Blogging to Create a Community of Writers #7: Our Curious Cast of Characters

kelleyedwards's picture
Content Area(s):  
Grade Level(s):  
Oregon Common Core State Standards: 
Lesson Plan Details
4 class periods

Students will learn...

  • to participate effectively in an online community of writers
  • to participate appropriately in a blog
  • to use computer based tools for revising and editing of writing
  • effective character development

Computers with:

  • dictionary, thesaurus, and text to speech
  • headphones with splitters

A classroom blog set up

Handouts photocopied


Students need prior instruction in:

  • Logging into class blog
  • Appropriate participation in class blog
  • Use of computer based or online based spell checker, thesaurus, and text to speech
  • Writing with sensory details
  • Writing similes

Teacher will:

  • Prepare photocopies of handouts (character traits, brainstorm, prewrite, and rubric)

Day 1: Brainstorm and Prewrite (45 minute lesson)

Prepare (15 minutes)

  • Project or post the teacher blog post with the writing prompt and directions.
  • Invite class to create a cast of characters that can be used in all students' future writing.
  • Explain that students will design and bring to life a character with physical and personality traits and then show him or her in a defining moment of change.
  • Distribute the handouts (character traits and brainstorm and prewrite).

Brainstorm & Prewrite (20 minutes)

  • Students complete the brainstorm and prewrite.
  • While students work on the brainstorm, the teacher interviews individual students about their character (What is their favorite pizza topping? What kind of shoes do they wear? Why? How do they get to school or work?). Teacher nudges students to select increasingly more specific details and descriptors.
  • While students work on the prewrite, the teacher interviews students about the defining moment of change (What caused the change? What did the process of change look like, sound like, etc.? How will you show the change in feelings?). Teacher nudges students to select increasingly more specific details and descriptors.

Closure (5 minutes)

  • Students select their three most specific details and description. Ask sampling of students to share out, and celebrate examples of rich word choice, 'buddied up' nouns and verbs, similes, etc.


Day 2: Type Draft into Blog (45 minute lesson)

Prepare (10 minutes)

  • Students retrieve their prewrites.
  • Distribute computers to students.
  • Project or post teacher blog post and review blogging and writing expectations (conventions, use of computer based tools, etc.)

Type Draft in Blog (25 minutes)

  • Students log into and draft their post to their blog.
  • Students use the computer based thesaurus to assist with choosing rich words.
  • They publish their post and log out.

Closure & Cleanup (10 minutes)

  • Students select their favorite sentence. A sampling of students share out their chosen sentences, and celebrate.
  • Students return supplies.


Day 3: Revise and Edit (45 minute lesson)

Prepare (10 minutes)

  • Ask students to think of and share out what they will be looking to correct and improve as they revise and edit.
  • Project or post ReviseEdit doc. for student reference.
  • Distribute computers, headphones, and splitters to pairs of students.

Partner Revise & Edit (25 minutes)

  • Working in pairs, students use their computer based dictionaries, thesaurus, text to speech and spelling and grammar checkers to revise and edit their writing.
  • Students listen to each other's writing through text to speech with headphones and splitters.

Closure & Cleanup (10 minutes)

  • Students select their favorite sentence. A sampling of students share out their chosen sentences, and celebrate.
  • Supplies are put away.


Day 4: Review & Comment on Peers' Blog Posts (25 minute lesson)

Prepare (5 minutes)

  • Review expectations for posting comments in general.
  • Project or post directions for commenting on this particular post.
  • Distribute computers to students.

Review & Comment (15 minutes)

  • Students review assigned students' blog posts and leave comments.

Closure (5 minutes)

  • Students choose best comment they wrote and posted. Select a sampling of students to share out and celebrate the effective comments.
  • Supplies are put away.

See attached rubric.

Oregon Educational Technology Standards
Creativity and Innovation: 
1B. Create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
Communication and Collaboration: 
2A. Interact and collaborate with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
2B. Effectively communicate and publish to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
Digital Citizenship: 
5A. Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and digital technology.
5B. Model and practice a positive attitude toward using digital technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.
5C. Demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning.
Career Related Learning Standards
Personal Management: 
CR1A. Identify tasks that need to be done and initiate action to complete the tasks.
CR2A. Plan, organize, and complete projects and assigned tasks on time, meeting agreed upon standards of quality.
CR3C Give and receive feedback in a positive manner.
kerryforsell's picture

I wonder if this would be possible for younger students of course requiring less. 

Jennifer Rabing's picture

I wonder how the students felt about their writing proficiency after this series exercises or if their writing test scores showed any improvement.

I wish I could see what the blog site actually looked like (a screen shot).

I wonder if this class was 1:1 laptop ratio.