Our school mascot is the raven, a primary figure in Native
American legends and tales. To introduce this fascinating bird to
our sixth graders, this unit is designed to have students create a
unique narrative using their personal experiences and language
effectively. In short, they will use creative language to tell a
tale in the tradition of North American story telling.
Knowledge and skills:
Storytelling is a personal expression of a unique
experience using creative language to involve the listener / reader,
and gives insight into the perspective of the author.
What emotions are being felt by the
What motivations are present for their
What is the difference between a literal and creative
telling of the story? What does the story reveal about the author?
Structure - Review story elements -
What are the traits of the character(s)
2. Where and when does
the story take place?
3. What are the main events of the
4. What conflict is present, and how is it solved?
How does the dialogue give you insight into the character(s) and
1. What are the characters' feelings
about the events of the story?
2. How do the characters' emotions
motivate them to act?
Descriptive language, sensory
1. What words and figures of speech in the story create
vivid images in the mind of the reader?
2. Symbolism - What does
the raven symbolize? What character traits are present in the raven
in these tales that would be desirable in
1. What lessons are learned from the tales
of the Raven?
2. Does an author's perspective determine the theme
of the story?
Research tales and legends of
the raven and related literary figures
(prewriting, first draft, editing, revising, publishing)
processing - to write a document using a computer program (i.e.,
Microsoft Word, Appleworks, etc.).
Listening skills - demonstrate
basic elements of active listening.
National StandardsStudents read a wide
range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an
understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical,
aesthetic) of human experience.
Students adjust their use of
spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style,
vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences
and for different purposes.
Students employ a wide range of
strategies as they write and use different writing process elements
appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety
Students apply knowledge of language structure,
language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media
techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and
discuss print and nonprint textbooks.
Tools: Students use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect
information from a variety of sources.
Productivity Tools: Students use technology tools to enhance
learning,increase productivity, and promote
State StandardsReading: 3.5.5 Locate
and Interpret figurative language, including simile, metaphor, and
personification in text. 3.6.1 Analyze the influence of setting on
characters and on how the problem or conflict is resolved. 3.6.2
Make logical predictions about characters' actions based on evidence
from the text. 3.6.3 Compare works of literature from the same
historical period written by authors from different cultural,
generational, and gender perspectives. Writing: 5.6.3 - Write
narratives or short stories that include relevant and meaningful
dialogue. 5.6.4 - Write responses to literary selections that
demonstrate an understanding of character motivation and
development. 6.6.1 - Generate ideas for writing by responding to a
visual stimuli such as objects or photographs. 6.6.2 - Organize
ideas through activities such as categorizing and outlining. 6.6.3 -
Write paragraphs and compositions with clear transitions between
items. 6.6.4 - Revise compositions to improve organization and
consistency of ideas. 6.6.5 - Edit for use of standard English 6.6.6
- Produce writing with a voice that shows awareness of an intended
audience and purpose. 6.6.7 - Share final draft with designated
Workforce Competencies:Standard Title:
Information Manager (3.1) Students locate, comprehend, interpret,
evaluate, maintain, and apply information, concepts, and ideas found
in literature, the arts, symbols, recordings, videos and other
graphic displays, and computer files in order to perform tasks
and/or for enjoyment. Standard Title: Effective Communicator (3.2)
Students communicate in English and other languages using
information, concepts, prose, symbols, reports, audio and video
recordings, speeches, graphic displays, and computer-based programs.
Unit of Practice
Writing has been an essential element of communication since the
first word was recorded. Writing is the heart of communication
enabling the author to express thoughts, emotions, opinions, and
dreams. The art of storytelling can enhance the self confidence and
communication skills of an individual within any social environment.
Prior to the unit students have an understanding of the writing
process, a rudimentary knowledge of the elements of fiction (i.e.
story elements) and the proper use of standard English. After this
unit, students can apply their understanding to oral or performance
Summative Performance Assessment
Students will write a unique
story using creative language to involve the audience / reader and
to give insight into themselves as authors and storytellers.
Students will be given the option of a variety of verbal, written or
Projects (Individual) Hand-written, desktop publishing, or
multimedia project presenting a first person narrative from the
perspective of one of the characters.
1. Student-created graphic organizers to describe the
characters and setting, sequence the plot from introduction,
conflict resolution, and conclusion, and illustrate the resolution.
Students could use thinking maps, organizers, or multimedia program
2. Daily journal entries regarding the
characters' perspective, two column notes taken on likenesses and
differences on legends, characters, etc.
3. Oral questions
focusing on characterization, setting, description, plot, cause and
effect, and perspective.
4. Index cards on which students write
an understanding on one side and a question on the other side.
Student-created graphic organizer describing some characteristics of
the author. Students could use Thinking Maps organizers or
multimedia program (i.e. Inspirations).
6. Student-created four
box cartoon using illustrations and dialogue between the characters
of the story .
Lesson 1 Elements of Fiction After the teacher reads a short
trade book (i.e. The Raven by Gerald McDermott) the students
participate in a whole-class discussion on the elements of fiction,
how the elements are used in the trade book, and how the story would
be affected if we eliminate one or more of the elements in the trade
book. After oral questioning, the students will create a Tree Map
branching the elements of fiction and citing examples from the trade
Lesson 2 Perspective Class reads a short story. After the
story has been read, teacher leads a whole-class discussion on how
the experiences of the author affect the way the story is written.
In small groups, students will list the elements of a story given to
them to read. From the list, each group will compose a short
description of the author using the examples from the story. Each
small group will present an oral summary of the story and their
conclusions about the author.
Lesson 3 Literary Devices (simile,
metaphor, personification) Using samples of poetry and other
literature, the teacher will introduce the literary devices: simile,
metaphor, personification, define each device, and cite examples
from previous lesson's stories. Students will define simile,
metaphor, personification and list examples of each in their English
journal. Students will divide into their small group and create
original examples of simile, metaphor, personification. Each group
will present one example of each literary device.
Descriptive Language The teacher will read a selection from a story
presented on the overhead highlighting the descriptive language in
the selection. After the selection has been read several times,
students participate in a whole-class discussion on why descriptive
language makes a story more effective due to the images created. The
students write a short journal entry on why they think descriptive
language makes a story more effective. Teacher divides the class
into their small groups and groups participate in a descriptive
language scavenger hunt, locating examples from various resources.
Lesson 5 Writing the Elements of Fiction (multi-day lesson)
Using the information obtained from the first lesson, review the
following elements of fiction: character, setting, plot, conflict
resolution, and dialogue. Characterization: As a class, the teacher
leads the students create a fictitious character, web the character
traits, and using descriptive language write a description of the
character. Setting: The students discuss time and place, and use of
descriptive language in portraying the setting. As a whole class,
the students list descriptive words and as a class create a vivid
description of a setting. Plot: The teacher leads the whole class to
use a plot line to sequence the events of a previously read story,
labeling the introduction, conflict, resolution, and conclusion.
Dialogue: The teacher shows a transparency of a four-part cartoon
and the whole class discusses the bubbles that show conversation.
The whole class rewrites the dialogue, using correct capitalization
and punctuation. Finally, students write their own 4 part cartoon,
including dialogue as spoken or unspoken conversation.
Writing the tale: Students review all components of the unit and
reread selections. The students choose a main character and write a
story about that character, using all the elements of fiction,
descriptive language, and literary devices. The students edit and
revise the story using peer, adult / parent, and individual's own
feedback. The final draft of the story may be published in a variety
of ways, including handwritten with drawings, computer generated
with drawings, hyperstudio or power point presentation.
Copyright © 1997-2003
Career Connection to Teaching with Technology
USDOE Technology Innovation Challenge Grant
Marshall Ransom, Project Manager
All rights reserved.