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Convenient Conventions

Bring out the investigators in your class! Small groups create 'who', 'what', 'where', 'when' & 'why' cards then the class works together to build and illustrate their own unique stories!

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Share a read aloud with students such as Imaginative Inventions: The Who, What, Where, When, and Why of Roller Skates, Potato Chips, Marbles, and Pie (and More!) by Charise Mericle Harper. Have students select one or two items included in the read and discuss the process that brought about these discoveries. Review the five questions posed for each invention and guide the students, as needed, to answer those questions using information from the text. Conclude that these 5 questions are imperative to exploring the details of a situation.
    2. Posing as an investigative reporter, demonstrate how these 5 questions can provide enough information for someone to recreate events sufficient to solve a mystery. Invite students to role play a simple crime such as breaking a minor school rule. Divide the class into small groups, with some of group members acting as the police and others as witnesses to the event. Encourage the police to use these same five questions to solve the mystery of the classroom 'crime'. Review with the students how knowing the answer to each of these questions helped to solve the mystery.
    3. Refer to a recently read story. Pose the problem of the story to the class. Ask the 5 questions in relation to the story; for example: How did Alice get to Wonderland? Lead the students to be able to come up with answers to these questions. Conclude the discussion with the application of these questions in other areas of life such as scientific inquiry, historical documentation and literary writing.
    4. Have available 5 colors of construction paper available, several sheets of each. Reorganize students into 5 small groups and assign a question to each group. Provide each group with one color's stack of paper. Challenge students to brainstorm as many answers to their question as possible in the time allotted. For example, the 'who' group could list different people that they know; they might follow a theme such as people in the school, so they would include the principal, office workers, teachers and maybe a few of the students in their own class.
    5. Have available 5 colors of construction paper available, several sheets of each. Reorganize students into 5 small groups and assign a question to each group. Provide each group with one color's stack of paper. Challenge students to brainstorm as many answers to their question as possible in the time allotted. For example, the 'who' group could list different people that they know; they might follow a theme such as people in the school, so they would include the principal, office workers, teachers and maybe a few of the students in their own class.
    6. Using Crayola Construction Paper Crayons, students each create several drawings to depict the list brainstormed and they should be encouraged, if able, to write the name/word on that sheet of paper. Suggest that they add interesting colors and lots of details, pointing out that this provides additional information, or clues, that may be used later in answering the questions.
    7. When each group has a selection completed, engage the whole class in a demonstration. Have 5 students, one from each group, read one of their paper drawings for who, what, where, when and why. Guide students to modify those 5 parts into a complete sentence. Students brainstorm suggestions of how this sentence could develop into a complete story by exploring possibilities of who (else), what could happen, where the character/s might go, when this could take place and why the characters would be motivated to do so.
    8. Use this activity as a springboard to build a class story. Assign each student with a section/page to illustrate. Publish the completed story for the classroom library!
  • Standards

    LA: With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.

    LA: With guidance and support from adults, respond to questions and suggestions from peers and add details to strengthen writing as needed.

    LA: Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood.

    LA: Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.

    VA: Engage collaboratively in creative art-making in response to an artistic problem.

    VA: Describe what an image represents.

    VA: Create art that tells a story about a life experience.

  • Adaptations

    Choose artwork to focus on and guide the class to answer the 5 questions, based on that artwork. Follow up with this activity by having students write a story based on their investigation of that artwork.

    Refer to an historical event that has been introduced to the class. Prompt students to answer the questions, thereby creating their own theories.

    Have the children illustrate this class story in only thin black marker drawings. Make copies of the whole book for each student and use as an extra activity for each student to color in his/her own copy!

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