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Character Education

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Digital Learning

The Gift of Time

How many times have our students heard, “Someday” when they ask, “When”? Max, a little anthropomorphic beaver in the picture book by Denise Brennan-Nelson, wants to spend some special times with different members of his family, but keeps hearing, “Someday”. He checks his calendar to sadly find no “Someday” anywhere. 

Here's a lesson that I loved writing, loved teaching, and loved even more when I saw the results of the student responses! This lesson is perfect for grades 3 through 6.  My friend Cindy and I, two newly retired elementary teachers, are so lucky to still have contact with kids every week, thanks to our wonderful teaching friends who invite us into their classrooms. We used this lesson with fourth graders. It met the standard for Writing: Text Types and Purposes (3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, 
and clear event sequences.) It met a much higher standard too - absolutely melted our hearts when the responses were shared!

The plan:
 1. Read and discuss the book Someday Is Not A Day of the Week

2. Talk about the special people in our lives and some of the special moments we've shared with them.  Encourage students to discuss in groups, adding lots of description and details about how that special time felt to each of them.

3. Use a graphic organizer for each student to brainstorm for the narrative writing piece. We compared that special time together to a gift that can be wrapped up and saved forever (the gift of time!). Here's the organizer we used, but your students can also draw  their own:

4. Using the graphic organizer as a guide, students write a narrative about that special time with that special person. The narrative can be between one and three paragraphs. It's meant to be a "snapshot" of a time, not a long writing piece. The most important part to stress here is the way the child felt during this time, demonstrating how much the experience meant to him/her. 

5. Students cut, decorate, and fold a little box to contain the memory writing piece. Here's our template, but actually any small cardboard box from home would work. Students can decorate the box or wrap with actual wrapping paper and ribbons. (When you see our results below, I think you'll want to use a card stock template and let students decorate with their own drawings!)

6. Students fold the writing piece small enough to fit in the box, holding the top closed with a sticker or very small piece of tape. 

7. If you decide to share responses in class, have some tissues ready! (for you!) 

Tissue Alert:
In two of the three fourth grade classes we visited, a child told us that the story was about a special time with Grandpa, who has since passed away, and the box containing the story was going to be a gift for Grandma! (Are you crying yet?) Melted my Grandma Heart!!! 
Cindy and I looked at each other, and our eyes filled with tears. We told each of those sweet grandchildren that we could imagine how that is going to be the best gift in the world for their grandmas. 

Some pictures from our lesson:


 This lesson is a small part of a Bullyproof Rainbow unit called "Gratitude Rocks". The amazing song "Gift in This Present" by the gifted Lessia Bonn is part of the unit. You might want to take a look at the unit if you loved this lesson!
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March 29: Linked up with Story Sunday. Click here for some other great ideas for motivating your readers!


  1. Thanks for linking up! Looks like a cute book! I've never seen that one before...

  2. A beautiful lesson idea. I love how unique each of the boxes are.
    Thanks for linking up!