The ABCs of Charlotte's Web

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SWBAT use their understanding of key details in a text to respond in writing about an event and/or character using a letter of the alphabet to compose an alphabet book.

Big Idea

If C is for Charlotte, and D is for Dr. Dorian ... I wonder what X will be.


15 minutes

Context and Overview

Today, the students will choose one letter of the alphabet and write a Charlotte’s Web Alphabet book. Their writing will be structured in a certain way; I will model that for them by reading an alphabet book to model the structure.

First, they are to choose a letter and then write one sentence that addresses a key detail of an event or character from Charlotte’s Web. This task brings closure to our incredible reading journey of Charlotte's Web, and I was inspired by the idea of another second grade teacher on the internet. I have modified the task for my classroom.

After they've chosen their letter and what to write about, I will help students revise and edit. Students will then have the opportunity to illustrate and share with their peers.

Opening Activity

I share the objective from the carpet, which is received with excitement, and share the titles of a few alphabet books so that they can remember the different alphabet books that they are already familiar with. I let them know that today I am reading The Spice Alphabet Book. I ask them to pay attention to the way the book is written because they will be writing in the same manner - for example, "A is for Anise."  As they read, I let them know to start thinking of the letter of the alphabet they want to choose.

This title, The Spice Alphabet Book, worked for me and my classroom. I invite you to choose the alphabet book that would best suit your preferences and the needs of your students. Have fun with it!

Choosing A Letter

15 minutes

At their tables, I ask them to turn to their partner and ask each other, "What letter will you be writing about?" I work on giving my students plenty of opportunities to develop their oral language abilities.

In the meantime, I walk around and eavesdrop on their conversation to make sure they are staying on task. I have prepared a couple of charts. Basically, I divide the charts into squares, nothing fancy, and for each square wrote a letter of the alphabet to record who is going to work on what letter. Since I only have 21 students, this will tell me which letters are left over.

I give table points as a classroom management technique, and today, I use it as a way to reward the table with the most points by asking that table to choose first. If there is a student who is not behaving up to standards, I ask them to wait until I finish with the rest of the students from the other tables.

I write their name in the box of the letter they chose. Here are the charts:

Writing the Alphabet Book

15 minutes

I pass out paper for them to write their letter.

On the board I write: _________ is for _________.

Underneath, they write the sentence with the letter and the word that starts with that letter. I ask them to elaborate on their first sentences with details from the text. My students know that an elaborated sentence has more than five words.

I walk around for a few moments to make sure they are on task, and I give support by redirecting if it is needed (i.e. explaining the task again, asking them to give more details, and letting them know that once they are done, etc.). Then they are to bring their work to the round table, so that we can read it together and make changes if needed.

Since our printer is not working, I let them know that I will be printing their work at home for them to have the following day, so that they would illustrate it. Given the numerous activities at the end of the year, this is the fastest way to get the book done.

Here are some examples of their work:

In illustrating, I asked them to draw a frame around the picture to ground their illustration. Also, I asked them to draw a pattern in the frame that was related to the story of Charlotte's Web. Please note that the illustrating and coloring of their letter happened after lunch and for some it took for than one sitting, and still others did not finish.

Sharing the Alphabet Book

10 minutes

Now my students share their work with each other. Everyone gets the opportunity to share their letter and some share twice because I only have 21 students. Here are some of the students sharing:

Here is the whole book for your enjoyment! A Charlotte's Web Alphabet Book

Please note, since this was a celebratory assignment, I didn't have the students give each other feedback. It was unnecessary.