Finalize & Show What You Know - (Lesson 3 of 3)

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SWBAT publish their narrative writing.

Big Idea

Write a final draft and show what you know.


  • Lesson vocabulary words from the Reading/Writing word wall: biography, essay, narrative
  • ML King final paper
  • students need to take turns creating a 'trading card' for Martin Luther King, Jr. on a computer - take a moment to try out the website 'trading card creator' - no registration required - just type in any name (I tried this on an iPad, but it needs Adobe Reader, so I had to use computers)


** I chose this topic because M.L. King Jr. is an important historical figure in American history. You could use any historical figure for this lesson, as long as you have an informational text that has details for the students. My class had done a previous lesson, M. L. King, Jr., His Story, about this character, so they brought a lot of ideas to the unit. 

In Part 1 of this writing unit, Organize Your Narrative, students used an organizer to write a sequence of main ideas and details about Martin Luther King, Jr.  In part 2, Draft & Edit a Star Narrative, students wrote a rough draft and edited it. In this final lesson of the unit, students will create a final draft and then make a project to demonstrate what they know - a 'trading card' about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Second graders need time to work through these writing steps of the writing process (brainstorm, organize, rough draft, edit, final draft). The district expectation for my students is to create a five paragraph essay, aligning with the Common Core Standards of composing a variety of types of essays, including narratives that recount a sequence of events. (W.2.3).Guiding students through each step and giving them practice will ultimately be independent writers.

To give you more background about how to help students write a five paragraph essay, I encourage you to look at an earlier unit  - Writing with Main Idea and Details - that I taught about writing expository essays. 

Let's Get Excited!

5 minutes

Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics.  The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary.  My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words)


Common starting point

  • "Today we'll finally finish our narrative essay about Martin Luther King, Jr."
  • "Since we've worked so hard, I found a cool project that we can create to pair with our essay. We just need a few facts about him to use for the project."
  • "Let's take a quick look at this famous person and write some facts on the board: (here's what our discussion looked like.)
    • He lived from 1929-1968.
    • He was born in Georgia but went to school in Tennessee. He traveled all over America.
    • Martin's famous speech used the quote, "I have a dream...", but he also had some other famous quotes including, "Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." and "We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters." 
  • This was our completed whiteboard.


My goal in this short introduction is to remind the students of why we are writing about this famous man and to expose them to some details of his life, especially the quotes. This information will be needed for the project.

Write the Final Draft

20 minutes

Give the purpose and background of the lesson

  • " Today we'll write our final drafts and then create a project that embodies all of our ideas."
  • "Let's think about what we do when we write from a rough draft to a final draft."


Give students time to write


I make a BIG deal out of creating this final paper. The students have worked for THREE long days creating this paper and I want them to be proud of all of their hard work. Writing a five paragraph essay is not easy for a second-grader, but as they finish, they are proud of how nice their writing looks. This is a intrinsic pay-off... they feel good that they've worked hard.

Create the project

20 minutes

Explain and Demonstrate

  • I used the website called 'trading card creator'. It allows you to enter in 6 areas of information.
  • "Now you'll have a chance to put your ideas into a 'trading card'. Trading cards are something that people collect for sports players to show why the player was famous a picture and information about the sport."
  • "Let me show you the website and you can work on the cards."
  • "Before you start, take a picture of Martin Luther from one of the books with your iPad. You'll need it to create the card."


This is a fun website, but still educational. I love the fact that it asks kids to reflect about why they admire this person and also asks for a quote. I did print this out for my kids and they glued the cards together. We put them in the hall with our final drafts. As students add these visual displays to their recounts of they clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings about this person (SL.2.5)


Let kids work


Kids Reflect for me

  • "Does anyone want to come up and show your card?  What did you think about the project? What did you think about writing this biography narrative?  What was easy?  What was hard?"


This information about their opinions about the project and writing is invaluable to me. Now that we've finished this 3 day project, I want them to reflect back. I have some reluctant writers and I am curious about their thoughts about the writing.