ALEX Lesson Plan


Summarizing Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Jeanise Frost
System: Shelby County
School: New Direction
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 11926


Summarizing Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan


This is a hands-on lesson to introduce students to Patricia MacLachlan’s Sarah, Plain and Tall series. Students will discover urban life, how to make a timeline, and analyze literary elements while reading Sarah, Plain and Tall.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Technology Education
TC2 (2009)
Grade: 3-5
1 ) Use input and output devices of technology systems.

Examples: input—recording devices, keyboards, touchscreens

-  output—printers

•  Demonstrating ergonomics relative to technology systems
•  Demonstrating correct keyboarding techniques
•  Demonstrating safe removal of storage media
Technology Education
TC2 (2009)
Grade: 3-5
8 ) Collect information from a variety of digital sources.

Examples: online libraries, multimedia dictionaries

•  Using technology tools to organize information
•  Demonstrating efficient Internet search strategies
Example: keyword search

•  Evaluating electronic resources for reliability based on publication date, bias, accuracy, and source credibility
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 3
12 ) Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause and effect. [RI.3.3]

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will use technology to find information about the author. Students will use technology to create a timeline. Students will identify and analyze literary elements. Students will identify main ideas in a story. Students will discuss cause and effect in a story. Students will summarize the book, Sarah, Plain and Tall.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will create a slideshow presentation.

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Greater than 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Sarah, Plain and Tall books

Technology Resources Needed:

Computers with Internet access, presentation software, printer


Students should have experience navigating the Internet and basic word processing skills.

1.)Introduce the lesson by telling students they are going to be reading a book written by Patricia MacLachlan. Allow students to use the website below to find information about the author and find other book titles by Patricia MacLachlan.
(Kids Read)
Website gives a biography of Patricia MacLachlan and a listing of books she has written.

2.)Have students create a timeline of the different books by Patricia MacLachlan using the website below. Ask students to print out the timeline for review.
Website makes a timeline.

3.)Before reading the book, review the following website about writing summaries.
(How to write a summary)
This site gives a detailed description about how to write a summary.

4.)Also review how the story elements make up a book by reviewing the website below.
This site teaches about the elements of a story.

5.)Read aloud the book Sarah, Plain and Tall with students. While reading the book, ask students to write a summary of each chapter and identify characters, setting, and plot. (Students may use the graphic organizer on the following website.)
(Story Elements Web)
Students can draw these diagrams in Inspiration and use them to make notes about plot, setting, characters, etc. Click on "Part Two" for more. OR
Print out the template.

6.)While the book is being read have students look for problems throughout the book and determine their underlying cause and effect relationships.
Have students use a diagram from the site below to help record the causes and effects in the book.
(Cause and Effect Diagrams)
This site has a few printouts of cause and effect diagrams. They will help students identify the cause and effect of the story.

7.)After completion of the book, place students in small groups of three or four to develop a multimedia presentation to summarize information from Sarah, Plain and Tall. Students may use the attached template.

8.)Have students present their slideshows. Then have them print out their presentations for review.

**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.

Assessment Strategies

Use the attached rubrics to evaluate students' timelines and presentations.


Students can create a timeline of their life or of the life of the oldest person they know.



Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.