MAKE WRITING VISIBLE

The purpose of this blog for teachers and my mission as a kids’ book author who does frequent visits to schools is to MAKE WRITING VISIBLE. So much of writing is invisible, inside our brains. That’s where we get our ideas. That’s where we figure out what will happen in our stories. That’s where our creativity lives. That’s where our characters come to life. But are there ways to make all those invisible happenings more visible? YES! I believe we can and we must. By making writing more visible, we take the mystery out of the process. We offer young authors help and hope for becoming better authors. So please join me in MAKING WRITING VISIBLE!

STORY ADD-ONS


One way to boost students' writing is to have them do STORY ADD-ONS, that is, add a part to published stories. Picture books are perfect for this purpose. Students should choose a picture book that has a repeating part or pattern, read the story to figure out the pattern, and then add a WHOLE NEW PART to the story--words and illustrations. They can put the add-on on a paper and tuck it into the published book so that students can share and read each other's add-ons.

In the video above--perfect for sharing with students in Gr. 3-5--I give examples of how to do Story Add-ons for three picture books: I'M BORED, PIGS IN THE MUD, and WILD CHILD. Students should try to make their add-ons fit in with the other scenes in the story, paying close attention to HOW the author told her/his story.

See the hand-out below on Story Add-Ons.

For younger students, if this activity is too difficult for them to do solo, then have them work in small groups or do the activity as a whole class.

By adding parts to published picture books, students will be looking more closely at how other authors tell their stories and will tune into how patterns are used in stories--and then be more ready to use patterns in their own stories.

HANDOUT:
Story Add-Ons Handout

LINKS:
I'm Bored by Michael Ian Black & Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Pigs in the Mud in the Middle of the Rud by Lynn Plourde & John Schoenherr
Wild Child by Lynn Plourde & Greg Couch

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Playing with Holiday Poetry

 

During December when there are so many holidays (i.e. Hanukkah, Kwanza, winter solstice, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve)--or any other time of the year--it's fun to have students play with HOLIDAY POETRY. In the video above (please share with students), I model a holiday poetry lesson step by step with examples. For younger students, you may do this lesson as a group while older students can work on the lesson independently.

First, READ HOLIDAY POEMS BY OTHERS (If we want our students to try a new kind of writing, it ALWAYS helps to have them READ the target kind of writing first).

Second, ANALYZE POEMS BY OTHERS. What poetic techniques did the author use effectively in the poem? Does the poem rhyme? Use alliteration? What about onomatopoeia? etc. Students may write their observation on a copy of a poem using colored pens/pencils or by using track changes on a Word document to add comments (their observations).

Third, students should PLAY WITH THEIR OWN HOLIDAY POEMS. Each should choose a holiday, and then brainstorm words related to that holiday. They can then polish the words--adding poetic devices/tricks to them (i.e. repetition, alliteration, assonance).

EACH STEP of this poetry lesson is included in this HANDOUT (which also includes two poems for students to analyze):
Playing with Holiday Poetry HANDOUT

In the COMMENTS section below, please share the titles of any holiday poems or poetry collections for other teachers to use with their students. Thank you!

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