Using Grandma Pickleberry’s Cold to Teach Recount Writing in Foundation & Year 1 (Lesson Plan)


Summary of Lesson Plan:

In this lesson plan, students use the text ‘Grandma Pickleberry’s Cold’ to help them recount the events that have occurred into beginning, middle and end. The teacher then models how to write a recount, before allowing the students to do their own (with some scaffolding approaches included).

Please note that this lesson is a follow up to the following lesson:

Using Sebastian Lives in a Hat to Write Recounts in Foundation and Year 1 (Lesson Plan)

Links to the Australian Curriculum:

Foundation English:

  •  (ACELY1646) – Elaboration: sequencing ideas in spoken texts, retelling well known stories, retelling stories with picture cues, retelling information using story maps.
  • (ACELY1651) – Elaboration: creating short spoken, written and multimodal observations, recounts and descriptions, extending vocabulary and including some content-specific words in spoken and written texts.
  • (ACELY1649) – Elaboration: predicting what might happen on the basis of experience of this kind of text; at the sentence level predicting the meaning on the basis of syntax and word meaning  navigating a text correctly, starting at the right place and reading in the right direction, returning to the next line as needed, matching one spoken word to one written word.
  • (ACELA1430) – Elaborations: discussing the purpose of texts, for example ‘This text will tell a story’, ‘This text will give information.
  •  (ACELA1432) Elaboration: pointing to the letters and the punctuation in a text
  • (ACELT1578) Elaboration: identifying some features of culture related to characters and events in literary texts, for example dress, food and daily routines


Student Background Knowledge:

Students must have completed recount introduction and activity on the story book: Sebastian Lives in a Hat (See link under the summary for lesson plan).

Teacher Focus:

  • Student motivation.
  • Teacher projecting positive reinforcement.
  • Classroom management: students respecting others.
  • Whole-child teaching pedagogy.
  • Child development patterns.


Learning Objectives:

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Listen to and respond orally to a text.
  • Create a short recount text with the 5Ws and 1H.
  • Understand texts have different purposes and that prediction strategies can be used to develop meaning.
  • Understand and use correct punctuation (capital letters and full stops).
  • Identify and understand the features of a text (characters and themes).


Learning Environment:

  • Students sit on mat quietly in front of teacher.
  • Teacher’s large chair placed in front of students.
  • Big book: Grandma Pickleberry’s Cold is placed on whiteboard edge prior to reading create engagement and motivation.
  • Students sit four to each desk with two tables joined together.
  • Title of story book written in large letters whiteboard (Victorian cursive font).
  • Visual images of key events and characters are placed in order.
  • Student desks are setup with: writing books, grey leads and coloured pencils.


Lesson Plan Sequence:

Stage 1 – Introduction (10 mins)

Teacher reminds students of  learning that took place in previous recount lesson and asks focus questions:

  • What do you think the book is about?
  • What is a cold?
  • Who is a Grandma?
  • What can you see on the front page?
  • What words do you think might be in this book? List all appropriate and explain meaning.


Teacher then explains today’s lesson to students, then:

  • Reads out aloud text
  • Stops and tests students level of understanding of the book.


Recount game: Students holds up colourful cue cards that will need to be pre-made: 5 w’s and 1 h (WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY AND HOW).

Teacher then models a recount of storybook.

Stage 2 – Body of Lesson (30 mins)

Explain to the students that they are now going to write their own recount in their books and we are going to compare these at the end to see how we went.

Revisit the key parts of a recount by watching the following video:

Then start off by getting the students to write their own 5Ws and 1H as a plan for them to refer to.

Challenge the students by erasing some of the words that you had on the board. Explain to the kids that you will erase a few more as the lesson progresses to see how ‘GOOD’ they are!

Remind students about using lines, capital letters and full stops by showing them these on your text.

Students head off and begin writing their recount.

*** Teacher assistance: different child development patterns teacher writes headings: beginning, middle and end in writing books students can draw and write their recount.

*** Teacher assistance: different child development patterns teacher writes headings: WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY AND HOW for the child to quickly begin writing.

*** Teacher assesses student understanding through observation and questioning.

Stage 3 – Conclusion (10 mins)

Shared time activity – teacher chooses four students to present their work to class. Benefits: raises students level of confidence even if they try.

Ask for 2 stars and a wish:

  • What are two things that the child did really well that you liked?
  • What do you wish that they could change to make it better?


Teacher conducts reflective activity with class by asking them stick and then colour in rating scale (e.g. Smiley, neutral or sad face. Or you could use a hand and the 5 fingers mean that they really understand how to do it and so on…)

Assessment Strategies:

  • Observation
  • Questioning: Inference and Recall
  • Completed recount (Used to moderate against writing rubric (VCOP))
  • Understanding and connection of visual, writing and explanation.
  • Anecdotal notes on students’ overall abilities: progress, achievement of lesson objectives.



  • Storybook: Grandma Pickleberry’s Cold by Greg Banks and Carol Herring
  • White board and markers
  • Visual images of characters
  • Pre-made cards: WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW
  • Large laminated, coloured cue cards
  • Writing books
  • Grey lead pencils
  • Coloured pencils





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