and are now ready to plan their stories.
- Bring up the empty template My Story Mountain on the Smart TV and instruct students to do the same on their screens.
- Indicate that good authors make notes and then plan out their stories. Instruct the students to take their notes (Collecting Family Stories worksheets) and fill in a sentence or two in the blocks for beginning, middle, and end. Guide them to think about the peak or most interesting part of the story and put that in the middle.
- Next have the students fill in details between the beginning middle and end. Caution the students to not let the story fall off the mountain after it peaks. Stress that they still need details to bring the story back down the mountain.
- Have the students put their name on the stories and save.
- Students will continue editing and filling in details. Show them how to print. Students will complete a rubric on their experience Rubric.
- If time permits, students can exchange papers and read each other’s stories. Teacher could put the stories in a class book, on a bulletin board, or on a class website.
Students will be assessed by:
- Teacher observation on how well they make use of the computer and the diagrams
- Creativity of the finished project
Story Telling in the Classroom Workshop by David Joe Miller
For more information:
David Joe Miller, Storyteller and Writing Consultant
216-B Weston Road
Arden, NC 28704-2923
ph: 828 654-7619
fax: 828 654-7861
This plan was adapted from a combination of resources. The idea for diagramming a story by climbing a mountain was from a workshop by David Joe Miller, Storyteller and Writing Consultant.
The idea for the homework sheet collecting family stories was adapted from a worksheet called “All in Their Heads” about interviewing relatives. The lesson was from the workbook Who Am I? Investigating Personal History by Glenda Sims
North Carolina curriculum alignment
Computer Technology Skills (2005)
- Goal 1: The learner will understand important issues of a technology-based society and will exhibit ethical behavior in the use of computer and other technologies.
- Objective 1.11: Identify and discuss issues (e.g., personal information, images, appropriateness and accuracy of information) to consider in selection and use of materials for multimedia projects. Strand - Multimedia/Presentation
- Goal 2: The learner will demonstrate knowledge and skills in the use of computer and other technologies.
- Objective 2.05: Recognize, discuss, and use word processing as a tool to enter/edit, print, and save assignments. Strand - Keyboard Utilization/Word Processing/Desk Top Publishing
English Language Arts (2004)
- Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
- Objective 4.06: Plan and make judgments about what to include in written products (e.g., narratives of personal experiences, creative stories, skits based on familiar stories and/or experiences).
- Objective 4.08: Write structured, informative presentations and narratives when given help with organization.
- Goal 5: The learner will apply grammar and language conventions to communicate effectively.
- Goal 7: Acquire the attitudes, knowledge and interpersonal skills to help understand and respect self and others.
Social Studies (2003)
- Goal 3: The learner will analyze how individuals, families, and communities are alike and different.
- Objective 3.01: Compare similarities and differences between oneself and others.
- Common Core State Standards
- English Language Arts (2010)
- Grade 2
- 2.W.3 Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.
- Grade 2
- English Language Arts (2010)
- North Carolina Essential Standards
- Guidance (2010)
- RED.SE.3 Use communication strategies effectively for a variety of purposes and audiences. RED.SE.3.1 Use oral and written communication skills to share information with others. RED.SE.3.2 Use non-verbal communication skills to share information with others....
- Guidance (2010)