Response to Literature Redux

We are full swing into our Colonial unit and I just had to share the latest response to literature writing project the kids finished.  I am in love!

Now, I actually shared the version we did last year with you here.  But I made some changes, so I figured it needed a new post.

teaching in room 6, blog, 5th grade, upper grade
We started by reading the books Sarah Morton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl and Samuel Eaton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy .  My fabulous teammate Kristi has an entire class set of the books, so it made that part very easy.  When we finished, the students made a flow map of each of the children's day.  I asked them to really think about the chores and tasks, making note of each.

I then gave each student a non-fiction sheet with information about what a typical child living in the pilgrim plantation would have experienced.  While it mirrored what the two reading books said, there was far more information, so the students weren't boxed in to only those activities mentioned in the books.   You can get that sheet here., teaching in room six blog, social studiesAfter reading the non-fiction and the realistic fiction, the students set off to write their own version of the "Day" books.  Using the information gathered, they wrote 5 paragraphs:  an introduction in the style of the books, a morning, a midday, an evening, and then a conclusion/wrap up paragraph in the style of the books.   The kids really got into this and had a great time creating their essays.

Since we are still working on varying our sentences, I did have them go back during the revision stages and change their simple sentences (of which there were many) to complex sentences, as well as add in some appositives.

history, colonial times, response to literature
Then, for the final draft, the students created a "photo-journal" in the style of the reading books.  This year, I had them draw the pictures directly into the book, with the story surrounding it...and it made a world of difference.  The style of the journals so much more closely matched the style of the reading books.  The kids got so into portraying their written words in the pictures.  And I can't stop looking at them! They are just so fabulous.

reading, writing,

literature response, pilgrims.


5th grade response to literature writing a fictional narrative with informational text for the colonies.
We have been very into using our chrome books as of late, so I thought I would take this same idea and have the kids add a little technology into it!

We did exactly as was described above, only this time, instead of WRITING the final draft, they TYPED it on a Google Slide.  I created this very simple template for them (you can pick it up here).  The students needed to type each individual paragraph on one slide.  They then had to add in two or three rectangular boxes (with a white background) to eventually draw pictures in.

Once it was typed and printed, the students then drew their pictures in.  I asked them to make the pics look as much like photographs as possible.  Then they bound the pages altogether in a book, added a cover page, and voila, the fictional narrative was complete!

Have you ever taken a project that you did previously and tweaked it, with fabulous results?  Tell me about it!


  1. These are fabulous! About how long did it take for this complete project?

    I'm finding that when I have my 5/6 graders do something this year that I might anticipate it to be a 2 day thing, and it ends up being a 3 day thing. This has happened A LOT this year since I've been teaching history for the 1st time and everything I've done has been new. :)


  2. They ARE fabulous!!! LOVE the photo journal idea - visualizing and writing their responses! And btw - simple sentences are the bane of my existence right now in writing. I had my kiddos do the same thing today with the letters they wrote ...

  3. I love this! Great way to incorporate reading, writing, and social studies! You've got some real little artists in your class :)

    Heather @ Crazy Life of a Future Teacher

  4. WOW! Your students definitely had a great time with this unit!

  5. Stephanie,
    I know you have a ton of blog posts about TEST PREP. I hope you will accept my invitation to link up your great blog post at the TEST PREP LINKY PARTY being hosted at

  6. I'm trying this out with my class right now - thanks! Do you have a specific rubric you use to grade this? If not, I will be making one and will send it to you if you want.

  7. Wow! Love this. Do you think it could be adapted to the Civil War?

  8. I love this and want to try it with my third and forth graders this week. Hope they turn out just as cute as the ones you posted. I love when subjects can cross over. Social studies AND writing? Yes please!

  9. Thank you for sharing! This is GREAT! All 5 of our 5th grade teachers are using this lesson during our colonial unit.


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