Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Story Number 1

Here is the idea I had for the first story I had each student write in preparation for our comic unit.

I started the class by reading them a story Dear Mrs La Rue by Mark Teague 
(If you don't have a copy of the book but have a projector and access to Youtube you are in luck)

We took time to discuss the pages and talk about if obedience school was really as awful as the dog was making it out to be.
I'm glad you asked.

Their first story was on perspective.

I showed them some cartoons

that we discussed 
and then we came up with a definition of perspective.

Then I gave them a writing prompt:
Their task was to write one paragraph that talked about what the pencil sharpener in our room went through (this is kind of funny now because the boys have been putting way too short of pencils in there lately and breaking it - well I've only fixed it once but the pencil sharpener has been the water cooler of our classroom for a while for the boys so who knows how many times it has actually been broken).
Does it like sharpening pencils, is it painful for it, frustrating?

They wrote them and finished them for homework and then we shared them the next day.

Then I gave them their assignment.
I gave them the choice of 6 objects that most of them likely use every day 
(things like pencils, chairs, shoes, etc)
They were to write a "day in the life of a ______" story

I can't recall how long I told them to make it... one page (both sides) I believe.
Which apparently some thought was way too long.
So they challenged me... they told me I should try to write a story that long.
Well, in the words of Barney Stinson
 "Challenge Accepted"
I even let them pick my topic.... they choose a pickle
I finished my story by the end of class and basically got a standing ovation (if I can find it - it may be saved on my computer at work) I'll post it because it is kind of good.
My students were shocked I could write that much in one class.  Then remembered I was their ELA teacher... of course I can write that much in one class.

I gave them the class to finish writing their story and they were supposed to do it for homework after that (naturally, it is over a month later and I'm still waiting for some to be handed in) so that we could move on to some peer and self editing.
I don't recall where I found a peer and self editing checklist but I found one somewhere and assumed my students had the ability to peer and self edit some simple stories.  So we went through the checklist together and off they went to do some editing.

Naturally, I was wrong, some did not have the ability to self or peer edit.
Did I catch on to this before they started their 2nd story?

Anywho, I let them type out their good copies and then they were required to hand in their rough drafts along with their good copies so I could see how their editing went (anyone who didn't hand it in was losing 10 marks right off the hop - naturally many handed it in without a rough copy - because they never wrote one!)

In total this lesson probably should have used up about 3 classes (our ELA classes are just over an hour long).  One for reading the book and writing about the pencil sharpener, another for writing their rough draft, and a third for editing (my students get extra time in the computer lab with another teacher so I never bring them for actual ELA but if you want your students to type out their story expect that to take AT LEAST one other class).

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