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School of Education, Health and Human Behavior
School of Education

The Life of Abraham Lincoln

Lesson Plan #1

NEH Landmarks Workshop June 2008

Subject: Cross curricular Language Arts/social studies

Grade Level: 4 th grade

Time Frame: as many forty-five minute class periods as necessary


§ Students will be able to identify the beginning, middle, and end of the story.

§ Students will learn to summarize a nonfiction selection.


§ Freedman, R. (1987). Lincoln A Photobiography. New York: Houghton Mifflin

§ Calculator tape/paper

§ Pencil

§ Summary chart

§ Sticky notes

§ Notebook paper

§ White drawing paper

§ Summary Rubric

Illinois State Learning Standards:

1.C.2d Summarize and make generalizations from content and relate to purpose of material.

1.B.3b Identify text structure and create a visual representation (e.g., graphic organizer, outline, drawing) to use while reading.

2.A.2c Identify definitive features of literary forms (e.g., realistic fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, narrative, nonfiction, biography, plays, electronic literary forms).

2.B.2a Respond to literary material by making inferences, drawing conclusions and comparing it to their own experience, prior knowledge and other texts.

2.B.2b Identify and explain themes that have been explored in literature from different societies and eras.

3.A.2 Write paragraphs that include a variety of sentence types; appropriate use of the eight parts of speech; and accurate spelling, capitalization and punctuation.

3.B.2a Generate and organize ideas using a variety of planning strategies (e.g., mapping, outlining, drafting).

16.A.1b Ask historical questions and seek out answers from historical sources (e.g., myths, biographies, stories, old photographs, artwork, other visual or electronic sources).


1. The class will read, Lincoln, A Photobiography, by Russell Freedman as a class.

2. Each day we will briefly discuss what happened, and write 2-3 important events on the calculator tape to create a timeline.

3. When the book is finished students will use their story timelines to help them sequence the events into beginning, middle, and end.

4. Pass out sticky notes and the summary chart to each student.

5. The students will begin writing events from the story on sticky notes.

6. They will place their sticky notes in the correct column (beginning, middle, or end).

(*Remind students to check that they have close to the same amount of sticky notes in each column).

7. After their chart is complete they will use it to begin putting their events into three paragraphs (beginning, middle, and end). *Remind students to use descriptive words and supporting details, and to check for spelling, and complete sentences.

8. Edit paragraphs and rewrite if necessary.

9. Create an illustration to go along with the summary.


A teacher created rubric will assess the students' summaries.

Summary Rubric

Student Name: __________________________






Focus on Assigned Topic


The entire summary is related to the assigned topic and allows the reader to understand what happens in the story.

Most of the summary is related to the assigned topic, and the reader can still understand what happens in the story.

Some of the summary is related to the assigned topic, but the reader does not understand what happens in the story.

No attempt has been made to relate the summary to the assigned topic.

Accuracy of Events


All events presented in the summary are accurate.

Almost all of the events in the summary are accurate.

Most of the events presented in the summary are accurate.

There are several events in the summary that are not accurate.



The summary is very well organized. The events of the story are in correct order.

The summary is somewhat organized. One event may seem out of order.

The summary is a little hard to follow, with events being out of order.

Events seem to be randomly arranged.

Writing Style


Many vivid, descriptive words and supporting details are used in the summary.

Some supporting details and descriptive words are used in the summary.

Not many supporting details or descriptive words are used in the summary.

No supporting details or descriptive words are used in the summary.



The final draft of the summary is readable, clean, and neat.

The final draft of the summary is readable, neat, but has very few errors.

The final draft of the summary is readable, but there are several errors.

The final draft is not neat, and done with very little effort.

Total Score: ______/20

Grade: ________

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