Bits and Pieces
Social Studies/Language Arts Activity
In this activity, students will use a collection of objects as the basis
for writing a tale about the people who used them.
WHAT YOU NEED
- A collection of small objects, such as a small toy, a key, or a paintbrush
(at least three for each student)
- Blank story map for each student (print and copy)
WHAT TO DO
- Review some stories that everyone in the class has read and discuss key objects
in the stories. How were they used? Who owned them? Were they special in some way?
Were they new or old? How were they important to the story? For example, you might
discuss how straw, sticks, and bricks were used in the tale of the Three Little Pigs.
- Have each student bring in three to five small objects from home that they can keep
in school for a while. The objects can be unique or common every day things from around
- Then place all the objects on a table and let students choose three objects that they
think they can work into a tale. If you want to make it more challenging, have children
try to choose three unrelated objects. (You may want to offer students the option of
keeping their selections a secret.)
- Distribute copies of the story map and have children complete it. Remind them that the
objects must play a key role in the tale, such as being something that a father handed down
to his daughter, and not just be mentioned in passing. Encourage them to write about the
objects in imaginative ways.
- When they have finished writing, have children read the tales aloud to the class. You
might have the other students try to guess which objects in each tale were the three specially
- You may want your students to pretend to be archeologists. Bring in five random and unfamiliar
(to students) objects. Bury them in the sand of a sand table and have volunteers unearth them.
Then have students work in groups to write a tale about the people who used them.
- You may want to collect several books with tales that students can read and use as models for
their own tales.
- Some children may find it easier to choose a familiar tale and retell it orally, substituting
new objects for the ones in the original story.
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