1. Before creating the mini-book, make sure your students know how to build sentences using can or can't.
2. Choose one animal, for example the cat, and ask students to tell you things that cats can or can't do. Try to give positive feedback to each student for his effort and repeat the sentence if it is right. This strategy will expose students to more correct grammar and right sentences. Here is an example of a possible interaction in the classroom.
Teacher: What can cats do?
Child 1: Cats can climb trees.
Teacher: Good job! Cats can climb trees.
If one student does not use proper grammar but he or she is close and uses good vocabulary (actions verbs), praise him for his effort and repeat the sentence using the correct form and putting emphases on the right way to say it.
Teacher: What can't cats do?
Child 2: Cats can't not drive.
Teacher: Good try! Cats caaan't drive.
If one student wants to participate but he or she isn't able to build one sentence, help him or her using the whiteboard as support.
When learning new grammar, it is important to praise students for their effort. Grammar can be tough for them and letting them know that participation is an essential part of their learning can make a difference on student's motivation and, of course, on the results.
Once students have the hang of how to use can and can't, the written part starts.
3. Students will choose one animal they like.
4. Next they will write sentences, one on each page, describing what that particular animal can or can't do. They will complement those sentences drawing a picture that will represent them.
5. Since my students are not able to spell many words, I wrote on the whiteboard those verbs they may need to carry out the activity. Some of these action verbs include: run, jump, skate, drive, fly, climb... I also wrote the name of some animals on the board. If you have a poster with this vocabulary as well as animals' names on it, you will save some time and you won't get crazy when your students keep you asking how to spell words.
7. Once students have finished, ask them to read their book to each other.
8. You can keep the books in the classroom library so every student has the opportunity to read other classmate's work or you can let them take it home and read it to their family (reading practice).
Below is an example of a student's work (unicorns are allowed too!):