Unusual Weather

Lesson Overview

Students will apply their knowledge of story structure and use their imaginations as they write a story about experiencing unusual weather.

Get Started

Tips for using this assignment with your students:

If your students are not yet familiar with story structure, start with a mini-lesson on story structure:

-> Project or share the Story/Personal Narrative graphic organizer and provide a brief explanation of each story part. Then, keeping the graphic organizer in view:

     > Read aloud a picture book or a short story that’s likely to be of high interest to your students. (It could be a new story or a familiar, well-loved selection.) If you need an idea for a text to use, you might try Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts or The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi.

     > After reading, ask students to help you complete the graphic organizer.

  • What was the setting and who were the important characters?
  • What was the problem or goal in the story?
  • What actions did the characters take to solve the problem or reach the goal?
  • How was the problem solved or the goal achieved?
  • What was the consequence or resolution?

Next, focus on the ways writers use their understanding of story to plan and develop their ideas:

     > Planning : First, provide planning time for students to use the graphic organizer to sketch and develop the important parts of their story. Be sure to remind them to think about the prompt as they plan. (After students have a chance to jot down their initial thoughts, you might focus their attention on a specific story part. For example, for this prompt, they might spend a few extra minutes thinking about the setting–exactly what is the weather like–how does it look and feel? Have students add specific details about the setting to their graphic organizer. Then have students think about what kinds of problems the weather might create and how their characters might respond. Again, encourage them to jot down their characters’ reactions to the weather.

     > Drafting: Writing time! Give students ample time to write their stories. Encourage students to be creative and try new ideas, even if they’re not completely sure of them. They will have a chance to revise and fix up if they don’t like what they wrote!

     > Editing: Once they are satisfied with their story “arc”, guide them to also think about important writing conventions. For example, they might think about sentence structure by asking themselves:

  • Have they used interesting and important words to describe the weather and their characters’ reactions to it?
  • Have they used both simple and complex sentences to keep their readers’ attention?

     > Publishing: Celebrate student writing by giving them the option to read their stories aloud to their peers, create a “readers’ theater” by acting out their stories, or even record their stories with video or audio on their devices.

Writing Instruction Routines

For more tips to guide students before, during, and after writing, take a look at the Writing Instruction Routines page.

Common Core Anchor Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5: With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.6: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.