Publishing the Choose-Your-Own Adventure Animal Defense Mechanisms Narrative | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G4:M2:U3:L15

Publishing the Choose-Your-Own Adventure Animal Defense Mechanisms Narrative

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RI.4.9: Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  • W.4.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • W.4.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
  • W.4.3b: Use dialogue and description to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.
  • W.4.3c: Use a variety of transitional words and phrases to manage the sequence of events.
  • W.4.3d: Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
  • W.4.3e: Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.
  • W.4.6: With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.
  • W.4.7: Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
  • W.4.8: Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources.
  • W.4.9: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • W.4.9b: Apply grade 4 Reading standards to informational texts (e.g., "Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text").

Daily Learning Targets

  • I can publish my choose-your-own-adventure animal defense mechanisms narrative. (RI.4.9, W.4.3, W.4.6, W.4.7, W.4.8, W.4.9b)
  • I can write a positive comment after reading a classmate's writing.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Choose-your-own-adventure animal defense mechanisms narratives (final copy) (RI.4.9, W.4.3, W.4.6, W.4.7, W.4.8, W.4.9b)


AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Reviewing Learning Targets (10 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Independent Work and Conferring (35 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Writer's Gallery (15 minutes)

4. Homework

A. None

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards:

  • This lesson is largely dependent upon students having access to a computer and a printer. If students have already had time to word process their second draft on a computer, the timing of this lesson will work well. If students have not yet started word processing, consider giving them additional time to type their final copies. If technology is not available in sufficient numbers for your class, consider modifying this lesson to use standard print dictionaries and focus on students using neat handwriting to create a published copy of their narratives using the Performance Task template (see Performance Task Overview).
  • In this unit, the habit of character focus is working to contribute to a better world. The characteristics they are reminded of in this lesson are: taking care of shared spaces and apply my learning because of using shared computers to publish students' narratives.

How it builds on previous work:

  • This is the final lesson of this module, and students will pull together the work they have done throughout the module: their informative writing from Unit 2, their choose-your-own-adventure narrative with a choice of two endings from this unit, and then sketches completed in this lesson.
  • Continue to use Goals 1-3 Conversation Cues to promote productive and equitable conversation.

Areas where students may need additional support:

  • Students may need additional time for publishing. To provide this time, you may wish to move the Writer's Gallery in the Closing of this lesson to another day.

Assessment Guidance:

  • Use the Grade 4 Narrative Writing Rubric (see the Tools page) to grade student work.

In Advance

  • Prepare the Steps for Publishing My Narrative chart (see supporting materials).
  • To celebrate students' learning during the Writer's Gallery in the closing of this lesson, consider creating a festive mood in the classroom: soft music, maybe some sparkling cider, perhaps a banner congratulating the writers on their publication. You may consider inviting parents or other adults from the school to share in the celebration of students' learning.
  • Post: Learning targets.

Tech and Multimedia

  • Opening A: Demonstrate the word processing software students will use to publish their work.
  • Work Time A: Students publish their work using word processing software.
  • Work Time A: Students publish their work in a word processing document, for example a Google Doc using Speech to Text facilities activated on devices, or using an app or software like

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 4.I.A.2, 4.I.B.6, 4.I.C.11, 4.I.C.12, 4.II.A.1

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs as they come full-circle in their choose-your-own-adventure narrative. It is a special day to celebrate the unique achievements and progress of ELLs. Acknowledge that ELLs not only possess a lot of content knowledge, but they are also able to communicate about it in at least two languages. Fantastic!
  • ELLs may find it challenging to "let go" and publish their narrative. The language of their narrative may not be complete or correct, so encourage the class to celebrate the overall communication of animal defense mechanisms and the narrative.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • Encourage students to think about their thinking and learning: "How did our learning process over the past three units add to your understanding of animal defense mechanisms and writing? I'll give you time to think and discuss with a partner."

For heavier support:

  • If possible, show ELLs a published version of a former ELL's choose-your-own-adventure animal defense mechanism narrative. Copy samples from this group of students to use as samples next year.
  • As an exit ticket before students leave the classroom, invite them to tell you one positive comment about their own choose-your-own-adventure animal defense mechanism narrative.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): When sharing and celebrating culminating work, it is important to also document and review the group's learning processes. Consider highlighting aspects of the learning and writing process that were important in this unit by explaining verbally and/or by displaying photo documentation with captions that describe what students learned during this unit. 
  • Multiple Means of Action & Expression (MMAE): Some students may need additional support in linking the information presented back to the learning targets. Invite students to make this connection by explicitly highlighting the utility and relevance of each activity to the learning targets. 
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): Continue to provide support for students who may need additional guidance in peer interactions and collaboration. For example, offer prompts or sentence frames that support students in asking for help or clarification from classmates. To support students who may need additional support in sustaining effort and/or attention, provide opportunities for restating the goal. Recall that in doing so, students are able to maintain focus for completing the activity. 


Key: (L): Lesson-Specific Vocabulary; (T): Text-Specific Vocabulary; (W): Vocabulary used in writing

  • publish, positive comment (L)


  • Working to Contribute to a Better World anchor chart (from Unit 1, Lesson 1)
  • Steps For Publishing My Narrative chart
  • Narrative Writing Checklist (from Lesson 3; one per student)
  • Performance Task template (see Performance Task Overview; one per student)
  • Sticky notes (5 per student)


Each unit in the 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reviewing Learning Targets (10 minutes) 

  • Ask students to sit where they can see your computer display. Let them know that today is the day they prepare their work to make it public--in other words, "publish" it. 
  • Direct students' attention to the posted learning targets and read the first learning target aloud: 
  • "I can publish my choose-your-own-adventure animal defense mechanisms narrative."
  • Circle the word publish and ask students to turn to a partner and share what they think this word means. 
  • Call on a few students to share their partners' thinking. (Publish means making work available to the public.)
  • Set purpose: Remind students that they will share their published narratives with an audience--their classmates. To publish their choose-your-own-adventure narratives, they need to be sure everything is complete and correct. Today they will have time to polish their writing, including both Choice #1 and Choice #2 from the End of Unit 3 Assessment in Lesson 14. 
  • Focus students on the Working to Contribute to a Better World anchor chart, specifically taking care of shared spaces and apply my learning. Remind students that have applied their learning through creating their performance tasks, and they need to take care of the shared computers they will use to publish their work.
  • Demonstrate how to use the word processing software you have chosen, including how to use spell check to check and replace the incorrect spellings.
  • Ask students to get out their Narrative Writing Checklists. 
  • Post the following steps and invite students to chorally read them with you:

1. Read your draft and correct conventions based on editing notes.

2. Check your narratives one last time using the Narrative Writing Checklist.

3. Rewrite your draft to include the corrections and revisions.

4. Print your work.

5. Sketch your cover on the Performance Task template.

6. Sketch your Choice #1 and Choice #2 pictures on your Performance Task template. Add captions.

  • If possible, expand the audience to include others who are not regularly a part of the class (e.g., other teachers, principal, parents, other classes). This can be motivating and exciting for students. See further recommendations in the Teaching Notes. (MME)
  • For ELLs: Students should strive for completeness and correctness. At the same time, embrace ELLs' language in published choose-your-own-adventure animal defense mechanisms narratives, even if it is not complete or always correct.
  • For ELLs: Explain caption to students and show them an example.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Independent Work and Conferring (35 minutes)

  • Have students move to a computer to begin typing using the Performance Task template. Remind them to reference the steps for publishing on the board as they are working.
  • Circulate and confer with students as needed and as they finish. 
  • When students indicate they are finished, ask them to add a footer to their document that includes their full name. This will avoid confusion when students print their papers.
  • Depending on pace, students may need additional time for publishing. If this is the case, consider extending this portion of the agenda and moving the Writer's Gallery in the Closing to another day. (MMAE, MME)

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Writer's Gallery (15 minutes)

  • Refocus students whole group.
  • Tell students that today they will celebrate their work as writers of choose-your-own-adventure narratives with a Writer's Gallery. Praise all the reading, research, and writing they have done to learn about animal defense mechanisms and publish their narratives. Congratulate them on their perseverance and creativity. 
  • Explain that during the Writer's Gallery, students will have an opportunity to read another classmate's narrative and leave a positive comment about that work. 
  • Direct students' attention to the learning targets and read the second learning target aloud: "I can write a positive comment after reading a classmate's writing." 
  • Remind students that they have been practicing giving kind and helpful feedback to their writing partners throughout this module, but today they will focus only on what they think the writer did well in the work they read. 
  • Explain the meaning of the phrase positive comment and remind them that comments that are specific and kind will be more meaningful than comments such as, "This is good." Tell students that once they have read another's work, they will write the positive comment on a sticky note and leave it on the classmate's desk. 
  • Assign each student another student's work to read. 
  • Post the following directions for the Writer's Gallery. Ask students to read them silently as you distribute a few sticky notes to each of them.

1. Clear your desk and put your narrative and sticky notes on top.

2. Go to your assigned author's desk.

3. Silently read his or her narrative.

4. Leave a positive comment on one of the sticky notes.

5. Go to an open desk and repeat Steps 3-5.

  • Explain that they will not get to read all the stories in the class but should have time to read at least one, if not two or three. Clarify any questions about the directions for the Writer's Gallery.
  • Emphasize that the Writer's Gallery is silent so everyone can read without distraction. 
  • Ask students to put the necessary materials on their desk. Then ask them to move to their assigned author's desk and begin the protocol.
  • Once time is up, ask students to go back to their desks and read their positive comment(s).
  • If productive, cue students to think about their thinking:

"What habits helped you succeed in learning about animal defense mechanisms and writing your own narrative? I'll give you time to think and discuss with a partner." (Responses will vary.)

  • Congratulate them on a job well done.
  • Use a checking for understanding protocol (for example Red Light, Green Light or Thumb-O-Meter) for students to self-assess how well they took care of shared spaces and applied their learning in this lesson.
  • For students who may need additional support with language: Provide examples of comments that are specific and kind. Consider providing sentence frames on sticky notes for students who may need support with this. Examples: "In this sentence, I like the word choice you used to describe ..." or "I noticed that in this paragraph you...." (MMAE)
  • For ELLs: Check comprehension: "When will you write a positive comment?"
  • For ELLs: Consider giving students a sample or sentence frame of the type of positive comment they might leave. Example: "I like the dialogue you wrote for Buster the Bird when he remembers that he feels sick when he eats the monarch butterfly. It was so funny."
  • For ELLs: Consider pairing students who need heavier support with students who have more advanced language proficiency. They can whisper-read the narratives together and discuss positive comments.


  • None.

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