November 25, 2017
by Caitlin Hardeman

Lesson plan

St. Patrick's Day Celebrations

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Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able organize information on a topic using a graphic organizer as a nonfiction prewriting exercise.

(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to think about holiday traditions that people practice throughout the year. Explain that traditions are things that people do year after year as they celebrate.
  • Have students share out answers with a nearby classmate.
  • Ask students to reacall any holidays that happen in the month of March.
  • Have students think, pair, and share their answers with a peer.
  • Instruct students to then think, pair, and share any familiar St. Patrick's Day traditions.
  • Have students share out answers whole class.
  • Explain to students that today they will be learning about St. Patrick's Day as they work on using the correct structure of an informative essay.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to students that good writers research and gather information about their topic before they begin. They also organize their thoughts before actually writing paragraphs or essays.
  • Introduce students to the Informational Graphic Organizer worksheet by displaying it on the document camera.
  • Model filling out the graphic organizer with information about how people get healthy.
  • Point out the different sections of the graphic organizer while filling them out with the following information:
    • Say, "The topic sentence is where I introduce the reader to my topic. My topic sentence is, "There are many things people do in order to maintain good health."
    • Say, "The sections labeled Idea 1, Idea 2, and Idea 3 are where I will write three big ideas, (i.e. three big ideas related to my topic.) I will write diet, exercise, and sleep in each of these boxes."
    • Say, "As I continue, I need to fill in the boxes next to the ideas. This is where I put the details and facts, (i.e. interesting and true information about your topic.)
  • Record a fact about each of the three topics listed (diet, exercise, and sleep).
  • Tell students that a good paragraph or essay must have a conclusion. The purpose of the conclusion is to wrap up the text and bring it back to the topic.
  • Say, "My concluding sentence needs to be very closely related to my topic sentence. I'll reword my topic sentence, and make sure they are connected."
  • Write the concluding sentence on the graphic organizer: In order to be healthy, people must have a good diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.
(15 minutes)
  • Tell your class it's now their turn to practice organizing ideas about a topic, in small groups.
  • Divide students into groups of 3 - 4 and give each group one copy of the Informational Writing Graphic Organizer.
  • Explain to students that they will work together to fill out the graphic organizer based on a previously studied topic, (i.e. explain how the water cycle works, explain the rock cycle, or explain why early villages settled near bodies of water)
  • Give each group an index card labeled with a topic previously covered in science or social studies.
  • Prepare students to work together by explaining that they will fill out the graphic organizer on the topic listed on their index card.
  • Release students to their task, circulate, and offer support as they work in groups.
  • Gather your students and review the activity, caring to share how the Graphic Organizer helped organize their ideas.
(15 minutes)
  • Explain to students that they will now organize their own ideas about St. Patrick's Day traditions.
  • Distribute a copy of the Informational Writing Graphic Organizer and a copy of the St. Patrick's Day Traditions worksheet to each student.
  • Display the writing prompt on the document camera: St. Patrick's Day is a popular holiday for completing their Writing Graphic Organizer
  • Answer questions and explain independent worktime protocols before releasing students to their assignment.


  • Allow struggling writers to use highlighters as they pick out information from the traditions worksheet.
  • Instruct students to write shorter sentences in "note-taking" form on the graphic organizer.


  • Instruct more advanced writers to take the information about St. Patrick's Day from the graphic organizer and turn it into a paragraph or an essay.
  • Have students include linking words and phrases to connect the ideas.
(5 minutes)
  • Collect completed graphic organizers from independent practice to check for proficiency in keeping information about St. Patrick's Day focused and organized.
(5 minutes)
  • Give students 30 seconds to talk and turn with a neighbor on one of the following:
  • How did the graphic organizer help you plan your writing?
  • How would your writing have been different if you did not use the graphic organizer?
  • What was helpful about the graphic organizer?
  • What did you like/dislike about the graphic organizer?
  • Allow volunteers to share reflections with the whole class.
  • Explain to students that as writers, they should organize their ideas before jumping in to writing. This practice is important to grow as a young writer.

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