Digital and Print Activities to Teach Author's Purpose

digital google slides classroom

I have always enjoyed teaching author's purpose to my students. It is so easy to incorporate in any of the lessons I teach across all grade levels. Several years ago I even used it as my professional goal. This is when I developed more in-depth lessons and activities for the subject. And for some reason, I usually teach author's purpose in November. I"m not sure why maybe just because the PIE acronym that we all use fits so well with Thanksgiving! Read below to see some of the ways I teach my students the different reasons authors write.

Digital Activities

This year I created some digital activities to use with Google Slides. I like using these for two main reasons. One is their paperless. I'm really trying to cut back on the number of copies I do each week. And of course, my school encourages this as well. Second, the students LOVE any type of digital activity. Their level of engagement goes up and they tend to stay more focused on the task at hand. Below is a sorting activity for students to sort different types of writing into the three categories. No glue required!

teaching why writers write

My favorite part of this lesson is the 6 different reading passages (2 for each type of purpose). Students will read the passage and highlight the key phrases that tell them the purpose for the writing. They will then type out their thinking.

teaching why writers write
teaching why writers write
There are a total of 11 slides in this Author's Purpose Activities for Google Slides which will provide your students with plenty of practice as they learn this skill.

PowerPoint Introduction

I usually start with a PowerPoint introduction with my third graders. The PowerPoint introduces the concept and the three main reasons author's write: persuade, inform and entertain. We discuss examples of each kind and what each term means.

teaching why writers write

Then there are some review slides where the students have to read the paragraph and decide what type of purpose it is. Afterward, I have an exit ticket just for author's purpose that I have students fill out. 

teaching why writers write

Graphic Organizers and Worksheets

I follow up the PowerPoint with some practice. I gather different kinds of writing including books, reference books, newspaper, advertisements and anything else I can find. Then I have them fill out one of the graphic organizers. Here is one example.

teaching why writers write

I usually do different AP sorts with my fourth graders (just because I like to do different activities with each grade level). I have also used old Scholastic book orders and had students cut and sort books from there. 

teaching why writers write

Task Cards

I also have two different task card sets. One set is simpler than the other. I usually do these later in the year as a review. The first set is simpler and just gives a very brief title or description. These work well for younger students or to use as time fillers or a quick review in between classes or transitions.

teaching why writers write

The second set is just like the PowerPoint review slides with a longer description or summary of a book or text. 

teaching why writers write

Freebie Time!

In my store, I have a set of free Author's Purpose posters (click here to download them). I have used these for several years in my library and I was looking for a change. So I created an unbelievably cute set with this smart cookie clip art I have. I added them to the free resource library. Remember, if you are a member of my email list you always have access to the resource library. You can access it from the link at the top of the page. And it's password protected, so make sure you keep the password handy. If you are not a member of my email list yet, signing up is super easy! Just click on the link (also at the top of the page) that says "newsletter signup". 

If you would like to look at or purchase any of these author's purpose activities just click the links below. They are also available in my TpT store


teaching why writers write

Cyberbullying Resources for Elementary Students

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. One type of bullying is cyberbullying. With technology becoming more enmeshed in every aspect of our lives it is more important than ever to teach our students what cyberbullying is and what to do if you are a victim of a cyberbully or witness this type of behavior.

A few months ago I wrote a blog post titled "10 Anti-Bullying Picture Books" where I give a list of some of my favorite books to teach younger students about bullying, including cyberbullying. Today I want to share with you some lesson ideas and activities that you can use with older elementary students.

Educational Videos

Videos can be a very effective tool in introducing a topic to students in an engaging way. There are several cyberbullying videos that I have used before. I like them because they are the perfect way to begin a conversation and open up communication with students. My school subscribes to BrainPop and there are several different videos on there about digital safety. But if your school does not have BrainPop, there are some free videos that you can use. And as always, please preview any video before you show it to your students. Many of the video links are from youtube. However, if you do a search for the video you may be able to find them hosted on other sites.
  • NetSmartz is an online curriculum resource that provides in-depth lesson plans and materials to teach students all about digital safety, including cyberbullying. One is titled Terrible tEXt and discusses what to do if you receive a threatening or mean text message. 
  • This video is actually a 50 second commercial from the AdCouncil. It would make for an excellent lesson introduction on the topic. Here is a youtube link to the video: Cyberbullying Prevention Commercial.
  • This video is titled The Cyberbullying Virus. It is less than 5 minutes and does focus more on the "mean girl" syndrome. I would show it to 5th graders or middle school students.
  • This website from the Cyberbullying Research Institute has many different cyberbullying videos on it. Some of the videos are not appropriate for elementary students, but several of them are. One is called Digital Smile Cards and talks about a way to promote positivity in school. Pause and Think and The Common Sense Census are some others. 
  • Planet Nutshell is a company that produces various animation videos. They created quite a few internet safety videos for K-12 students. The videos have suggested grade levels. Click here to look at them. 

PBS Learning Media

There are several videos on this PBS site about cyberbullying, but the most useful resource I found is not a video at all, it is more of an interactive slideshow. It is the first link on the page. You could easily do this as a whole-class activity or have students work on it individually. There are a couple of videos embedded in the slideshow as well as different places for students to type in responses based on what they have learned. I had to sign up for a free account in order to access it. Students can also have an account to save their work. Click here to take a look.

Websites

  • Bullying No Way is an Australian site with many different educational activities and lessons. There are several videos, discussion questions, writing ideas and more. 
  • Kids Against Bullies is a site created by the National Council on Bullying. There are videos, quizzes, discussion questions and activity ideas all about bullying (including cyberbullying)

My Products

I also have several digital literacy products in my store including one on cyberbullying.


This activity pack is geared toward upper elementary and middle school students. What students will learn:
  • What is cyberbullying? 
  • Examples of cyberbullying
  • Differences between cyberbullying and bullying
  • Strategies and tips on how to handle a cyberbullying situation (Take a BREAK)
What is included in this product:
  • 12 slide PowerPoint introduction/lesson
  • Discussion questions 
  • Guidelines on using this lesson with your students
  • 7 cyberbullying posters 
  • 8 cyberbullying situation cards
  • 3 situation worksheets (I chose 3 situations from the cards and put them on a worksheet. Students will need to answer some specific questions about each situation).
  • Recording sheet for the task cards (students can write how they would respond to 
  • each situation)
  • Assessments: 
  • Students write down how to respond to a cyberbully using the acronym BREAK
  • True or false assessment worksheet
In addition to learning what cyberbullying is, students need to learn strategies on how to deal with a cyberbully safely. To help students to remember I came up with the acronym BREAK.



The PowerPoint discusses the BREAK acronym but also goes over vocabulary like bystander and upstander. Students will also learn the differences between bullying and cyberbullying and read examples of cyberbullying.


There are 8 situation task cards that can be used in a variety of ways. You can use them as discussion starters with the whole class or as a writing prompt. You can have students work on the cards as a small group or center activity. In addition to the situation cards, there are also worksheets for students to write out their thoughts on some of the situations presented on the cards as well as two different assessments. 




This cyberbullying PowerPoint is part of my digital literacy bundle along with Digital Citizenship, Evaluating Websites and Plagiarism/Works Cited Activities


I also have an Internet Safety Pack for both lower and upper elementary students. Both of these resources touch on the subject of cyberbullying.


You can find all of these resources in the Digital Safety category of both my TpT and my online store

If you made it to the end of this post then you deserve a freebie! I created a free cyberbullying poster for you to download and display in your classroom or library. Just click the image below to download.

 Cyberbullying poster free download




staying cool in the library