Write Stuff For Teachers

It’s Not About the Ideas – teacher’s convention workshop slides

The Journal –  Study guide Pre-reading activities, Questions/writing topics organized by chapter sections, post-reading activities.

Famous Five: Heroes or Villains? presentation slides provide helpful visuals for background information.

ACTIVITIES TO GO WITH FAMOUS FIVE: HEROES OR VILLAINS?  teachers convention presentation

 **NEW** CREATE A FACEBOOK PAGE – For a historical character

Make a faux facebook page for Emily Murphy or Nellie McClung or one of the other Famous Five women of Alberta. Here are some ideas about what to include:

  • Photos
  • Friends – Who were Emily Murphy’s contemporaries? What have they posted on her timeline recently?
  • Timeline – What else was happening at this time in Edmonton? Alberta? Canada? The world? Remember anyone can post on this site, not just Canadians. What did the women of Great Britain think of the persons case?
  • About – jobs, education, where she lives, family
  • Groups – Which women’s groups did she belong to? Church groups? Community? Politics?
  • More – drop down menu under “more” on the facebook page lists lots of categories. Use the ones that fit your historical character.


In The Journal, Kami reads newspaper clippings from her great-grandmother’s journal and spins back in time where she discovers what life was like for her great-grandmother as a young teen.


Imagine that it is 2090. One of your great-grandchildren reads your journal. Write the journal entry that your great grandchild reads. Make sure to include an event that you took part in or that was important to you. (This can be an important family celebration, a school or a community event or even a news story.)


Now imagine that as your great-grandchild reads this journal entry he is transported back to 2015 and meets you as a school student. Describe the encounter. What does he think of your 2015 world? (Will he be angry at the wastefulness or at the pollution? Will he be surprised about the attitudes? Will the technology or lack thereof be a surprise?) Write a journal entry from your great-grandchild and his experience in 2015.


Assign a Class Debate about whether or not the Famous Five should be granted hero status. Students must research the accomplishments of one of the Famous Five women and build arguments for and against granting this person “hero” status. Make sure you begin your argument with your definition of what it means to be a hero. Be prepared to argue on either side of the debate. The teams will be drawn randomly. After the debate, write about your experience.


Write a newspaper article about you in the future. This may be a biography written to celebrate a great achievement of yours, or the celebration of an anniversary of a great achievement. It can even be a eulogy or obituary describing your amazing contributions during your long and fulfilling life.


Have you ever been witness to a situation and been asked to explain what happened? Was your retelling the same as other people’s? Here is an activity to test your student’s observation skills as they participate in this “Eye Witness” event.

Plan ahead to have someone come into your class. We’ll call this person Sam.

Give students an assignment (or quiet reading) to do at their desks. When Sam comes into the room he needs to do several things, such as:

  • Put a book on the teacher’s desk
  • Take a stapler from a table and put it in a bag
  • Put a magazine on the ledge of the whiteboard
  • Tack a notice to the bulletin board
  • Talk to someone

After Sam leaves the room, have the students write down all the things that happened. Once everyone has finished writing, find out what everyone remembers and what they did not.

What details do they remember? What did Sam wear? How long was Sam in the room? What book did Sam take? Who did Sam talk to? Etc. Compare how everyone’s memory was the same and different.

Extra Challenge:  Wait until later in the day to get the students to answer the questions. Or ask leading questions to influence the answers, such as What style of jacket did Sam wear? (if Sam was not wearing a jacket.)

Application to Historical Fiction:  Have students write an eye witness account of a particular historic event from the point of view of two different characters.


  • Each student brings an artifact from home. It should be small enough to carry in one hand and have some significance to the owner (e.g. gift, treasure, souvenir, symbol etc.)
  • Students share their artifact with the group, telling about its significance.
  • Each student brings an artefact from home. It should be small enough to carry in one hand and ideally, have some significance to the family (something that has been in the family for years or something that the student will pass down to future generarions because of its significance.) A photo would also work if the artefact is too valuable to bring to school.
  • Students share their artefact with a small group, telling about its significance.
  • Each student draws a picture of the artefact in the centre of a piece of paper, and then brainstorms words describing the artefact, which they add to the page. After a couple of minutes, have students hand their page to the person on their right.
  • Each student then adds descriptive words on his neighbours artefact page, moving the pages to the right every couple of minutes until all the pages have been passed around the group.*
  • Turn the page over and rotate papers around the group again for the ROLE the artefact might play in a story, or USES for the artefact.
  • Students write a historical fiction story in which the artefact plays a significant role. This will include a historical setting. For example, my Mi’kmaq quill box will involve the Mi’kmaq people pre-confederation rather than the story of how the quill box came to me, although that too would make an intriguing story. A special coin will fit into the coin’s time period. Or maybe it is a glass from the ’88 Olympics.

*The beauty of this approach is that after only a few minutes, every student has a page with several descriptive words/ideas on it.







Pattern Stories 

Guided Writing: Cat and Dog Adventure

Guided Writing: The Magic Key

Guided Writing: Artefact Story

Fun With Words – Tongue Twisters

Make a Picture Book

Mindless Musings

Mindful Musings

SETTING CHART – example 2012

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