Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Is That a Bird in Your Hat?

Elisabeth Coogle


After learning about adaptations animals need for survival, students imagine they find an injured bird. They create a clay bird and nest to stimulate creative writing. The lesson includes an integrated week-long art, science, and writing activity.


The student makes a plan before writing the first draft (for example, drawing pictures, using graphic organizers).

The student evaluates own and other's writing (for example, determining how own writing achieves its purposes, asking questions, making comments, responding constructively to other's comments, helping classmates apply conventions).

The student revises writing to improve supporting details and word choice by adding or substituting text.

The student uses references to edit writing (for example, word lists, dictionaries, charts).

The student uses strategies to `finish` a piece of writing (for example, incorporating illustrations, photos, charts, and graphs; preparing a final copy).

The student uses basic word processing skills and basic educational software for writing (including but not limited to proofreading, using appropriate fonts and graphics, using technology to 'publish' writing).

The student understands that structures of living things are adapted to their function in specific environments.


- Masking tape
- Two sheets of newsprint per student
- Modeling clay
- 3 feathers per child
- Straw or brown paper bags ripped into strips
- Writing paper
- Word processor
- Copies of attachments
- Dictionaries
- Correcting Pens
- Picture of a Bird
- Chart Paper and Marker


Gather materials.
Practice making a paper hat. Directions are provided in the attachment.
Make a model bird to show students.


Day 1
1. Gather students into a large group. Show students a picture of a bird. Ask students what they know about this animal. Make a list of their responses.
2. Lead the children in a discussion focusing on how a bird’s life would be different if it could not fly. Ask these questions:
“Could the bird build a nest high in a tree?”
“Would a bird be able to survive if it could not fly?”
“What might happen to a bird if it could not fly?”
Students may mention that ostriches and other large birds don’t fly. Great! Discuss their large size and speed as survival skills.
3. Tell the children that they are going to make a little bird that cannot fly. Ask students, “What could you put an injured bird in?” Tell students that they are going to put their bird into a hat nest. Explain that students get to make a paper hat for a nest, and then tomorrow they will write a story telling how the bird was injured and nursed back to health.
4. Pass out clay and three feathers to each child. Show students how to form a small clay bird body. Then show how to stick pointed ends of the feathers into the clay to make wings and a tail feather.
5. When students are done making their birds, they should begin tearing or cutting strips of brown bags to be used as lining in their nests.
6. Call students up one at a time to make paper hats. (See attachment for instructions to make the hat.) 7. When all students have hats, they should place their paper strips into their hats and lay their birds into their nests.
8. Students clean-up.

Day 2
1. Ask students to think about their birds. Remind students how important it is for a bird to be able to fly. Ask students to remember what they imagined might have happened to their bird. Tell students that they are going to write their stories down on paper today. Tell students that their first sentence should tell who the main characters are (the bird and themselves), the setting (in the desert, woods, rainforest, backyard etc), and what the characters are doing. Example: One day I was walking in the woods and found a bird.
2. Next, they should tell the reader the problem. Example: I noticed the bird could not fly.
3. Then write an interesting story telling what may have happened to the bird and how you will care for the bird.
4. Have students get their birds and nests. Instruct students to find a quiet place in the room to write.
5. Students write a rough draft.

Day 3
1. Students finish writing begun on day 2.
2. Edit work by completing the student rubric.

Day 4
1. Go over the assessment with the students.
2. Divide students into heterogeneous groups of four. Provide groups with dictionaries and correcting pens. Tell students that today they are book editors and authors. Today you will get your work ready to publish.
3. Give each group member a number 1-4. Tell students that when you call their number they will read their papers to their group. Group members should then tell the writer if parts don’t make sense. The writer can decide whether to make changes or leave the paper alone. Then they should proofread the paper for spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.
4. Teacher lets the number ones begin. After 5 minutes call -switch to number 2.- Repeat with numbers 3 and 4.
5. Gather together and allow students to share the changes they made.

Day 5
1. Students type their work onto a word processor during center or small group time or during a computer lab time if available.


Students answer all of the questions on the self assessment found on page 2 of the attachments.
Students will score at least a 3 on the writing rubric found on page 3 of the attachments.
Each student will complete all 4 items on the peer editing rubric found on page 4 of the attachments.
Students answer at least 2 of the 4 questions correct on the assessment of living things adapting to their function in specific environments.


This lesson is part of a writing workshop developing narrative writing.
Students need to be able to identify characters, settings, problems, events, and solutions in a story to be aware of how authors introduce the characters and settings in story writing in order to apply those skills in the writing for this lesson.

Students with special needs may type directly into a word processor on days 2-5. Grouping allows for students to share their strengths and weaknesses.

Attached Files

Writing Rubrics Science Adaptations Worksheet     File Extension: pdf

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