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A Birthday Story

Anna Dodson
Kindergarten - Language Arts

Common Core Standards:

W.K.3 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked
events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened.

W.K.6 With guidance and support from adults, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing,
including in collaboration with peers.

Lesson Summary:

This lesson will align with the Ohio Learning Standards for English Language Arts and is designed to enhance
students understanding of story sequence and hone their technological skills. Students will use the Storybird
platform to create their own works of writing detailing a story about their best birthday. Using the artwork
provided through the web based application for inspiration, students will craft a 5 sentence narrative which
should provide details relating to the given prompt, and be presented in sequential order. When the assignment
has been completed, students (with teacher assistance) will publish their stories on the Storybird platform for
parents and peers to view.

Estimated Duration:

This lesson will span across 1 week and take approximately five 30 minute class periods. The last in-class
working session will be on a Friday and the assignment will be due the following Monday, giving students
time to work outside of class over the weekend. Due to the nature of the platform being used (web-based
application) students will have 24/7 access to their work and can utilize other adults for help such as a parent,
older sibling, or grandparent.


Going into this lesson, the teacher should prepare themselves for challenges with recalling story sequence. In
order to combat this and pique childrens interest, I would recommend reading the book 10 for Dinner by Jo
Ellen Bogart; a story about a young girl who invites her friends over for dinner on her birthday and the events
that ensue. Following the reading, the teacher could engage students in a discussion about the sequence of
events in the book and then transition into talking about the childrens personal experiences with birthday
Instructional Procedures:

Day 1 (Monday):
10 minutes: The teacher will read aloud the book 10 for Dinner by Jo Ellen Bogart.
10 minutes: Following the story, children will engage in a discussion about the book. During this time students
will be asked to verbally put a series of pivotal story events in correct sequential order. The teacher should take
note of any student who has difficulties with completing this task.
10 minutes: The teacher will ask a series of open-ended questions related to birthdays; Tell me about your
most recent birthday. What happens on your birthday? Why do we have birthday celebrations? Answers
should be limited in length during the group lesson, however make children aware that they may discuss their
answers further afterwards with their peers. The teacher will then take this opportunity to transition into the
premise for the assignment. Students will be told to brainstorm ideas at home that evening with their

Day 2 (Tuesday):
10 minutes: The second day of the lesson will be spent introducing students to the platform they will be using
to create their stories. The teacher will begin by securing enough tablets (i-Pads) so that each student has his or
her own to use for the remainder of the day. Children will be seated so they have a clear view of the classroom
SmartBoard. The teacher will bring up the Storybird website on board and ask students to follow along on their
tablet (i.e. do exactly what the teacher is doing). Prior to the lesson, the teacher will have set up a Storybird
account under the Teacher/Educator profile and entered the names of all the students in the class into the
database. At this time the class will be given the classroom login information; the teacher will give specific
rules and guidelines as to proper platform/internet usage and warnings about what will happen in the event the
rules are not adhered to.
20 minutes: Students will have the remainder of the session to explore the application and play around with the
different features in order to become comfortable with the tool and with the tablet.

Day 3 (Wednesday):
30 minutes: This lesson period will be devoted solely to helping children get an idea of the story they want to
tell. The teacher will take the time to meet individually with each student for a few minutes, get the following
information from them and write it down on a sheet of paper:
- Do you have a story in mind for your best birthday?
- Is the story true?
- How old were you when it happened?
- Who was there?
- What was the main event/best part?
Students not actively meeting with their teacher should be engaging with peers or brainstorming on their own.
The teacher should encourage peer collaboration and remind students that they have access to Storybird at
home as well as at school.

Day 4 (Thursday):
5 minutes: By this time, all children in the class should know the story they wish to tell and the important
elements of that story. The teacher will do a quick check in to make sure that no one has fallen behind and then
inform the class of the plans to spend the session sequencing the events in their story.
25 minutes: Much like the day before, each student will have the opportunity to meet with the teacher and
discuss their story and how they believe the events should be sequenced. Each child will be asked to pick 5
elements (1 per sentence) to pull from their story. Students will be given a set of laminated numbers (1-5) and
then asked to assign a number to a story element, the idea being that 1 would correspond with the first event
and 5 with the last. The numbers can be moved around and rearranged. Students not actively meeting with the
teacher should be engaging with their peers and seeking advice about which event comes next in their story.
When students feel confident they have the correct order they may begin to write a rough draft of their story on
a piece of notebook paper.

Day 5 (Friday):
25 minutes: The last day of the lesson will be spent doing the actual writing. The teacher will begin by
securing enough tablets (i-Pads) so that each student has his or her own to use for the remainder of the day.
Students will work either on their rough draft on notebook paper or their final piece on the Storybird platform.
5 minutes: The teacher will check in with the class and get a tally of how many children have yet to start their
final work and if any are finished altogether. The teacher will remind everyone of the due date and send a
reminder paper home with children in their mailboxes for parents/guardians to read. Final projects will be due
on the Storybird platform by Monday.

Students will be pre-assessed on day 1 during the group discussion following the read aloud of the story. The
teacher will make physical and mental notes (anecdotal observations) of any students who are having
difficulties grasping the standards.

Scoring Guidelines:
Students will be scored based on teacher judgment and knowledge of childrens abilities. Additional
formative assessments will occur throughout the lesson including, but not limited to, individual check-
ins on days 3 and 4, and a group check-in on day 5.

After the conclusion of the lesson, students will have the opportunity to share their work with parents and
peers via the Storybird application. Those who have opted to share with peers will have their stories brought
up on the SmartBoard after they have been reviewed by the teacher. Stories will be shared one at a time after
which the teacher will assist students in the process of sequencing the narrative together as a class.

Scoring Guidelines:
The teacher will compare observations they have made about the childrens understanding of the
concepts on this day (post-lesson) to that of those they made on day 1 and analyze for any progress

Differentiated Instructional Support

Describe how instruction can be differentiated (changed or altered) to meet the needs of gifted or accelerated
- Students who are identified as being gifted and/or accelerated could participate in the same assignment with
minor changes such as extended sentence length, vocabulary parameters, and increased story depth. The talents
of these students could be utilized through the use of peer tutoring/mentoring to help students who may be
struggling with the concepts.
Discuss additional activities you could do to meet the needs of students who might be struggling with the
- For students who may be struggling with sequencing, I would recommend that the teacher tie
something concrete to this abstract concept. For example, the teacher could create a felt board story to
accompany the picture book used at the beginning of the lesson and have the struggling child spend
time sitting putting the pieces in the order that corresponds with the pictures in the story.
- For students who may be struggling with writing their story, the teacher could suggest scheduled log on
times at home so that the teacher could log on to Storybird as well to monitor the students progress.

This site gives students the opportunity to practice their sequencing skills by playing games.
This site provides many different writing activities for students to choose from.

Homework Options and Home Connections

Due to the fact that students will have limited in class time to work on this project, much of the work will be
done at home; this is largely done to encourage parent involvement. Given the nature of the assignment
(personal story) and the requirements placed on the student (internet access) this lesson is the perfect way to
connect school life with home life.

Interdisciplinary Connections
Mathematics: Students will be asked to repeatedly place events in sequential order which draws on their
knowledge of logic and math, particularly when they are asked to order the events of their story from the event
that happens 1st through 5th.
Art: Students will have to use illustrations from the Storybird platform as inspiration for their story. Students
must recognize that plausible connections must exist between the illustrations and the text.
Materials and Resources:

For teachers - The book 10 for Dinner by Jo Ellen Bogart

- Printer
- Laminator
- Scissors
- Notebook paper
- Pencils
- A SmartBoard
- Approximately 20 i-Pads, enough for 1 per child
- A computer (desktop or laptop)
- Internet access
- Storybird account

For students - Internet access

- A computer (i-Pad, desktop, laptop)

Key Vocabulary
Sequencing, platform, application, web, collaborate

Additional Notes
Here is the link to the platform that this lesson is based around