Friday, November 18, 2011

Writing Adventures in Storybook-Land

Mondays: 12:30pm
Ages 7-9
Kids should LOVE writing!!  I have gathered a marvelous set of children’s storybooks ABOUT WRITING that will spark you child’s imagination and inspire wonderful and thoughtful writing.  This is a class that will delight even the most reluctant writers.  They will laugh and have fun reading these clever picture books in class and the books will help inspire their own creative writing.   The earlier students become comfortable writing the better!  This class is designed to give young students a chance to participate in some really fun, hands-on, creative, expository and descriptive writing tasks, while serving as a captive audience for one another.  Kids will love these story books, but I guarantee their favorite part of the class will be reading aloud what they’ve written and enjoying the writing of their classmates.  These students will be PROUD of their writing and eager to share!   I’ve seen it again and again – there’s nothing so encouraging to young emergent writers as seeing that they’ve entertained others with their creations!  I imagine this will be a noisy, boisterous and fun class, as we learn how to get our ideas about those subjects down on paper.  This course will introduce our youngest students to strong writing skills and stretch their creativity in a fun and engaging way.  Each class will begin with an inspiring picture-book about writing, followed by a discussion of the book to spark their own creative ideas and then writing sessions and a chance to share their writing with their classmates.  Because students will be sharing their writing, they’ll have an opportunity to work together on revision skills.  Here is the schedule for this semester:

Week 1:  WhatDo Authors Do? (By Eileen Christelow) – This wonderful children’s book explains the writing process step by step.  We’ll enjoy the book together and write our own stories using each of the steps described in the book.  Focus:  The Writing Process (Narrative Writing)

Week 2:  AuntIsabel Tells A Good One (By Kate Duke) – Here we’ll focus on character and detail as we read about how Penelope, a young mouse, and her Aunt Isabel work out all the elements of a clever story using lots of details.  For example, Aunt Isabel adds villains as she explains to Penelope that stories must have problems to be resolved.  As a class we’ll discuss what elements make a good story and for our writing project students will write a story with a very memorable character.  Focus:  Details (Narrative Writing)

Week 3:  I’min Charge of Celebrations (By Byrd Baylor) – This joyous celebration of the earth will help show students how to find ideas for writing in everyday life.  We’ll come up with our own ideas for imaginative holidays and write down descriptions of how and why they should be celebrated.  Focus:  Exploring Ideas (Expository Writing)

Week 4: If You Were a Writer (By Joan Lowery Nixon) Writers think a lot about words – words that make pictures and show what is happening.  They also play with ideas asking “what if” about the things, people and events that surround them every day.  They invent a character to fit their ideas and give that character a problem to solve.  This story about a little girl “figuring out” how to write stories will inspire our own.   Focus:  Writing Process (Narrative Writing)

Week 5: I Wanna Iguana (By Karen Kaufman Orloff) – In this story, young Alex gives his mother lots of reasons why he should have an iguana for a pet.  It also shows students how to organize ideas to make them persuasive.  Students will each write a persuasive essay about something they want.  Focus:  Organization (Persuasive Writing)

Week 6:  Voices (By Anthony Brown) – This is a wonderful story for teaching young students about “voice.”  A day at the park told from different perspectives allows students to understand how to create individual characters and tap into their own individual style.  We’ll explore how to find our own “voice,” discovery new “voices” and match “voice” to purpose.  Focus:  Voice (Creative Writing)    

Week 7:  TheBest Story (By Eileen Spinelli) – When a young girl enters a writing contest, she gets all kinds of writing advice:  “The best stories have lots of action… plenty of humor… they make people cry… or have lots of romance.”  But finally her mother tells her “the best story is one that comes from the heart.”  The girl learns to write about her own experiences and we will too as we take an event that really happened in our lives and make it into a great story.  Focus:  Generating Ideas (Narrative Writing)

Week 8:  Show;Don’t Tell! (By Josephine Nobisso) – This beautifully illustrated book will take students on a romp through different ways of using the five senses to bring descriptions alive.  The author demonstrates how to use not only adjectives and nouns to liven up writing, but also metaphor and simile.  Focus:  The 5 Senses (Descriptive Writing)

Week 9:  YouHave to Write (By Janet S. Wong)– This delightful book will encourage kids to mine their own experiences for writing ideas.  We’ll take incidents from our own lives and create “stories of us.”   Focus:  Voice/Invention (Creative Writing)

Week 10:  Max’sWords (By Kate Banks) – The main character in this wonderful story book has a special collection.  It’s not a stamp collection or a coin collection; it’s a word collection.  Words can be shared and (best of all) made into stories.  We’ll create our own word collections and use them to write stories.  Focus:  Word Choice (Creative Writing)

Week 11: Diary of a Worm (By Doreen Cronin) – This is the hilarious story of a worm who keeps a diary of daily events.  We’ll play with perspective for this project and imagine ourselves as someone or something else and keep a diary from that point of view (maybe a pet, a parent or a sibling J)  Focus:  Point of View (Creative Writing)

Week 12:  ThePlot Chickens (By Mary Jane and Herm Auch) – As Henrietta Chicken begins to type her story (hunt and peck system, of course) students will learn the seven cardinal rules of creating a story from finding a main character to developing a plot to making your story come alive by using all five senses.  We’ll write our own stories following her advice.  Focus:  Plot, Details (Narrative Writing)

Week 13:  NothingEver Happens on 90th Street (By Ronni Schotter) - The main character in this inspiring picture book is searching for something to write about as passing residents share words of wisdom: watch carefully, don't neglect details, use words in new ways, stretch the truth if necessary, make something happen.  She follows their advice and so will we as take on a similar writing task.  Focus:  Invention & Word Choice (Descriptive/Narrative Writing)

Week 14:  Portfolio Preparation.  Today we’ll celebrate our last day of class by assembling and artistically illustrating our semester portfolios.  Students will treasure their collection of stories and other writings from our class and will be eager to share and show them off at our End of Semester show.

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