Empowering Writers

May 2015 Lesson of the Month

Here’s what you’ll do:

First, have the students brainstorm some survival instructions to recommend to the in-coming class. For example: learn your multiplication facts, never come to school without your homework, always shake his/her hand when you walk in the door, raise your hand before you speak, never show your cell phone, don’t lean back in your chair, ask for crackers when you are hungry, Mr./Mrs. _____ will let you do fun things when the class is good, if you finish your work, you can help the teacher, etc. Chart their responses, encouraging them to think of everything they want to share with the in-coming class.

Tell the students they can choose one charted response as a MAIN IDEA or they can combine one or more ideas and choose an appropriate MAIN IDEA category.

For example, learning your multiplication facts might be a MAIN IDEA. Use the detail-generating questions to write what that looks like and why it is important. Also, write the consequence, if they DON’T learn the facts.


In 3rd grade, (Mr./Mrs._____’s class), you must learn your multiplication facts. These are your times tables from 0-12, like 4 x 4 = 16 and 6 x 7 = 42. It is important to learn these because you will need these facts to figure out story problems, solve geometry lessons, and work division problems. If you don’t learn these facts quickly, you will have to stay after school three days a week until you learn them.

Or combine ideas and create a MAIN IDEA category that umbrellas all of them. For example, you might combine raise your hand before you speak and don’t lean back in your chair as classroom rules established on the first day of school; hence, your MAIN IDEA.


On the first day of school, Mr./Mrs. _____ will go over all of the rules you should follow for the entire year. One of these is raise your hand before you speak and another is don’t lean back in your chair. It is necessary to always abide by these rules. When you fail to observe these practices, you will have to suffer the consequence. Most of the time, the result is sitting out at recess for five minutes. But if you continue to break the rules, Mr./Mrs. _____ might send you to the principal.

Once the paragraph is complete, have each student compile a letter to a school mate in the grade below. In the letter, they will include their survival tip for succeeding in the 3rd (4th, 5th, 6th) Grade.