Grade 7-8 Lesson Plan – “Broken Crayons”

Grade 7-8 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' 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.

For the past 40 years, 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 the book being read to Kenyan students by two teachers at one of our twinned schools in Meru county. This was filmed in January 2021.

This lesson plan will work to complete these ELA outcomes:

GCO4. Select, read, and view with understanding a range of literature, information, media, and visual texts.
GCO6. Respond personally to a range of texts.

Warm-up questions:

  1. Where is Kenya? ( A map would be helpful to show locations and distances between Canada and Kenya)
  2. What do you think may be different between Canadian and Kenyan schools?
  3. How would you react to living in a different country for 3 months?
  4. How can an illustrator help an author tell their story?
  5. After introducing the title, have students predict the plot of the story.


(If using the YouTube link, it may be helpful to watch it twice.)

“Broken Crayons” as read by the author, Patsy Dingwell.

Writing Prompts:

-How did the illustrator help the author tell their story?
-What similarities did you see between the two classrooms? What were some differences?
-do you think was the author’s purpose when writing this story?

Viewing Part 2

“The Story Behind The Story of Broken Crayons

An interview with Patsy Dingwell and Ellen Gillis

Writing Prompts

-Why is storytelling important?
-How can a story connect audiences?
-Think of a book that has connected people from different places. What is the name of this book?
-Why do you think this book is popular in multiple countries?

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

Assessment Options:

-Use students’ response journals and classroom discussions to monitor their reading and viewing comprehension.
-Engage students in a summarizing activity after they have read a text.

Optional Additional Opportunities

-Students can write a letter to a student in Kenya introducing themselves and their daily lives/interests. If you wish, these letters can be sent to Kenya through Farmers Helping Farmers.

(Chrome books required)

Students choose a blog post from
and make a connection with the author's story.

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

Additional opportunity:

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