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Cortney Amber Greenslet

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Mini Lesson Plans


            I have this great passion for elementary school teaching, and yet I still find it so hard to decide between the 4th-5th grade levels, versus the kindergarten levels. Therefore, with my ten mini-lesson plans, I developed five of them on the kindergarten level and the other five on the 4th-5th grade level. Cortney Greenslet, Windsor County, Chester, VT

Title of Mini-Lesson: Our Class Story

Ages/Grades: Kindergarten

Subject: Writing / Comprehension


Overview: This lesson plan is designed to help students at the kindergarten level describe events that happen, interprete these thoughts onto paper and develop a story which is a reader could understand the writing.

Purpose:  In written narratives, students organize and relate a series of events, fictional or actual, in a coherent whole.



1. Recount in sequence several parts of an experience or classroom event, commenting on their significance and drawing a conclusion from them.

2. Create an imaginative story with a clear story line in which some events are clearly related to the resolution of a problem.

3. Organize the steps of procedures clearly and logically.

4. Students demonstrate respect for themselves and others, and their ideas.

5.Students will use teamwork to collaborate a story that is clear and creative.


1. Students read about a process such as the growing process of a tree or plant.

2. Students discuss and describe the events of the event.

3. The teacher writes the story down on the board or large sheet of paper.

4.Students illustrate pictures in small groups for each large page.

5.Students read and present their pages of the story.

6. Teacher binds the book and hangs it for open house or parent interest.

Resources / Materials:

Books on the process

Oak Tag or chalkboard to scribe the events chronologically.

Markers or Chalk

Crayons and Markers for illustrations



Tying it altogether:

Students will not only learn about the idea and chronological events of the growth of a tree, for example, but they will understand the importance of describing these events and writing these things down. Students will demonstrate the ability to work in groups for illustrations, and they will eb able to use teamwork to describe the events. They will also be able to look at how one event can be described differently by each student.

Cortney Greenslet, Windsor County, Chester, VT


Title of Mini-Lesson: Painting with Natural Paints

Ages/Grades: Kindergarten

Subject: Art


Overview: This activity will demonstrate to the students the natural “paints” of our world. The students will use these paints to make a picture.

Purpose: To demonstrate the uses of certain natural items in the art world as an alternative medium to express art. Students will relate different types of arts knowledge and skills to other curriculum areas such as science and history. Students use one kind of variety of visual arts media to show an understanding of the different properties each possesses.


1. To allow students to see the result of putting natural items on paper.

2. To help discover colors and their relationships to our natural world.

3. To understand the many uses for plants in our environment.

4. To allow students to express themselves in a creative form.

5. To allow students to develop skills that let them express thoughts and ideas through an artistic form of communication.


1. Students are presented the items (fruits, roots, berries, etc.) that will be used for painting.

2. Teacher will cut or peel the items to show students the part of the item which expresses juices or inks for painting.

3. Students will identify colors, shapes, and other characteristics of the items.

4. Students can discuss what other uses each item has.

5. Students will paint and rub colors and prints onto paper such as watercolor paper to create colorful natural works of art.

Resources / Materials:

  • Watercolor paper or canvas for dyeing.
  • Examples of available plants that can be used for natural painting is : Blackberry (strong purple), Walnut hulls and coffee grounds (brown), Lily of the Valley leaves (light green), Beets (deep red), marigold blossoms (yellow) and many more!
  •  Vinegar for staying power.
  • Knife and cutting board for original demonstration.


Tying it altogether: It is a good beginning to understanding sustainable living for children of this age to really begin to learn the relationship between different plants, and the relationship that we humans have with these plants. Students will be able to also discuss and analyze the relationships and the different colors each item makes.

Cortney Greenslet, Windsor County, Chester, VT


Title of Mini-Lesson: Cooking Measurements

Ages/Grades: Kindergarten

Subject: Science / Cooking


Overview: By introducing students to making their own foods, you are helping their science and math skills. The use of measuring cups enhances the students understanding of fractions. The mixing of ingredients and heating of them to rise or bake, is the beginning steps to chemistry and the combining of elements along with the change of form.

Purpose: To create an open-ended task to allow students to explore and analyze the scientific method of combing ingredients to create a final result. To introduce the student to become more comfortable using measurements and fractions.


1. Allow students to visually identify the fractiosn such as , ,1/3 , etc.

2. Allow students to see the reaction of heat with these mixed ingredients.

3. To help students identify the changes the batter takes on through the process.

4. To help the student observe and follow instructions.

5. To help the student understand the role of food and healthy eating in our lives.


1. Students will use a box cake mix to mix, bake and eat a cake.

2. Students will identify the different measurements needed and pour each in together.

3.Students will take turns mixing.

4.Students can make predictions regarding what will happen to the batter after it is heated.

5. Teacher can again discuss fractions when cutting the cake to serve it. Students will discuss their predictions and other things which they did not know about before hand.

Resources / Materials:

Cake Mix

Many measuring cups

Mixing sppons and whisks

Bowl for mixing

Cake pans


Knife and forks and plates for serving

Ruler for cutting equal pieces.

Tying it altogether:

Students will be able to identify the pieces coming from the “whole.” This will give them a visual introduction to fractions. Students will also be able to understand the baking process, and the result of mixing ingredients together. Reading a book about a baker to identify the important role of a baker in the community would be an appropriate ending.

Cortney Greenslet, Windsor County, Chester, VT


Title of Mini-Lesson: Magic Water

Ages/Grades: Kindergarten

Subject: Science


Overview: Students will take empty pop bottles and add water, sequins and beads to watch and observe the different ways the water moves. They will then be able to put in additives to create a different effect.

Purpose: Students will talk about the predictions they have for what the magic water will do when other items are added to the water. They will also be able to analyze and observe the different forms the magic water gets when thigns are added.


1. To allow students to identify the movement of water.

2. To allow students to observe the changes when things are added to the water.

3. Students will be able to discuss their predictions for the water changes.

4. Students will be given the chance to contemplate the relationship of different mediums.


1. Students fill soda pop bottles with water and plastic sequins, glitter, beads, etc.

2.They close the tops, shake and watch what happens to all of the objects in there.

3.They can now open the bottles and add coloring, oil, corn starch, or other objects.

4.The students should discuss the difference in the way the water acts with the new objects inside.

5. Duct Tape should be used to seal the top. Students can share and tell about what they added in their magic water bottles and show the result to the class.

Resources / Materials:

Empty soda bottles



Plastic Sequins


Corn starch


Food Coloring


Tying it altogether: Students could possibly dance around as if they were the water, oil, corn starch, etc. Students could group together if they used similar colors, or made similar predictions. Such as all of the people who have blue water stand over here. This could help students to see the different numbers of people, how they are different, similar, and how they divide up.

Cortney Greenslet, Windsor County, Chester, VT


Title of Mini-Lesson: Our Rules that We Rule!

Ages/Grades: Kindergarten

Subject: Social


Overview: Use picture books, a list, and pictures to describe emotions, identify classroom rules, and be able to hang these rules on the wall at a learning center for reading about rules in books.

Purpose: To help students understand what characteristics are important to create a safe environemtn for learning. To help students participate in the process of establishing the rules and consequences.


1. To identify rules of the classroom.

2. To discuss emotions and using of words instead of hands to communicate.

3. To identify characteristics of a person contributing to the team.

4. To identify ways to be respectful of each other and our space.

5. To discuss consequences and create a place where students can go and think, read, and discuss the rules of the classroom at any time needed.


1. Read 2 books describing bad behavior or poor choices. Discuss.

2.Read 3 books illustrating good behavior and good choices. Discuss.

3. Create a list of classroom rules which everyone can agree on is important.

4. Create a procedure of consequence for poor choices.

5.Create a list of words students can use to communicate their feelings.

6. Show feelings, faces and demonstrate body language for different emotions.

7. Role Playing is optional.

8. Discuss ways to identify good behavior, and ask children what types of rewards they would like.

Resources / Materials:


Oak Tag for List


Pictures of faces showing emotions

Rewards such as stickers, etc.


Tying it altogether: Students will show respect for the rules because they were able to have a part in creating them. Consequences will be expected and clear so students will be aware of what will happen if they are not participating and making good choices. There will be a greater sense of community because all had participated in the process. Rewards will be prestigious because they are well-known as displays of good behavior.

Cortney Greenslet, Windsor County, Chester, VT


Title of Mini-Lesson: Women in Fiction

Ages/Grades: 4-5th grades

Subject: Language Arts/ Reading


Overview:Read three novels displaying a strong charactered woman as the leading role, and compare, contrast and analyze the roles of these women. Relate these plots, ideas, and concepts to personal experience.

Purpose: Through literature, make connections to broader ideas, concepts, and issues, and to reflect on personal experience.


1. Analyze and interprete a variety of types of text.

2. Make connections among various parts of a text, among several texts, and between texts and other experiences in and out of school.

3. Students read for meaning, demonstrating both initial understanding and personal response to what is read.

4. Reflect on the experience of an imagined character, using patterns of cause, effect, comparison, and classification.

5.Conncet plot/ideas/concepts to experience, including other literature.


1. Read the books : “Anne of Green Gables” (Montgomery), “Sarah Plain and Tall” (MacLachlan), and “The Secret Garden” (Burnett).

2. Discuss the roles of each of the women in the stories.

3. Compare and contrast two of the women and their roles in their community.

4. Students will compare the plot of one of the stories to their own experience and write a narrative story regarding to an example of this in their own life.

5. Describe the effect of one of the woman’s actions and describe another moment in your life where your actions created such an effect.

6. Work in small groups to discuss the book plots and create a small play where people are representing each of the three women and what it would be like if they were to meet each other. What would they talk about?

Resources / Materials:




Pad of Paper for brainstorming notes


Tying it altogether: Talk about the role of women in modern times compared to the role of each of the women in “their time.” Describe things that are very different and talk about which things are still the same. Analyze the effect of women on our society and why they are important.

Cortney Greenslet, Windsor County, Chester, VT


Title of Mini-Lesson: News of the Era

Ages/Grades: 4th – 5th grades

Subject: History and Social Sciences


Overview: Small Groups are each assigned an era or event in history and are instructed to create a news cast event that would be typical of that time. Students will present a “News Hour” where they will have to site specific events and dates and relate all of the information to each other.

Purpose: Identify the importance of historical events, and how it would have been presented in the media today.


1. Describe historical events and characters.

2. Students identify major historical eras and analyze periods of transition in various times in their local community.

3. Identify and sequence patterns of change and compare historical data.

4. Describe and interpret events through the perspectives of people (both famous and common) living in the time and place under study.

5. Classify objects from "long ago" and today.


1.Students will get into small groups.

2.Each group will be assigned a particular era including a few important events within the era or period.

3. Students will research people famous and histrocial and creat a news report on the people and events of their time.

4. Students will perform their news cast for the class and will be reuird to be specifc and factual in their information.

5. Students will critique each others performances based on creativity, factual information, and interesting people as newcasters.

Resources / Materials:

Web or reference such as library for research

TV “Screen” Made out of a large piece of cardboard

Desk for news reporting


Sheets for each groups identifying different eras.

Tying it altogether: Students will have a fun time getting to know the historical figures in their books by becoming them. They will be able to better retain the historical dates and information because it will be more personal to them. Teachers can also discuss the effect media has on us today and how it would have been different had each of these characters had had the type of media we have today.

Cortney Greenslet, Windsor County, Chester, VT


Title of Mini-Lesson: What is a Legend?

Ages/Grades: 4th – 5th grades

Subject: Writing / Folklore


Overview: Students will do small group work to identify the characteristics of a myth and a legend and then proceed to write their own myth or legend.

Purpose: To help students identify the characteristics of a myth or legend and learn to write a story containing these items.


1. Use clear sentences, correct syntax, and grade-appropriate mechanics so that what is written can be easily understood by the reader.

2. In written narratives, students organize and relate a series of events, fictional or actual, in a coherent whole.

3. Establish a situation/plot, point of view, setting, and conflict

4. Develop characters through action, speech, relationship to others.

5. In personal essays, students write effectively


1. Students read at least 2 myths and 2 legends.

2. Students identify the characteristics of a myth and a legend.

3. Students get into small groups and discuss ideas for a story in the myth or legend format.

4. Students write as a group a myth or legend of their own including all of the characteristics they had already identified previously.

5. Students take turns reading and acting out sections of their myths and legends.

6. Peer review of myths and legends.

Resources / Materials:





Tying it altogether:

Students will be abel to create characters, establish a situation and plot, conflict and identify the elements which make up a legend or myth. Ask students if their families have particular cultural myths and legends that maybe they had passed down from generation to generation.

Cortney Greenslet, Windsor County, Chester, VT


Title of Mini-Lesson: Code Letters

Ages/Grades: 4th- 5th grades

Subject: Writing


Overview: Students will create a code using symbols, shapes and letters and then write a letter to a friend in the code form and include the key to the code. Then students will interprete their friends’ letters.

Purpose: To establish a method of communicating through writing other than the writing of the alphabet. To practice an alternative form of communication.


1. Have students create a code for use with the alphabet.

2. To allow students a chance to look at language from a different view.

3. To have students write and create a letter to a friend written completely in the code they designed.

4. Allow students to communicate without normal words and identify the difficulties this may present for clear communication.


1.Students will first create a code of symbols, shapes or other letters/numbers to represent the alphabet.

2. Then students will write a letter to a friend in the class using this code.

3. The students will give each other the coded letters with a copy of the code and the partner will interprete what the letter says.

4. Students can then discuss any difficulties they had with the interpretations.

5. Students can discuss what types of difficulties students from other countries have with language.

Resources / Materials:



Books on codes


Tying it altogether:

This would be a good project to segway into a different form of language lesson such as sign language, Spanish, or other non-verbal communication.

Cortney Greenslet, Windsor County, Chester, VT


Title of Mini-Lesson:Cultural/Ethnic Music and Dancing

Ages/Grades: 4th – 5th grades

Subject: Cultural / Social Studies


Overview: Students will research a form of dance, music or ritual from another culture, and will perform, explain, report on, or demonstrate for the class.

Purpose: This lesson is designed to help students understand, respect and demonstrate other cultures ethnic dancing, rituals, and music. To help students have respect for these differences and appreciate their heritage.


1. To help students have respect for others.

2. To allow students to explore different types of cultures.

3. To allow students to present and reiterate the information they learned about the culture so that their classmates will have a thorough understanding of many different culture rituals.


1. Students will pick an ethnic group to do research on.

2. Students will find a ritual, dance, or music form that the culture practiced regularly or very seriously.

3. The student will have to present a form of the ritual, dance, or music such as do a personal performance, teach the other students how to do it, or provide a video on how it goes, or a cd in the audio situations.

4. There will be a peer review, questions and answers, and discussion about the rituals.

5. The teacher will read a book about a native American ritual such as medicine cards, astrology, etc.

Resources / Materials:

Research Resources


Tapes and Cds




Tying it altogether: Students will be interested in this lesson because they will look forward to something new and exciting with each presentation. There could also be a demonstration from an outside community member to teach students to perform a ritual such as a square dance or native American rain dance, etc.



"Education is a companion which no future can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate it and no nepotism can enslave."
-Ropo Oguntimehin