Empowering Writers

September 2017 K-1 Lesson of the Month

K-1 Lesson of the Month:

This month, the K-1 lesson is based on a horse theme using a newly published narrative book entitled A Horse Named Steve by Kelly Collier. It is paired with an expository book, Horses by Gail Gibbons or Horses by Laura Driscoll. There are many potential writing lessons possible using these books. Several are included in this month’s newsletter and they are meant to be taught over several days. For each different skill, the related page numbers from the K-1 Guide are included.


After sharing the above books with children, students will discuss the author’s purpose, fill in summarizing frameworks, create narrative and expository book covers, explore how horses move, and even discuss general vs. specific details.

Here’s what you’ll do:

1.)   First share the book A Horse Named Steve with the students. As you read the book, discuss ways the horse moves – walks, stumbles, gallops, drags his feet. After completing the read-aloud, fill in the summarizing framework and discuss the author’s purpose – to entertain.  (Pgs. 15, 35-38 in the K-1 Guide)

Beginning: Steve finds a golden horn.

Middle: Steve brags about how great he is with his horn and all of the animals want to be special like Steve.

End: Steve loses his horn and decides he is still special without the golden horn.

2.)   Have the students pantomime other ways a horse can move. (No-Go Game pgs. 249-266). Chart their responses. prance, run, race,  trot, lope, jump, leap, hurdle, sprint, dart, dash, barrel, etc. Using the charted response, have the students draw a horse moving in different ways. Also, students can write a sentence using their movement word. For example, they might write, My horse prances toward the barn. or Can you believe my horse can leap over the fence? Sentence starters will help add sentence variety to their writing.

Sentence Starters:

My horse ____________ toward the barn.

Can you believe my horse can ___________ over the fence?

Did you know that this amazing mammal ____________ through the field?

I am surprised at how fast this farm animal can ___________.

For fun, have students “act out” each horse movement!

3.)   Reread A Horse Named Steve and talk about the words the author used to describe the horse. During the read aloud, chart the ways the author described the horse –  exceptional, fine, fancy, amazing, extraordinary, stylish, special, natural, trendsetter. After charting the adjectives, ask the students to close their eyes and picture the horse as you read each of the charted words. Then ask if any of these words truly describe what the horse looks like. Next, chart answers to detail-generating questions (Use the picture in the book or a google image of a horse). Write a descriptive paragraph, using the charted student responses. (K-1 Guide pgs. 180-197)

Detail-generating questions:

How big or tall is the horse?

What kind/color/texture of hair, mane?

Shape, size, of ears, tail?

What sounds does it make?

How does it move? (Use the previous day’s lesson expand the movement)

4.)   Have the students create a narrative book cover, using the template on pgs. 21-22 of the K-1 Guide.

5.)   Read an expository book about horses from the above list or from your own library of books. After sharing the book, talk about the author’s purpose – to inform and fill out a summary statement (pgs. 14-16 in the K-1 Guide).

This book is about horses.

6.)   Have the students create an expository book cover about horses using the template in the K-1 Guide pgs. 19-20.