Lesson 3: The Tornado


Activity 1: Journal Entry

Materials: crayons or colored pencils, journal
Ask your child to write and illustrate his chapter summary in his journal. In his writing, remind him to use the transition words covered in Lesson 2 to help show the order in which the events in the chapter occurred.

Activity 2: The Doghouse: Choosing Words

For this writing lesson, ask your child to read the author's writing on the page called "The Doghouse: Choosing Words." Then ask him to read the simple description aloud.

Ask your child to tell you the difference between the author's description of the doghouse and the simple description. Explain to your child that the difference is the words that were used to describe the doghouse and the dog. This is what we call word choice. The two examples describe the same event but do so in a much different way.

The author of the book uses interesting descriptive words to tell the reader about the doghouse that Pete discovered after the tornado. Ask your child to underline the words that make the writing exciting and interesting. Explain that a good author creates a picture in your mind of what is happening in the story and uses words that appeal to your senses. Ask your child to name his five senses. Ask him to think of his own unique way to describe the situation as it is written in the "Simple Description."
Student Activity Page

Activity 3: My Pet

For this activity, your child will write a paragraph that describes his pet. He can write a paragraph on lined paper that describes his pet to someone who has never seen it. If your child does not have a pet, ask him to think about the pet of a relative or a friend.

Review the fact that a paragraph has a topic sentence and at least three supporting sentences that support the topic sentence. The paragraph should end with a sentence that ties the ideas together. Remind your child to choose rich and colorful language that describes details in an interesting and clear way. The words do not have to be big; even simple words can come together to make great descriptive writing.

Read the following example paragraph aloud to your child:

I have a beautiful, golden bird named Francis. Francis can sing louder and stronger than a trumpet. She spends her days eating voraciously and playing wildly in her cage. Sometimes I remove Francis from her cage and balance her carefully on my shoulder. She sits as still as stone. Francis is the best pet bird a girl could ever ask for.

Choose an option for your child to complete.
Assessment (for both options): To assess your child's writing, look to see that he attempted new words to make his writing more interesting. Correct spelling of new words is not essential. Look to see if he created an image for the reader. Look for words and phrases that engage the reader's senses. If you feel there are places in the writing that could be more interesting, point them out to your child and ask him to think about his word choice and how he could make the sentence more interesting. Then he can rewrite the sentence(s).

Option 1

For this option, your child will use the "Hamburger Paragraph Organizer" page to help him organize his ideas.

Option 2 (Advanced)

For this option, your child will use the "Paragraph Organizer" page to organize his ideas. This organizer is more advanced than the hamburger organizer in Option 1 because it gives your child freedom to add details and more than just five sentences for his paragraph. He may also have more than three supporting details. The important thing is that all his details stay focused on the main idea of the paragraph. The more sentences he uses, the easier it is for his writing to lose focus.
Student Activity Page