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

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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Dear Peter Rabbit
Students will identify formal language and sentence structures in friendly letters. They will use similar formal language and style to create friendly letters to other story book characters.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–4 English Language Arts and Information Skills)
By Caroline Annas, Elizabeth Gibson, and Stephanie Johnson.
Tacky the Penguin
After reading the story, Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester, the students will write their own Tacky story. The students will brainstorm ideas before getting started. Next each student will write a rough draft. After the rough draft, the students will proofread and edit their work. Then the students will type their story and illustrate the pictures.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1 English Language Arts)
By Tonya Williams.
Action chains
Students learn to elaborate on an event in a narrative by expanding their sentences into action chains. Expanding single actions into an action chain provides the reader with a more detailed picture of an event in a narrative.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–5 English Language Arts)
By DPI Writing Strategies.
Analyzing author style using sentence combining
This activity should be completed before reading the essay “Beach People, Mountain People” by Suzanne Britt. Students will combine three sets of kernel sentences based on the first paragraph of Britt's writing. They will then compare their sentences to Britt's. The class will discuss what sentence combining strategy or strategies they used and observe how Britt varies her sentences.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–10 English Language Arts)
By Vickie Smith.
Clarification writing: What could I add to the NC Zoo?
Students will apply their knowledge of clarification writing and address "What Animal or Plant Would You Add to the NC Zoo." Students must research their plant or animal to determine if the zoo ecosystem could support the species. In addition, the student must provide reasons and explanations to support their choice. This is a follow-up activity to a unit of study on ecosystems/biomes.
Format: lesson plan (grade 5 English Language Arts and Information Skills)
By Connie Johnson.
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.
Format: lesson plan (grade K–5 English Language Arts, Guidance, and Social Studies)
By Amy Honeycutt, Chris Furry, and Diana Hicks.
Composing snowman stories
Students will compose sequential, descriptive instructions about how to build a snowman.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1–2 English Language Arts)
By Sandra Weavil.
Exciting narrative endings
This lesson emphasizes the importance of a strong ending for a narrative essay and teaches students specific items to include in their endings.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–4 English Language Arts)
By Ann Jolly.
First draft/final draft
Students will compare paragraphs with and without elaboration and descriptive details. They will learn how to revise their own writing by adding descriptive details such as adjectives, adverbs, concrete nouns, and precise verbs.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–5 English Language Arts)
By DPI Writing Strategies.
Giving can be fun
The purpose of this lesson is to incorporate the use of writing in a friendly letter format to foster the spirit of giving and sharing within the classroom. Using word processing, the students will create a friendly letter that will be shared with classmates in the spirit of giving and sharing.
Format: lesson plan (grade 4–5 English Language Arts)
By Sue Hunnicutt.
Great beginnings
Good beginnings hook readers and make them want to continue reading. Students will learn the features of good beginnings by reading the beginnings of several narrative picture books and then writing good beginnings for their own narratives.
Format: lesson plan (grade 4 English Language Arts)
By DPI Writing Strategies.
Habitat happenings
During this lesson students will demonstrate their understanding of what a habitat is through a creative writing assignment. The students will choose an animal to be and will describe themselves and their living environment.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1 English Language Arts)
By Kelly Stewart.
Highlighting revisions, glossing changes
By highlighting their revisions and explaining (i.e.,glossing) the changes they have made to a draft of their work, students will not only become more proficient writers but will also become more conscious of the process of revision and thus more reflective writers. Further, teachers will find it easier to monitor and evaluate student revisions.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–10 English Language Arts)
By Peter Bobbe.
Imaginative writing
This plan addresses emerging writing skills by engaging the student's interest in creating original drawings. This plan is for special-needs students, non-readers with limited writing skills, and reluctant learners.
Format: lesson plan (grade K–1 English Language Arts)
By Ann Franklin.
Improving student essay writing
English II teachers are constantly searching for strategies to improve students' analytical responses to literature. This lesson is designed for all types of learners, offering various activities for all learning styles. Individual, small group, and whole class activities on essay writing culminate with the student writing his or her own formal response to literature.

This generic writing activity may be used with any literary unit and at any point in your students' development of the writing process.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–10 English Language Arts)
By Shawn Parker.
The life cycle of a seed
This lesson integrates science into the language arts block. Students will read about plant life cycle events and then write their own books about the life cycle of a plant.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3 English Language Arts and Science)
By Joni Kight.
Make that chocolate sundae!
The student will write detailed directions for making and eating a chocolate sundae. S/he will then create and eat a sundae.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1–2 English Language Arts)
By Landa Latta.
Kindergarten students will work with an older grade buddy (we worked with 1st grade students) to make predictions, and then over a two-week period, see changes in lima bean growth, and be able to document the lima bean's progress. The buddies will work together to create an illustrated short story about lima bean characters that they create.
Format: lesson plan (grade K English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science)
By Kristi Waddle.
Marvelous metamorphosis
Most kids love insects. This integrated unit will enable students the opportunity to observe, identify, and describe the life cycle a mealworm goes through during his metamorphosis into a grain beetle.
Format: lesson plan (grade 2 English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science)
By Pam Maness.
Mumbling together
"Mumbling together" is a strategy students can use to edit their own writing and develop an ear for correct language. Students learn to proofread by reading their first drafts aloud to identify left-out words and other errors.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1–4 English Language Arts)
By DPI Writing Strategies.