I Can Achieve!

Print Lesson


Students will be able to use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose an informative/explanatory text in which they name what they are writing about.

Big Idea

Students practice informative writing by stating a goal and one method to achieve it.


15 minutes

Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.

In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.

When all of the students are on the rug I have them stand on their spots and do washing machine arms to make sure they have enough space around them ready to do an action song. I remind the students they are in control of their body and it will only do what you tell it to do.

I let the students know that we are going to do the Lettercise song by Dr. Jean. Sometimes I will do the other version which is to Phonercise and I play it on the SMARTBoard for the students to follow along.

The reason I select this song is because I want the students to recall letter sounds when they get ready to do the writing piece for this lesson. They will need to tap out the sounds in the words they are trying to write and this song refreshes their letter sound skills.

Once the song is over I have the students resume their seats on the rug by singing the Spot on Your Dot Song.


Now I ask the students “Raise your hand if you have ever had a goal you wanted to achieve. That is have you ever had something you really want to be able to do?”

I use the Fair Sticks to help me select three random students to respond to the question.

“Being able to swim underwater is a great goal Bryan. Was it easy or hard to achieve your goal?”

I only take two or three students at this time because I want to be able to move onto the book and not lose my audience.

“Those were great goals. Do not worry if I did not get to hear your goal now because you will have a chance at integrated work time to tell me.”  

I use this line of questioning because I want my students to make a connection to the main character in the story. The students should be thinking about a goal they would like to achieve or have achieved which will help them to see how the little girl in the book has set a goal and is trying to achieve it for a single moon stamp on her ticket.    


35 minutes

“This story is called Apple Picking Time, by Michele Benoit Slawson and illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray. If Ms. Slawson is the author of this story, what did she do?” Hopefully a student will raise their hand and state that she wrote the words. If not I tell the students, “The author’s job is to write the words of the story.”

“Since we know that Ms. Slawson is the author and she wrote the words, what does it mean Ms. Ray the illustrator did?” Hopefully a student will raise their hand and state that she drew the pictures. It should be pretty obvious since we just discussed the author and we have practiced this routine with several previous stories. However if the students are having an off day and no one can tell me then I simply state, “The illustrator’s job is to draw pictures which support the author’s words.”

“Looking at the cover I see a little girl who is picking apples which matches the title Apple Picking Time. Using the title and the picture clue what is this book most likely going to be about?”

I select a student who is following the classroom protocol of raising their hand to respond to the question. 

“I agree with you Rachel; I think the book will be about this little girl picking apples. Can anyone tell me what goal this little girl might be trying to achieve?”

Once again I select a student with his/her hand raised. I select two or three more students to respond to the same question to get a variety of goals. 

“Okay those were great ideas. Let’s read and see if we can discover what her goal is.”


During reading we discuss vocabulary words that we come across. Words like spoil, foreman, etc. These vocabulary discussions are essential to students word development and comprehension abilities.   

We discuss what it means for mailboxes to have their flags up.

We discuss what a “breath cloud” is and how it would give away your hiding place.

We discuss how the author gives us clues about how the main character has grown.


Once the story is over I ask, “So now that the story is over does anyone know what Anna’s goal was?”

We discuss why she wanted to get the moon stamp on her ticket.

We discuss what she might do with the money she earned.

We also discuss why she wants two stamps on her ticket next year and whether we think she will achieve that goal or not. 


“Boys and girls I want you to think back to before we read the story when I asked you if you have a goal you would like to achieve. Well at one of the work stations today you will have a chance to tell me about one goal you would like to achieve. You will write your goal down and once you have finished writing about your goal I am going to ask you how you think you will achieve that goal. While you are waiting for me you can either try writing the words yourself or be working on drawing your picture clue for the reader.”


Once I feel the students understand the concept of what is being asked of them I prepare to send them over to the work station tables where they will find pencils, crayons and the writing prompt paper.

“At the work station you will find the One goal I hope to achieve is... writing prompt. What is the first thing you will do?” Hopefully someone will remember the first thing they need to do is write their name at the top of the paper. “You do not need to write the date because we have the date stamp. Use it to date your work.”


Now I send the students over one table group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. It usually sounds like this;

“Table number one go have some goal writing fun.

Table number two, you know what to do.

Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and

Table number four, you shouldn’t be here anymore.”


Give the students about 15 minutes to get this assignment done. Remind the students they can look at the visual timer to check how much time they have left. 


Why write to inform?

Students need to learn how to write to inform so they can share ideas and information with others. They need to be able to clarify their thinking so others can understand the thoughts they are expressing. This becomes important later on during their academic experiences such as when they write papers for college. 


10 minutes

When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look listen” technique mentioned above. “When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”

I remind students to put their completed work in the “completed work” bin and those that are not complete go into the “under construction” bin.  Students with work in the "under construction" bin know that they are able to complete it when they have any spare time throughout the day.

High performing student sample - student had no assistance. Just has some grammatical errors. 

Middle performing student - with assistance

Middle performing student - with some assistance

Low performing student - with teacher assistance 


Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to tell me one goal they would like to achieve. 

“Boys and girls today your exit ticket is to tell me one goal you would like to achieve this school year."

I use the fair sticks to determine the order of the students.

Once a student has told me his/her goal, they are able to use the hand sanitizer and go to get their snack.  

If a student is unable to give me an answer, they know they can do one of two things.

  1. They can ask a friend to help, or
  2. They can wait until everyone else has gone and then we will work on coming up with a goal together.


Using this easy formative assessment tool gives me an opportunity to see if a student can quickly recall the information they just shared during the activity or if they have another goal they would like to achieve. They have just practiced informative writing so they should be able to easily share information with the class. If a student has a hard time coming up with a response I will take note because I need to find out if the student had difficulty because he/she has trouble transferring skill use from one activity to another or perhaps he/she was copying peer work at the table and does not have the skill themselves. Knowing the answer to this question will determine how I handle the situation. 





5 minutes

For this assignment I would simply place a copy of the student’s work along with the One Goal I have checklist in his/her portfolio to illustrate whether the student was able to meet the objective or not.

I find the checklists are a good way to stay focused on whether the student met the objectives or not. I can use the information on the checklist with the parents at parent/teacher conference time or in IEP meetings so others can see whether the student is on grade level or not. 


Later on in the day I also read the book Try and Stick with It, by Cheri J. Meiners. This is a great book for reminding students that it is okay to make mistakes as that is part of the learning process when you are trying to achieve a personal goal. This book is part of the Learning to Get Along Series of books published by Free Spirit. There are other lesson extension ideas in the back of the book. If you go to the website you will see the Common Core Standards listed at the bottom of the webpage. 

Other books which would help reinforce this lesson would be Feel Confident, by Cheri J. Meiners and illustrated by Elizabeth Allen. This is just one in the Being the Best Me series of books published by Free Spirit. Or you could read Be Positive.  These books are wonderful character building discussion starters. The books have great ideas in the back to extend the lesson. The website also has the Common Core Standards right on the webpage about the book – just scroll down to see.