Making Your Magical Creature Talk

Author: 
Erin Armstrong
Genre: 
Fiction
Unit: 
Unit
Unit Title: 
Magical Creatures
Grade Level: 
4
Grade Level: 
5
Time Frame: 
60 minutes
Objectives: 
To teach students about dialog and give students a chance to write basic dialog from the perspective of character’s they’ve already created; to show how dialog can help move a story forward, through the creations of additional characters, as well as through active speaking; to teach students the proper use and placement of dialog tags and quotations; to teach students how characters can communicate with one another through dialog
Prior Knowledge and Skills: 
students should have created a magical creature from the Making Magical Creatures lesson plan
Required Materials: 
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Doug Adams, handout (attached in the lesson plan file)

I. Introduction

  • Read the literary model (Hitchhiker’s Guide excerpt). Go over how to quote, use of dialog tags, indentations, and paragraph formatting.
  • Invent a magical friend. If there is time you can do this in class with the students, or come in with a magical friend in mine. The friend should be based off of the magical creature lesson plan. Have students name the friend. Generate a collaborative dialog using this magical friend. Have the friend ask the following questions. Show students how to format responses using appropriate dialog formatting.

Questions for Collaborative Activity:

Where are you from?
What does your house look like?
What are you afraid of?
What is your favorite thing to do?
Who is your best friend?
Are you running away from anything?
What makes you happy?
What languages can you speak?
Do you have a special power?
What can you do with your special power?

II. Activity:

Have students write dialogs using the magical creature they created in a previous lesson plan. Have students come up with a magical friend that they think their creature would talk to. (They can use the friend from the collaborative activity, or create their own.) Use the attached template that says “Magical Friend” at the top. Put the invented name on the line where it says Magical Friend. Once students have established the friend’s name have them respond to the questions. Try and get them to quote and use dialog tags, don’t worry as much about indentations or paragraph formatting. Here are additional questions if students need prompting:

How big is your house?
Who else lives with you?
What planet do you live on?
What kind of vehicle do you drive?
What kind of things to you like to read?
What kind of sports do you play?
What are you favorite kinds of smell?
What is your favorite thing in your house?

III. Closing

  •  Have students share their work. Try and get two students to come up for each dialog. Have one student be the magical friend and the other the magical creature. Have them take turns asking questions and responding. This should give students a better idea of how dialog sounds.

IV. Extension Activities (Optional):

  •  Have students draw their magical friend. Get students to write the dialog without the template and begin to incorporate narrative throughout the dialog.
Arizona Board of Regents