Grade 4-6 Lesson Plan – “Broken Crayons”

Grade 4-6 Lesson Plan - "Broken Crayons"

This is a lesson plan to accompany the children's book, Broken Crayons, by P.E.I. author Patsy Dingwell.

Patsy wrote this story after hearing of Ellen Gillis's experience as a pre-service teacher in Kenya. For two decades, UPEI has partnered with Farmers Helping Farmers (FHF) to allow student teachers from Canada the opportunity to share experiences with students in Kenya.

Since 1980, FHF has been working with farmers in Kenya to improve agriculture techniques, which in turn improves the lives of Kenyan farm families. For more information about Farmers Helping Farmers, please go to

Feel free to use the following lesson plan as you wish.

You may have the book available in your library, or you can access the author reading the book at this link:

We are also very excited to share this video of the book being read by their teachers to two classes of students in Kenya.

Curriculum Outcomes covered:

Social Studies: Culture and Diversity/ Exploring Our World
Language Arts: GCOs 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8
Science: Behavioural and Structural Features of Animals and Plants That
Enable Them to Survive in Their Habitat
Health: Volunteerism

*Please note: curriculum outcomes are for Grade 4 only


This is a true story about a pre-service teacher who went to Kenya, a
country in Africa, to teach grade 3 children for six weeks.

Introduce a map of the world that shows PEI and Kenya.

Discuss or have students write about the following predictions:

-What do you think the weather is like in Kenya? (Does it snow? Is it hotter
than PEI?)
-What kind of plants and trees would you see?
-What kinds of animals would you see?
-How would a Kenyan school be the same/different than our schools on
-Why do you think this story is called Broken Crayons?


Pre-service teacher
Farmers Helping Farmers (see back cover of book/ Google ‘fhf pei’)
Elephants, Giraffes, Lions

After Reading:

-Why do you think the children take their own water to school?
-Why do you think Ms. Gillis thought that she was the one who had a lot to
-Do you think the school children in Kenya are unhappy because they don’t
have electricity, computers or whiteboards?

Additional opportunity:

Contact FHF to request a guest speaker/slide show of a volunteer who has
volunteered or taught in Kenya

Additional resources:

An interview with Patsy Dingwell and Ellen Gillis

Here is a trailer that illustrator Marla Lesage created for the book:

Here is UPEI pre-service teacher Krystal Woodside and her students in 2019