Lesson 5: Turtles

Day 2

Activity 3: How the Turtle Got Its Shell

Materials: How the Turtle Got Its Shell by Justine Fontes, Ron Fontes, and Keiko Motoyama
Describe that long ago people told stories that explained how things in nature came to be. We call these stories myths. Different cultures around the world have different myths. Various cultures have myths that describe how the turtle got its shell. Let your child read the book, How the Turtle Got Its Shell, and then ask him the following questions:
  • Retell one of the myths.
  • Which myth was your favorite? Why?
  • Which myth do you think was most believable? Why?
  • In what ways were the stories similar? Different?
Reread your child's favorite myth from the book and then help him fill out the "Story Map Graphic Organizer" page based on the structure of the myth.

Activity 4: My Own Myth (Ideas)

Ask your child to think of a myth that describes how the turtle got its shell. Tell him that the focus of his writing should be on the ideas, as opposed to grammar or choice of words. Explain that generating ideas is a very important element in writing. Tell him to be sure that his story has a theme, message, or main idea. His writing should support the main idea with details that get the reader's attention.

Explain that the main idea or theme of this writing piece is how the turtle got its shell. His writing should remain focused with details that explain how the turtle got its shell. Tell him that the best ideas are those that are unique and interesting. You might want to provide support with the writing, especially with spelling challenging words.

Give him the "My Own Myth" graphic organizer to help him record his ideas. Then he can write his story. If your child struggles with writing, he can dictate his story while you record it. Remember that the focus of this writing assignment is on ideas, not grammar or spelling.

Use the following criteria for assessing the ideas in your child's writing:
  • Ideas are creative and new (not just copied from one of the myths read out of the book)
  • Relevant details are provided
  • Writing stays focused
  • Ideas are connected
When your child has finished his writing, ask him to read his story. Ask him how well he did in each area related to ideas (described in the assessment above). Encourage him to think about ways to improve upon any weak areas. Then let him make changes and rewrite the story. You can also provide suggestions for improvement.