Today I pounded through 19 writing conferences! We are in the middle of a REALLY nifty writing unit to complement our historical fiction reading unit—it is a writing “portfolio” collection of different types of short writes related to several shared texts. Today I wanted to touch base with each and every student to make sure everyone was on track (3 kids short! RATS!). Today my goal was to make sure that everyone was finished with their two required components:
*A compare/contrast piece where they compared two characters from two different books. Students completed a Venn diagram and then wrote their two paragraphs.
*A “perspectives” piece where students took one key event from one of the texts and wrote about it through the eyes of two different characters.
We did lots of modeling to try to help students really understand this idea of “perspective” or “point of view”, but based on what I saw today . . . they are getting it! It was fun to see them really get into character and convey the emotions related to these key events.
In addition to the two required pieces, the students had a menu of six other writing experiences to choose from and are working on these to accompany the required pieces. Again, these are based on texts we have shared as a class, so the students have common knowledge and common understanding of the characters. These short writes have been a great way to continue to talk about those critical writing skills such as capitalization, punctuation, careful spelling, and so on—and also a way to reinforce some of the more structural things we did earlier this year related to writing with sufficient detail and conveying emotions with words.
What were their menu options? Here are a few. . .
*Create a comic strip to show a key event of one of the texts. Make sure the speech bubbles and visual details help the reader understand the story. (I brought in the Sunday comics and projected them to show how “real” comic strip writers tackle these things.)
*Top Ten List—students created a “Top 10” list for one of the main characters and defended their selections. This one got interesting! Students really needed to dig deep to infer what objects would be important to a character and why.
*”Snapshots”—Students created a series of 3-5 drawings of critical scenes from the text. They then wrote, revised, and edited one to two sentence captions to put underneath each drawing. Final copies will be done on white paper with captions mounted underneath.
You get the picture . . . writing in “different” formats! We have been working on our “workshop” all week with students keeping their planning and drafts in their notebooks and then transferring everything to final copies as they take their projects through the process. On Friday we will finish and have a sharing time! I included a few “snapshots” of what we’ve done—I’ll do a follow up post when we are complete!
I hope you are having a great day. My big sale starts tomorrow at TpT if anyone is interested—I did get my first “Pausing Points” in my store. I’m hoping the other two follow right behind but we shall see! Anyone think this “menu” week of writing is worth writing up? Think anyone would want the menu and all the forms? Sometimes it is so hard to know what would be useful to people. . .
Thanks for stopping by! Have a great night.
UPDATE: The unit is now available in my store for those of you who are interested. Here is the link: