Empowering Writers

March 2014 Lesson of the Month

March is the month in which everyone is Irish, at least for a day! Join the EW team in celebrating all things Irish with some fun and fact-filled activities that call to mind the folklore of the Emerald Isle. Erin go bragh! May the forty shades of green suggest a hint of spring, just around the corner!

A number of small cooperative groups will research, draw, and describe some aspect of Irish folklore. The end result will be a bulletin board featuring an intriguing display of Irish fairy folk.

Here’s what you’ll do:

1) Engage the class in a conversation about St. Patrick’s Day. (A cultural and religious holiday marking the Feast of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland). Discuss some of the ways we celebrate the cultural aspects of the holiday.

2) Explain that Ireland has a rich collection of folklore based on stories of a variety of mythical fairy creatures. Share the following images with them: (Powerpoint titled Irish folklore).

3) Assign a small group of students to each of the following topics:

  • Banshees
  • Merrows
  • Leprechauns
  • Fairies
  • Fairy Mounds

Have students research their Irish folk character (or fairy mound), and take simple, bulleted notes. (For help with note-taking, see the following: (Note taking pages from the Write about Science Guide).

Here are some helpful sites:

4) Have each group draw a large, detailed picture depicting their fairy folk. If possible, use poster-sized paper. Be sure they refer to their notes to inform their illustrations.

5) On another day have each group write a vivid description of their fairy folk or fairy ring. Provide them with a “looking sentence” to begin. Here are some suggestions:

  • I stopped short at the sight of __________.
  • I gasped when I saw __________.
  • I was shocked when spied __________.

Remember the methodology – first, MODEL an example for them, chart the detail-generating questions for a story critical character or setting. (Questions for story critical character or setting from our Narrative Guide.) Elicit and chart a wide range of student responses, then draw from these as you craft a vivid descriptive segment. Then move to GUIDED PRACTICE, and have each group write their descriptive segment. Circulate, offering encouragement, feedback, suggestions.

6) Finally, display their work on a background of green, white, and orange (the colors of the Irish flag).