Peace by Piece
  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Define civic virtue.
      2. Benchmark MS.8 Define civil society.

The learners will create a children's story containing a positive moral.

PrintFour Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learners will:

  • share ideas generated during the pre-writing process.
  • create a graphic organizer based on his/her story ideas.
  • write a rough draft of a children’s story, including a positive message as well as “storyline” components.
  • use proper editing symbols to peer edit another student’s story.
  • correct all errors noted through peer and teacher editing.
  • produce a final draft of the storyline using an acceptable format.
  • create illustrations for the storyline.
  • peer-edit ideas for illustrations.
  • Designing My Story (Handout Two)
  • Cube (Handout One)
  • Red pens (one for each student)
  • 3x5 index cards
  • Construction paper
  • Glue
  • Colored pencils
  • Editing Marks (Handout Three)
  • Unit Guidelines (Handout Three from Lesson One: The “Moral” of the Story)
  • A copy of The Legend of Blue Bonnet by Tommie dePaola
  • A copy of Be Good to Eddie Lee by Virginia Fleming
  • De Paola, Tomie. The Legend of Blue Bonnet. New York: Putnam, 1983.
  • Fleming, Virginia. Be Good to Eddie Lee. New York: Philomel Books, 1993.
  • /resources/civic-virtue Learning to Give Web site. Briefing paper on “Civic Virtue.”
  1. Anticipatory Set: Journal Entry: Define the word “attributes.” (Allow students to use dictionaries.) Go over their answers as a whole group.

    Day One:

  2. Read the story The Legend of Blue Bonnet. Using a whole group approach, ask students to verbally share ways this story compares to the others that have been read in this unit. Discuss briefly: character, attributes, stages of the story and the lesson. (Apply each of the concepts discussed previously to this story.)

  3. Tell students they will begin to write their own children’s book by creating one or two characters. Students work individually to list attributes for their characters. Be sure to have them include their “virtues.”

  4. Distribute copies of Designing My Story (Handout Two) and instruct the learners to summarize each section of the story they are creating: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. (Circulate to be sure students have a clear understanding of the directions and concepts.)

  5. Day Two:

  6. Start the class by sharing the story Be Good to Eddie Lee by Virginia Fleming. Ask students what the similarities and differences are in this story compared to those already heard. What is the author’s message? (This can be accomplished as a whole group or as a journal entry.)

  7. Distribute a copy of The Cube (Handout Two) to each student. Instruct students to begin by labeling each side of the cube with the steps of the story and the remaining box for the title and author. (The student is the author.) Once they have labeled each box with pencil, have the learners create a simple illustration to represent each part of their story. Using colored pencils or very fine-tip markers, complete illustrations.

  8. Have students write the rough draft of their story. If they are unable to complete this during class time, have them take it home for homework.

  9. Days Three and Four:

    Anticipatory Set: Journal Entry: Describe what peer editing is and list any advantages of using peer editing in the classroom.

  10. Put the term “civic virtue” on the chalkboard or overhead. Explain that “civic virtue” is the idea of citizens acting correctly or morally while working with others for the good of the community. An individual may show civic virtue by voting, volunteering, organizing a book group or attending a PTA meeting. (See the Learning to Give Web site at /resources/civic-virtue for a briefing paper on “civic virtue.”)

  11. Put the term “civil society” on the board. Explain that “civil society” includes all groups in the community that are not part of the government or extended families. Have the learners brainstorm a list of who is included in that definition (corporations and businesses, voluntary associations like the Lions Club and the Boys Scouts, churches, hospitals, etc.).

  12. Ask the learners to try and figure out a way that “peer editing, civic virtue and civil society” fit together. (One example might be: Peer editing is a learning technique in which the students, who are part of a learning community, help each other become better writers which improves their skills and the common good.)

  13. Review or introduce the process of peer editing. Choose the specific editing elements that you want the students to identify. Distribute a copy of Peer Editing Marks (Handout Three) or use your own method of peer editing. Stress the point that “Editors do not correct. They only identify.”

  14. Distribute a red pen, a small paper clip and an index card* to each student and instruct students to put their name at the top of the index card and clip the card to the front of their rough draft. They then exchange papers with another student for peer editing. Once they have completed their peer editing, instruct students to record three suggestions for improvement that they found on the student’s index cards. *Teacher’s Note: The index card may be kept in students’ portfolios and used each time they have a paper peer/teacher-edited. It should help the students identify areas of concerns in their writing.

  15. Once students’ papers have been peer-edited and corrected, they should be turned in for a teacher-edit. This can be easily managed on a one-to-one basis during class time while students are working on their illustrations. Take a few minutes to have students identify any “particular” word choices they used to make the story more effective. It may take one or two class periods. If students are completing their illustrations and final copies at home, rough drafts may be collected and edited in the evening and returned to students the following day.

  16. Day Five:

  17. Final Draft: (You may opt to give students more class time for this.) Provide students with computer paper and construction paper for completing their final drafts. Allow the students a weekend to finish any work they did not complete during class time. Be sure the books are due at least one day prior to your trip to the elementary school. They should be collected and stored by the teacher.


The Cube (Handout One), Designing My Story (Handout Two), the rough draft and the final copy may all be used as assessments.