Albany second grade teacher Ellie Holdren reviewed beginning/middle/end in a single-draft writing activity. Her “Leprechaun Adventure Stories” took only two days. Here’s how she did it.


  1. Ellie passed out pre-made booklets to each student. (Stapled booklets included a green construction paper front cover, blank white paper, 2 theme-bordered pages, and a green construction paper back cover. The front cover paper was cut horizontally in thirds to create a top, middle, and bottom flap.)
  2. She explained that they were going to create a fictional “leprechaun” character. Each student was to fold back the top green flap and draw the head and shoulders of the main character. Then, closing the flap, each student was then to pass the booklet to a second student. The second student created the torso and arms, without looking at the head. And a third student created the legs and feet, without any knowledge of the top or middle portions.
  3. Returning the created character to the original student, Ellie reviewed that just like the characters they’d made, all stories have a top, middle, and bottom — or beginning, middle, and end. She asked them to study their characters. Who is your leprechaun? What happens to him/her? What’s the adventure story you want to tell?
  4. At that point, she had the students use the remainder of the writing time to complete a beginning, middle, and end pre-write.


  1. Using their pre-writes from the previous day, students used the entire writing time to start and finish a one-draft story. There was no rough draft and revision; they wrote directly on the bordered paper. Like ISTEP, Ellie was giving her students the experience of “pulling it all together” in a single draft. Although the pieces aren’t perfect, she was targeting the trait of organization (pre-writing, hooks, and beginning/middle/end).

Downloadable images:

Leprechaun booklet with Writing Sample. (PDF Files)

Leprechaun Adventure StoriesLeprechaun Adventure Stories Student Samples

To download the same St. Patrick’s Day themed paper, and other holiday stationery for free, check out .

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