This lesson plan for grades three through high school uses the book Big-Enough Anna to spark students’ thinking. The book, by Pam Flowers, is a true story about how a little sled dog was big enough to learn to lead the team, to step up when the team counted on her, and to meet a dangerous challenge and continue on in her position as lead dog. Take a look at one of my July posts to order the book.
The lesson generates thoughts on universal themes such as accomplishing things that others don’t think you can do or continuing to work even though you are challenged. Then, students brainstorm personal experiences they’ve had with the same situation—doing something or accomplishing something that someone thought they couldn’t do—and write a personal narrative about it.
The narrative should reflect the students’ writing abilities and levels, thus a high schooler’s personal narrative will be more extensive and developed than the elementary school student’s paper. A rubric to score the narrative is part of the lesson.
Publish your students’ “can do” narratives and refer to them when students feel challenged in the classroom or in life, just like teams and mushers push through the tough parts of the Iditarod to move on down the trail.