Wild Schoolgrounds Workshop
Cindy Stone/Eldersburg Elementary/Kindergarten
Shared Writing – “Our Turtles’ Habitat”
Background – This would be the introductory lesson in a series of lessons in which
the children will collaborate to write a non-fiction class book about the turtle
habitat in our school. (RELA Writing benchmarks, Science connection – Using Our
Senses as Scientists)
1. The students will use their senses to observe the characteristics of the box
turtle courtyard habitat.
2. The students will record their observations of our box turtle habitat by
participating in a shared writing experience with the teacher while present in the
courtyard (in preparation for writing a class book about the turtles’ habitat).
Materials needed: Picture of a box turtle, preferably actual picture of one or more
of the turtles in our habitat; portable easel with graphic organizer/chart for listing
observations; writing implement for the teacher and students to share
Teacher will show a photograph of turtle/turtles to the students and ask where
in our school environment they could live. Discussion would involve what turtles
would need to survive.
Teacher would then share with the students the actual location of the turtle
habitat and announce a “field trip” to the turtles’ habitat in order to observe them
and the characteristics of their habitat.
Class will gather in the courtyard habitat. Teacher will instruct the children to
use 4 of their 5 senses (no tasting) to observe the habitat, looking for living and
non-living things especially those which turtles might need to live. (Rules for
respecting the living things in the habitat should be discussed before exploration.)
After allowing time for exploration (and hopefully discovery of the turtles
themselves) the teacher will gather the children in the open area near a chart on
an easel. She will invite the children to “share the pen” to record their
observations of the habitat. As they share, the children will be asked to consider
whether the observation listed is a necessary or not so necessary part of the
After the list is compiled, the teacher will ask the students how best they could
share the information they have obtained today about the turtle habitat. The
discussion should result in suggesting writing a non-fiction class book which the
children could share with their families and other grades (particularly fourth grade
Evaluation will occur throughout the lesson by teacher observation of
children’s ability to observe using their senses, to orally express their observations,
and to “share the pen” in recording the observations.
Follow-up – Writing lessons will follow resulting in each child producing a page for
a class book about the turtles in their habitat.