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National Sites Slide Show

Grades 4 through 6
Language Arts

Lesson Plan


After researching several national sites (parks and or battlefields) and brainstorming adjective and descriptive words, students will produce a descriptive narration for a slide show from one of the selected national sites to demonstrate their learning.


Students will select a specific national site, use the photos available on that site, and brainstorm adjectives and descriptive words that describe and help identify the site for others.  Students will use an existing slide show or create one using photos and multimedia from the national site's Web site and use descriptive language to create a narration for the slide show.


Session 1

  • Describe the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program for background information.  The program is described at  Tell the class that the front of a coin is called the "obverse" and the back is called the "reverse."
  • With the students, examine each of the five 2011 quarter designs and locate all the sites related to each quarter on a classroom map. Answer any student questions.
  • Introduce the concept of national sites through appropriate Web sites.  Note that national sites include parks, forests, seashores, and battlefields.
  • Show the class a photo from one of the national sites and guide students through a brainstorming session on words that help describe the selected photo.  Record these words on a class word wall. Point out which of the descriptive words are adjectives.
  • Have students research on the Internet several national sites using the official Web site of the national sites,
  • Have the students choose one national site's Web site to search for photos by looking for "photos and multimedia" in the menu on the left side of the page.  Distribute the "Descriptive Word Brainstorm" worksheet.  While the students are researching their national site, have them fill in the worksheet.
  • Distribute the "My Description" worksheet to the students.  On it, have them create a description of the site they selected, referring to their "Descriptive Word Brainstorm" worksheet.  Then have them trade sheets with another student and guess which site goes with each description.
  • Have the students individually return to the national site they described in the "My Description" worksheet to locate and view a slide show from that site or to create an original slide show using photos and multimedia available on the site.  Have them then go through each slide and add a descriptive sentence for each slide to call attention to interesting features in that slide and record these sentences on the "Slide Show Narration" worksheet.

Session 2

  • Have each of the students find a partner and present their slide show to their partner, reading the description for each slide, then letting the partner present.
  • Have the students find a new partner and share their slide shows again.
  • Lead a short discussion on interesting and helpful descriptive words that the students heard in their presentations and add new words to the word wall.


  • Use the students' class participation, discussion, and final products to evaluate whether they have met the lesson objectives.
  • Use the rubric to evaluate the narration.

Differentiated Learning

  • Model the process for students.
  • Use a photo of a familiar place and brainstorm with the students descriptive words as they fill in an ABC chart.
  • Allow students to have a guest reader read their narration.
  • Read examples of descriptive sentences from different sources to the students before the lesson.

Connection to

Print Me

Worksheets associated with this lesson plan



  • Brainstorm descriptive words and use them to help identify a place through photos.
  • Use descriptive language to narrate a slide show on a national park or historical site

Step-By-Step Directions

  1. After your teacher introduces your class to the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program, your teacher will show you a photo from one of the national sites and guide you through a brainstorming session on words that describe things.  You will create a word wall of descriptive words and highlight the words that are adjectives.
  2. Your teacher will give you the "Descriptive Words Brainstorm" and "My Description" worksheets.
  3. Study the national sites from the 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Program using  Your teacher may tell you which sites to study.
  4. Choose ONE national site to research carefully.  Locate slide shows on the site by looking for "photos" or "multimedia" in the menu on the left side of the page.  Use the "Descriptive Words Brainstorm" worksheet to write down words that describe your site as you research.
  5. Use the "My Description" worksheet to create a description of the site you selected.  Refer to your "Descriptive Words Brainstorm" worksheet to help you write your descriptions.
  6. Exchange "My Description" worksheets with another student and try to guess which national site their list describes.
  7. Print out the "Slide Show Narration" worksheet.
  8. Go back to the Web site of the national site you described on your worksheet and locate the "photos and multimedia" section.  Click on "slide show."
  9. View the slide show.  Base your narration on this slide show or, with your teacher's permission, create a slide show of your own using photos from the Web site.
  10. Print out the "National Sites Slide Show" project guide and review the rubric.  View the slide show again and write a one-sentence description of each slide on your "Slide Show Narration" worksheet.
  11. Present your slide show to another student. Have him or her view the slides as you read your narration for each one.



National Council of Teachers of English ( and International Reading Association (

  • Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

Side Box


  • 1 in-class session (30 to 45 minutes) for student exploration of descriptive words
  • 2 in-class sessions (30 to 45 minutes) for student creation and presentation of their narration

Materials List

  • "Print Me" worksheets
  • Internet access
  • Writing materials


  • Quarter
  • Obverse
  • Reverse
  • Brainstorm
  • Descriptive
  • Adjective
  • National Park
  • Historical Site
  • Narration

Helpful Hints

  • Set a time limit for the brainstorm session and allow the students to fill in only part of the alphabet blocks.  Many will have trouble with certain letters and may need to use two words in a block.
  • Call attention to words that are unfamiliar to the class and help with definitions and examples.
  • If printing options are limited, allow students to illustrate their slides based on researched images of their national site.

Student Side Box

What You Need

  • "Print Me" worksheets
  • Writing/drawing materials
  • Internet access

Related Materials

  • "Descriptive Words Brainstorm" worksheet
  • "My Description" worksheet
  • "Slide Show Narration" worksheet
  • National Sites Slide Show Project Guide

Related Links

The Department of the Treasury Seal