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«Just So Stories Karina Maceczek Kmaceczek P.S. 200 The Benson Elementary School 1940 Benson Ave Brooklyn NY, 11214 (718) 236 –5466 For more ...»

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Just So


Karina Maceczek


P.S. 200

The Benson Elementary School

1940 Benson Ave

Brooklyn NY, 11214

(718) 236 –5466

For more information, contact: Teachers Network


Attn: Peter A. Paul

285 West Broadway

New York, NY 10013

Phone: (212) 966-5582 Fax: (212) 941-1787

E-mail: ppaul@teachersnetwork.org

Web Site: www.teachersnetwork.org

Just So


Karina Maceczek

CSD20 P.S. 200

Program Overview ……………………………………………………………2 ? ? Resources ? ? Implementation ? ? Elements of the unit ? ?Addressing the standards ? ?Students ? ?What you need ? ?Overall Value Program Activities ………………………………………………………8 ? ? In the Museum ? ? In the Classroom ? ? Just So Stories ? ? Writing Stories ? ? Studying Poems Lesson Plans ……………………………………………………………………18.

Sample Worksheets…………………………………………………………21 Student Work Samples…………………………………………………37 1 Just So Stories Karina Maceczek CSD20 P.S. 200


Language Arts, Technology, Social Studies, Art, Science


Software Applications: Grolier’s Encyclopedia, San Diego Zoo, Animals in Their World Web-sites: www. Encarta.com www. Britannica.com www. Yahoo.com www. Askjeeves.com Hardware: Computer Student Stations Photo/video camera LIST OF GRADE LEVEL (S): Grades 3-8 PROGRAM DESCIPTION: “Just So Stories” “Just So Stories” is an interdisciplinary and interactive program that employs the innovative methods of teaching and learning. It holistically leads students to the understanding of the main instructional concepts through a variety of educational experiences, and encouragesthem to achieve the learning goals working productively in cooperative groups. The students become experts in cooperative learning, group and individual presentations, self-evaluation, and peer editing. The program is student-centered and the educational activities tap into the Multiple Intelligence philosophy. The program incorporates all curriculum areas. The main targets are Language Arts, Technology, Art, Science, and Social Studies.


The program is based on reading and discussing Just So Stories written by Rudyard Kipling, an English author, who is well known for his unique style of writing and originality of ideas. Spending most of his childhood in India, Kipling was always fascinated by its amazing fauna. This program invites

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RESOURCES ?? A field trip to the Museum of Natural History ?? Software- Grolier’s Encyclopedia, San Diego Zoo, Animals in Their World ?? Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling.

?? Use of Internet/Web sites:

http://www.boop.org/jan/justso/ http://www.sff.net/people/karawynn/justso/leopard.htp http://www.online-library.org/authors/kipling.html http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/kipling.htm http://www.nawa.org/default.htm http://www.expage.com/page/codydoughty http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=18193&tocid=0 http://encarta.msn.com/find/Concise.asp?z=1&pg=2&ti=761575335 http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Aegean/1457


The main unit that connects all other activities of the program is reading, discussing, and analyzing Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling. “ How the Leopard Got His Spots ”, “The Elephant’s Child”, “The Cat That Walked By 3 Just So Stories Karina Maceczek CSD20 P.S. 200 Himself”, and other short stories from this book explain the features of animals in a very unusual and entertaining way. The Language Arts lessons focus on the author’s creativity, originality of style, and his great ability to portray the deepest issues of human life through his characters. After class discussions, the students create their own original stories and poems.

Other activities consist of writing reports about the animals observed in the dioramas of the museum and studying Rudyard Kipling’s biography with a follow-up written and verbal presentations.The target of this assignment is to learn to collect more information using technology. The students use classroom computers and work with software and Web sites. It’s important to teach students to take notes when they get information and to indicate sources. They must use their own words, include their personal experiences, and express their own feelings when writing a report.

The children have to word-process their reports and use Clip Art to insert pictures. The children learn to proofread and edit their work using Spelling and Grammar on the computer. The teacher’s task is to guide the students and give them individual help when needed.

The implementation of this program in the classroom is motivational and inspirational for students and teachers because the process of discovery and creation is constantly taking place. The classroom simultaneously becomes a writing workshop, media and technology center, a research lab, and an art studio. All materials -- including the notes and photographs taken at the museum, as well as reports, charts, drafts, and sketches -–should be kept in labeled, individual and group folders as parts of the research portfolios.

The students take turns using the computer and work on different projects and assignments when they are away from the computer. Depending on the students’ individual needs, learning styles, and technological competency, the teacher may vary activities of the program and divide class into larger groups.

The implementation of the program includes working in pairs and in groups, peer and self-editing and evaluation, teacher-student conferences, and group and individual presentations. The students give each other feedback on presentations and projects and learn to be friendly but critical.

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Since Kipling’s unique illustrations, captions, and vignettes are essential elements of his stories, art becomes an integral component of the program.

The students create illustrations for their stories and poems using black ink and bamboo pens.

The culminating activity is making books. Each pair of students pastes the printed stories, poems, and illustrations on construction paper. The teacher laminates and does the binding of each book.


?? Implementing New York State Standards ?? Integration of Language Arts, Social Studies, Art, Native Language, Technology, and Science ?? Thematic Approach ?? Incorporating Multiple Intelligence Theory ?? Balanced Literacy Approach ?? Teacher-Modeled Creativity ?? Cooperative Learning Groups (Group/Individual) ?? Peer-Mediated Learning/Peer Interaction and Evaluation ?? Self-Reflection and Evaluation (Teacher and Students) ?? Teacher-Student Conferences ?? Student–Centered Curriculum and Environment ?? Holistic Design and Approach ?? Implementing Visual/Performing Arts ?? Employing Technology

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The program addresses the following New York State English Language Arts

Performance Standards:

?? READING: E1a, E1b, E1c, and E1d ?? WRITING: E2a, E2b, E2c, and E2d ?? SPEAKING, LISTENING, and VIEWING: E3a, E3b, and E3c ?? CONVENTIONS, GRAMMAR, and USAGE of the ENGLISH LANGUAGE:

E4a, E4b ?? LITERATURE: E5a, E5b It also addresses the core curriculum for science, social studies, and art standards. The program develops technical literacy and global awareness.


This program was initiated in grade 5 of a dual-language gifted class, but students of all grade levels with various technology backgrounds and learning styles can participate. Cooperative groups, individuals, or the whole class can work on interdisciplinary unit throughout the school year. The studentcentered program taps into the Multiple Intelligence philosophy and allows students to excel in a variety of activities.


The program requires making reservation for a class trip to the Museum of Natural History. In the museum, students will need worksheets for note taking, paper for drawing (the desirable size of drawing paper is 12x24 in order to make pages for a Big Book), and charcoal pencils. A camera and a video camera would be a plus for documenting the steps of the creative learning process. A class set of Just So Stories is needed for the program.

In order to produce their work, students need excess to research software, computers, and a printer. This project can be done in cooperation with school computer lab.

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The program Just So Stories offers a great opportunity to teach students to create original fictional stories and poems about the animals in the genre of ‘nonsense tales’, illustrate them, and publish them. The students make their own books. They learn to appreciate classic literature and study the works of a prominent English writer, Rudyard Kipling, who was awarded the Noble Prize for Literature in 1907. The students conduct and present their research on Kipling’s biography and on the animals of North America.

The close links between the subject areas make the learning process meaningful. The program exposes the students to innovative strategies and methods of teaching and learning. The parts of the program are easily adapted for book-making contests, social studies, art, and science projects.

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ACTIVITY#1: Selecting, Observing, and Note Taking The groups of students (depending on class size) are assigned to the selected dioramas. The program features the animals of North America, but animals of any other continent may be chosen for this project depending on the specific educational tasks and interests of the students. The suggested animals for studying and portraying in the stories are the wolf, bear, buffalo, cheetah, grand caribou, and big horn sheep. The exhibition halls of the museum offer an enormous variety of the world’s fauna. The floor map of each hall gives a sense of location and ideas.

The role assignments in each group include recorders, artists, and


? ? The RECORDER observes and describes the scenes of the diorama. The information from the panels should be included in the notes that later become part of the Research Portfolio.

? ? The ARTIST draws a sketch of the diorama using charcoal pencils.

? ? The PHOTOGRAPHER takes pictures of the dioramas for reference.

ACTIVITY #2:Studying, observing, and taking notes from the panels of the diorama.

Academic objectives:

? ? motivate a student for the follow-up activities of the thematic unit ? ? teach to observe the diorama with care ? ? relay observation and viewing skills as a source of obtaining knowledge ? ? teach note-taking skills ? ? prepare materials and collect information for report writing ? ? create a Research Portfolio Strategy: Group work Procedure: Students observe the diorama carefully. Instruct them to look closely at the display and take short notes of their observations. They have

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to read and include information from the panels next to diorama in their notes. Students complete worksheet “ Selecting. Observing. Note taking. “ ACTIVITY #3: Drawing

Academic objectives:

? ? prepare materials and collect information on a selected animal ? ? appreciate the artistic recreation of the diorama ? ? study the details of the featured animal and its environment ? ? create drawings and paintings of the diorama using various art material Materials: drawing paper (12x24), charcoal pencils, pastels Procedure: The children draw two sketches of the diorama using charcoal pencils first and then pastels.

ACTIVITY #3: Photographing/Video taping

Academic objectives:

? ? use media in order to collect information ? ? learn to focus on important details of the diorama create portfolio for further study Materials: photo and/or video camera Procedures: A group of assigned students (photograp hers) take pictures of the diorama for reference material.

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ACTIVITY#1: Report Writing: Animals of North America

Academic objectives:

? ? Produce a clear report ? ? Conduct research ? ? Write a report using note-taking skills ? ? Use previously obtained information and knowledge ? ? Make interdisciplinary connections: English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Technology, and Art

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Strategy: Individual project or in pairs Procedure: The target of this assignment is to study animals and to collect more information using technology. The students use classroom computers and work with software or the Internet. It’s important to teach students how to take notes when they get information and to indicate sources. They must use their own words, include their personal experiences, and express their own feelings when writing a report on a selected animal.

Distribute the worksheet “Report Writing.” Report Writing

1. Choose a topic (select an animal)

2. Gather information and indicate sources

3. Collect pictures and illustrations

4. Take notes. Indicate sources (Hint: Use your own words when taking notes on what you read)

5. Include personal observations and knowledge

6. Express your feelings and emotions. Include your opinions

7. Organize information in a folder

8. Write an outline (PLAN) ? ? Introduction ? ? Describe an animal ? ? Describe an environment ? ? Conclusion

9. Write a first draft

10. Revise and proofread

11. Share

12.Write a final draft

13. Publish ? ? Software: Grolier’s Encyclopedia, San Diego Zoo, Animals in Their World ? ? Web-sites: Encarta.com, Britannica.com, Yahoo.com

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