Lesson plan

First Day of School with Marley!

Help ease your students into the school year with this lesson that helps them share their feelings about the first day of school.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards

This lesson allows students the opportunity to understand author's purpose, describe how characters in a story respond to challenges, and generate a list of adjectives to describe the main character.

(10 minutes)
Bubble Story Organizer
  • Share a personal experience about the first day of school, including how you felt.
  • Ask the class to share how they felt on the first day of school, or to share one of their first day of school experiences.
  • Explain how you would like to share Marley's experience of his first day of school with the class.
  • Present the front cover of Marley Goes to SchoolAnd read aloud the title and author to the class.
  • Explain that Marley Goes to SchoolIs a Fiction, or make believe, book.
  • Read Marley Goes to SchoolAloud to the class.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell students that the author had a purpose in writing this book, and that most authors write for many reasons.
  • Ask the students if they felt this author wrote the story to give them information or to entertain them.
  • Provide a detail from the story to show how it's funny or entertaining. Ask students to recall key details or events from the story that show entertainment.
  • Tell students that they will use details from the story to describe the main character, Marley.
  • Based off details that were provided by students, select a key detail or event and from it come up with a description of Marley. Example: When Marley sneaks off to school, I can tell he feels lonely, because he sees his owner leave for school without him.
  • On the whiteboard, write "Marley" in the centre with a circle around it. Draw a line from the centre circle to a new circle on the upper right and write "lonely" in the circle.
  • Ask the class to think of more Adjectives, or descriptor words, that describe Marley. Have students talk about the events in the story that led them to these adjectives.
(5 minutes)
  • Hand out the Bubble Story Organizer.
  • Have the students write down "Marley" under the topic and "lonely" in one of their bubbles.
  • Ask the class for an additional adjective that describes Marley, and write it in one of the circles as students follow along. Have students explain which event from the story led them to this adjective.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask students to come up with four to five additional adjectives to describe Marley on their bubble map.
  • Tell students that they are to draw a picture in each of their circles alongside the adjectives.
  • Enrichment:After students provide an adjective describing the main character, ask them to write in a complete sentence the key events that led to this adjective. They may either complete this by writing the sentence near the adjective or numbering each circle and writing the key events on a separate sheet of lined paper with corresponding numbers.
  • Support:Ask students to illustrate their adjectives for Marley instead of writing them. When asking which key event led them to their adjective for the main character, ask students for a verbal response instead of a written explanation. You could also ask for fewer adjectives.
(10 minutes)
  • Monitor student work by making visual observations as students are working.
  • Based on observations, ask students to explain verbally which key event from the story led them to think of the listed adjectives.
  • Have students write these on their handout or on a separate sheet of paper.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask for volunteers to share their bubble maps with the class.
  • Have students discuss these bubble maps, whether or not the adjective fits the event, and if it is the best adjective to use.
  • Alternatively, have students pair and share their bubble maps.

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