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					                                                                                                Grades 2 - 6

                                          Monster Mash
                                                      Melanie Dusci, WVPT


Topic: Descriptive writing. Students participate in an online collaboration and exchange by drawing a monster,
writing a descriptive paragraph on how to recreate the same monster and follow a given description to recreate a
monster from a partner school. Each class will draw monsters using drawing software. Students will write
descriptive paragraphs for their partner class on how to recreate their original monster. Description, original
monster and redrawn monster will all be posted on the Monster Exchange website. This lesson can also be dif-
ferentiated for ESL students.

Time Allotment                                               • successfully communicate with a partner using
                                                               online technology
Three-five 1-hour classes                                    (This lesson addresses Va. SOL English 2.9, 2.10,
                                                             3.7, 3.8, 4.7, 5.7; Computer/Technology 5.3)
Media Components

Club Write #6, Descriptive Writing                           Materials
Kid Pix Deluxe software or other compatible draw-
  ing software                                               For the Teacher:
Website:                             • 4 to 6 slices of bread
Word Processing program                                      • jar of peanut butter
Where the Wild Things Are. Weston Woods, 1963.               • jar of jelly
  United Learning. Sept. 2003.                               • plastic knife
                                                             For groups/pairs:
                                                             • 10 to 12 stuffed animals/monsters (if stuffed ani-
                                                               mals are not available, use pictures of various
Learning Objectives
                                                             • “What’s Your Impression” worksheet (one for
The student will be able to:
                                                               each monster station)
• use adjectives to write a descriptive paragraph
                                                             • 5 copies of “Guess My Contents”
• generate list of instructions using appropriate
                                                             • 5 blindfolds
  descriptive words
• write and revise an organized set of instructions
                                                             Per student:
• use drawing software to create a specific drawing
                                                             • Monster name cards
  for classroom exchange
                                                             • 5 Senses Worksheet (1 per student)
• follow given set of instructions/descriptions to
                                                             • Web Worksheet (1 per student)
  recreate a monster drawing
                                                             • Disposable gloves

Monster Mash

Teacher Preparations                                      ners are to sit together. Collect all the “What’s Your
                                                          Impression?” papers. Shuffle the papers up.
1. Set up “monster stations” with one stuffed animal
or picture and a “What’s Your Impression” work-           FOLLOW-UP: Choose a “What’s Your Impres-
sheet.                                                    sion?” paper and begin reading off the words listed
2. Cue the Club Write video to the beginning of           and ask for volunteers to tell which monster is
program 6 and set counter to 00:00, Descriptive           being described. Continue through a few more
Writing segment.                                          papers, prompting students to explain what words
3. Sign up to participate in Monster Exchange site        played more of a role in deciding which monster
(at least 1 month prior to lesson).                       was being described. Have students compare and
4. Bookmark Monster Exchange site (www.mon-               contrast words. (Why is this word better than . . .) on either classroom or lab com-         Steer discussion to descriptive words and impor-
puters depending where students will be working.          tance of specificity. What is this type of word?
Familiarize yourself with the standards for posting       Guide responses to “adjectives.”
monsters and descriptions.
                                                                              Time Cues
5. Copy Monster name cards, handouts and work-
                                                          To synchronize your VCR with the time cues that
6. Prepare 3-5 boxes with mystery items inside,
                                                          are included with this lesson, zero/reset your time
such as cold mashed potatoes, spaghetti, hard boiled
                                                          counter at the very beginning of the program,
or raw eggs, dirt, buttons, Jell-O, a wet sponge, etc.
                                                          before the introduction and titles. Time cues are
7. Copy “Guess My Contents” sheet to place in
                                                          expressed as “minutes:seconds;” for example,
front of each mystery box.
                                                          3:15 means three minutes and fifteen seconds.
8. Download or videostream segment of Where the
Wild Things Are (videostream middle section –
Max becomes king of all the wild things and starts a                        Pause vs. Stop
rumpus – 1:36).
                                                           When using a video interactively with students,
                                                           teachers need to decide when to use PAUSE and
Introductory Activity                                      when to use STOP. PAUSE the video when the
                                                           anticipated discussion or activity will take less
FOCUS: Hand out one card with a monster name               than two minutes. STOP for longer periods. Paus-
to each student. Ask students what they notice set         ing for too long at one time can cause video heads
up around the room. Responses could be stuffed             on the VCR to become clogged which may
animals or monsters. Explain to students they will         require cleaning to correct.
be paired up with a partner and rotated to different
monsters. Their job is to brainstorm at least 2 words
that will describe the monster at their area and          Learning Activities
record their words on the sheet provided at each
location. Inform students they will be given two          1. FOCUS: Tell students they are going to watch a
minutes per station and they are not to use words         segment of a video about descriptive writing. Direct
that are already listed on the “What’s Your Impres-       students to listen for what descriptive writing is and
sion?” paper.                                             what methods does the teacher use to help her stu-
                                                          dents understand descriptive writing. PLAY: At the
Start the Activity: Students are instructed to find the   beginning of Club Write #6, you will see boy writ-
other person with the same monster card and find          ing in his journal at a desk and hear “writing is just
their matching monster station. Give the cue to begin.    what it sounds like.” PAUSE the video at 0:54,
Time students and rotate them after two minutes.          where you will see a cartoon alien and hear the alien
Stop the Activity: After students have rotated            voice say “back, stay back.” FOLLOW-UP: Ask
through all stations have them return to seats, part-     students for a definition of descriptive writing (writ-

                                                                                             Monster Mash

ing that describes people, places or things). Name       has rotated through. Start the Activity: Students
one of the ways the teacher encouraged descriptive       begin rotations through each mystery box station.
writing (either the plant project or describing ice      Rotate around stations listening to guesses. Ques-
cream to an alien). How do you think this helped the     tion students as to why they are making the guesses
students? What were some of the words that the stu-      they are. Inquire about reasons for guesses; generate
dents used to describe the ice cream? What were          discussions about rationale for guess. Stop the
some of the things the student looked for with his       Activity: When all students have rotated through
plant?                                                   each mystery box station and made their guesses,
                                                         bring students back to the larger class group. FOL-
2. FOCUS: Why do these descriptors help us to            LOW-UP: Retrieve guesses from the “Guess My
understand what these things are? What do you            Contents” worksheet and unveil the actual contents
think makes a good description? What does descrip-       of each box. Students provide response as to what
tive writing help us with? Watch another segment of      words were good descriptors and what words may
the video to see if it helps you come up with an         have been better choices. Which of the five senses
answer. RESUME video at 0:54. You will see kids          were used more at each station? FOLLOW-UP:
playing basketball and hear, “Ms. Scott says.”           Assign students a mission for home. They are to
PAUSE the video at 3:32 , when you hear “it tastes       choose a place at home, either inside or outside.
like strawberries!” after you see the student take his   They are to record on the Five Senses Worksheet,
fingers from his mouth. FOLLOW-UP: Ask the               what they see, hear, taste, smell and feel.
students what they think is in the box and why they
think that. Guide them to use good descriptions and      5. Have students apply their understanding of
reasons for their answers. Why are these words able      descriptive writing by completing an exchange on
to help you guess better? What do you think makes        the Monster Exchange Website. To prepare them
a good description? What does descriptive writing        specifically for the offline monster activities, use the
help us with? (Answers should include “our sense         videostreamed clip from Where the Wild Things
of observation.”) What does it make the reader do?       Are by Maurice Sendak. FOCUS: Your job is to
(see, smell, feel, taste and hear).                      look at the pictures of the monsters. Choose a mon-
                                                         ster in the video and comprise a list of five good
3. FOCUS: Now you will see what is in the box.           descriptive phrases for that monster. PLAY: Begin
RESUME video at 3:32, when you hear “When                playing the streamed video at the beginning of the
Ms. Scott showed” and you see Ms. Scott in the           second part of the story (Max becomes king of all
front of the classroom. STOP the video at 3:42,          wild things and starts a wild rumpus). Play it with
when you hear “mixed together” and you see the           NO SOUND to allow students to focus on the
students smiling. FOLLOW-UP: Ask students who            images, rather than the words of the story. STOP at
guessed correctly? Why do you think you were right       1:32, which is the end of the streamed clip. FOL-
or wrong? What words helped, what words might            LOW-UP: Have volunteers describe the monster
have been better?                                        they found. Students will try to guess which monster
                                                         it was based on the descriptors used. Ask students
4. FOCUS: Tell students they are going to have a         what details are important to mention? (Color, left or
chance to use their five senses and guess what is in     right, size, placement of feature, amount of, etc.)
each of the five boxes you have. Place students in
groups of five (or however many boxes you have).
Instruct them to rotate with their assigned groups to    Culminating Activities
each station. Each student will have a chance at one
station to be blindfolded and describe what is in the    Now, students should be ready to draw the monster
box, while the other students try to guess what is in    that will be posted on the Monster Exchange Web-
the boxes. Students record their guesses on work-        site. FOCUS: Tell students that they will draw a
sheets that are located at each station. Instruct stu-   “monster” using Kid Pix Deluxe or other drawing
dents that no one is to uncover any of the boxes—        software that they are familiar with. For younger
you will unveil each of the contents after everyone      students, a limit on color usage may need to be set.

Monster Mash

Be sure to inform students not to use background.       Social Studies: Assign students to compare/contrast
(Be sure to follow the protocol set forth by the        pictures taken from various times in history. Writing
Monster Exchange website.) Start the Activity:          descriptive paragraphs recording similarities and
Students begin drawing their monsters. After com-       differences.
pletion of drawings they are to compose a descrip-
tive paragraph that instructs another student how to    Math: Students can take digital pictures of objects
recreate their original drawing. As a way of peer       and create word problems from the pictures.
editing, students can choose a classmate to draw
their monster based on their descriptions, making       Technology/Language Art: Students create picture
any necessary changes to their writing after the        books using the drawing software.
classmate finishes. Stop the Activity: Students are
complete when they have a monster drawn with a          English:
descriptive paragraph. FOLLOW-UP: Assist stu-           • Students can create Monster “Mad-Libs” (visit
dents with editing of their paragraph. As students      Monster Exchange website for details.)
complete editing, they may type and save their para-
graphs on the computer. (This may be done in the        • Follow up descriptive writing with the writing of
lab or at a classroom computer.) Post the monsters      detailed instructions. This activity can serve the pur-
and descriptions on the Monster Exchange website        pose of introduction: FOCUS: Ask students to think
so their partner students can recreate their original   about how their Mom makes a peanut butter and
monsters. In turn, students in your class should read   jelly sandwich. Start the Activity: Write down with
instructions for drawing monsters provided by the       your group an order of steps another person would
partner class and draw the monsters that best fit the   take to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
descriptions. The classes will exchange their mon-      With peanut butter and jelly and bread, select a
ster drawing for comparison via the Monster             group to read their instructions as you make the
Exchange website.                                       sandwich. Follow the instructions carefully. See
                                                        what happens. FOLLOW-UP: Direct students’
                                                        attention to details of instruction. Point out the
Assessment                                              importance of clear, complete directions. What
                                                        would have happened if they just said, “put the
Assess the students on whether their partner was        peanut butter and jelly on?” Answers may include
able to recreate their original monster and on how      the jelly could go on first; half of the bread may
well they followed the sets of instructions provided    have had jelly while the other half had peanut butter.
by their partners.

                                                        About the Author
Community Connections
                                                        Melanie R. Dusci
To emphasize how important words, the five senses,      Melanie is a second grade teacher at Meriwether
and descriptive writing are to those who have no        Lewis Elementary School in Albemarle County. She
sight, record students reading books on tape for dis-   received her Bachelor’s degree from James Madison
tribution to area youth who are blind.                  University. Throughout her teaching career she has
                                                        taught seventh grade mathematics and fifth grade.
                                                        Melanie is involved in her schools’ technology
Cross-Curricular Extensions                             implementation team. Currently, Melanie is on her
                                                        schools’ Design 2004 team. This is a techonology
Science: Have students describe their environment       grant through Albemarle County. She has served as
and how it changes through the different seasons.       an Assistant Instructor and Facilitator of the Middle
                                                        School NSF LSC Grant. Melanie is also a member
                                                        of NEA and Phi Kappa Gamma.
                                                                                                   March 2004
                                                        A publication of the 2003-04 NTTI—Virginia
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