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Tell Me a Story, Virginia Hamilton

Children's author Virginia Hamilton is the inspiration for drawing and writing original stories.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Share a selection of stories and novels by Virginia Hamilton with students. This can be accomplished with independent reading, in small groups, or as whole class read-alouds. Discuss how Hamilton uses language to portray vivid characters and settings in her stories. Identify variations in dialogue that connect characters to their geographic and cultural backgrounds.
    2. Ask students to think about the Hamilton stories they have experienced. What pictures come to mind from these stories? Draw a similar image on white paper with Crayola® Crayons, Erasable Colored Pencils or Color Sticks. Let images come to life as students tell themselves a story about their pictures.
    3. When drawings are complete, students use crayons or colored pencils to quickly write a few sentences about the story they are referencing in their drawings. If they run out of sentences, encourage students to begin a second drawing to carry the story forward. Continue the writing/drawing cycle until the story concludes.
    4. Use Crayola Scissors to cut aluminum foil slightly larger than each drawing. Attach each drawing to foil with Crayola School Glue. Spread more glue on the back of the foil and center it on a larger piece of colored construction paper.
    5. Edit and rewrite stories on writing paper. Arrange framed drawings into a book with story pages placed between drawings.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grade level text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    LA: Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    LA: Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Prior to beginning this lesson, students collaborate to generate a list of descriptive terms to use when composing their original writing. Display student list in the classroom for easy reference.

    Virginia Hamilton comes from a family that lived in the area of Yellow Spring, Ohio for generations. This area was a station on the Underground Railroad. Encourage students to conduct research about Hamilton's family and their connection to slavery.

    Students research awards presented to Virginia Hamilton for her contributions to children's literature, as well as winners of the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award. What is the purpose of this award? Who is eligible to be considered for this honor?

    Students investigate other literary awards such as the Newbery Award and the Caldecott Award. What are the origins of these awards? What work is eligible to be considered for these honors?


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