Empowering Writers

May 2018 Lesson of the Month

Lesson of the Month: For many students and teachers, the countdown to summer break has begun! To keep students engaged and excited about learning, create a class or individual PowerPoint presentation about a place you’d like to visit. Students will do a little research, practice their expository skills, and use technology all in one fun project! Happy Vacationing!

Objective: Students will create a PowerPoint presentation to give information about a vacation spot they’d like to visit.

Materials: Empowering Writers expository writing resources, computer with PowerPoint, internet for images and information.


Day 1

  1. Explain to students that they will complete an expository presentation on a place they’d like to visit during summer vacation. *For the intermediate grades, this might be a great time to practice research skills. Use section 4 of the guide to help students through the research process.
  2. Review PICK, LIST, CHOOSE in section 2 of the guide. Choose a vacation spot for yourself to serve as an example to model the process throughout each day.
  3. Fill in Prewriting Plan:

Topic: _______beach_______________

Main Idea #1: _____lodging_________

Main Idea #2: _____restaurants_______

Main Idea #3: _____activities________, etc.


  1. Based on the critical thinking involved in this whole class effort, students extend the process of their own preferred topic (summer vacation spot), and fill in their own prewriting plans.
  2. Use this time to have students research and choose a destination of their own.


Day 2

  1. Review Pillar Framework (organizational strategy)
  2. Begin Introduction Paragraph – Review possible LEADS (anecdote, descriptive segment, amazing fact, etc.) & TOPIC SENTENCES. MODEL an introduction with your vacation spot. Because this a presentation on a vacation spot, a descriptive segment or amazing fact about the place would be a very effective lead.
    • Who doesn’t dream of _______?
    • An unforgettable vacation begins by visiting ___________.
    • There is no doubt_______ is an amazing place to visit.
  3. Once students have chosen their place, have them write a LEAD and clear, concise TOPIC SENTENCE. Eventually this will be the second slide in their PowerPoint.
  4. Share introductions with the class. Ask:
    • Does this grab your readers’ attention?
    • What will this presentation be about?
  5. *Note: You can choose to demonstrate the PowerPoint presentation after each day or later. Each presentation will need a title slide, main idea slides, and conclusion slide.


Day 3

  1. Find pictures of the vacation spot for each main idea (each MI will have a slide). You may have to teach students how to save images from the internet into whatever format your school uses.
  1. For students who are ready for research, have them also use this time to find interesting information about their place (ex: MI: restaurants-they may research different restaurants in the area and identify anything unique or outstanding about them). If you are having them cite sources, make sure to remind them to save web addresses.


Day 4

  1. Review the detail-generating questions (What does it look like? Why is it important?). Play the grab bag game with vacation themed bags (beach, hiking, camping, etc.). Model an item from your vacation place (ex: sun hat from a beach grab bag).
  2. Don’t forget about word referents for over-used vocabulary. Model your vacation place (ex: beach: sandy oasis, island get-away, tropical paradise). Have students create a word referent chart for their location.
  3. Model a body paragraph for students using sentence starters for main idea sentences, transitions, word referent, etc.
  4. Students will begin to write their body paragraph for each main idea. They will create a word referent chart.
  5. Encourage an interesting main idea sentence. *Review and model main idea sentences if necessary. Provide sentence starters. (See below.)
  6. Remind them to include facts with specific and vivid word choice.
  7. *Note: For the PowerPoint presentation, you can create each main idea slide after they’ve written the respective paragraph, or create all of the slides when the writing is complete.


Possible sentence starters:

  • Prepare for ______ by ______.
  • You will find that ________.
  • My _____ get-away wouldn’t be complete without ________.
  • On a sunny day, ___________.
  • Unforgettable vacations always include _________.
  • Every _____ vacation includes dining at __________.


Day 5, 6

  1. Repeat the procedure for Day 4, addressing the remaining body paragraphs.


Day 7

  1. Reread the piece. Revise as necessary.
  2. Review techniques for creating an effective conclusion paragraph (section 5 of guide). Model a conclusion.
  3. Have students write their conclusion. Share if desired.


Day 8

  1. Reread, revise for word choice. Check for application of specific skills. Edit for spelling, capitalization, punctuation.
  2. Use this time to create the PowerPoint presentation or review/revise/edit it if it’s already made.


*Remember to focus on the process and not necessarily the designated number of days. Your schedule and student experience will determine how long the project will take.





Download Summer Vacation Planning and Final Product Powerpoint