Chapter 10: Leads...Breaking the Ice
Great beginnings? Leads? Grabbers? Hook? All words for the same strategy!
Building a common language is most important when working school wide with any subject. All of these represent what the writer writes first and what the reader reads first. The writer has to capture the reader's attention. I use the term "Grabbers". Our fifth graders use rhetorical questions a lot. It is easy to turn the prompt into a question so it is usually the grabber they gravitate to most. Using Razzle Dazzle, we gathered a complete chart of grabbers for the students to "test drive" in their papers. By introducing the various type of grabbers, students have the option of using the ones that "fit" them as a writer. Since our students are writing 1 1/2 to 2 pages not a chapter book, for us...grabbers seem to work best when I teach writing!
Chapter 11: The End...Getting the Last Word
Endings are hard! Students can be frustrated on just how to end their papers yet they know it must come to a close. Humor is something I've noticed very little in most children's writing but I think it is because it is hard to "think" as a child. As a teacher of writing, you must work on "thinking" like your children so that you understand them through their writing. We must recognize what is humorous to them. They are just children. Currently, I use Razzle Dazzle's Take Away Endings with my students. It has given them "the power of the end". I provide a chart of the various take away ending stems and they choose which ones successfully end their piece. In Narrative, they usually choose two stems to complete to finish their story. It really makes an impressive ending!
Chapter 12: The Small Important Things
Wouldn't our kids just love the story of the "brothers who ate the world"? Yuk and gross all at the same time! RF says that students must "learn to use details to breathe new life" into their writings. I love the idea of choosing "odd details that will stick in the reader's mind". We are always telling our students to let our words make pictures for our readers. Descriptive detail writing does that. When looking at a picture (example: snowman in a wooded field) and asking students what do they see, they'll usually say a snowman and trees out in the grass/field. But when you teach them to zoom in on the picture...look deeper at the details, someone might say the trees are evergreen with thousand of green pine needles, the trees reach the vast blue sky, the snowman was built with spheres of snow and pine branches for arms, etc. The details make the piece more vivid and interesting to read. On page 105, RF talks about inventing details. The example of the clay is really a great example to show how our writing can be shaped and recreated into something wonderful. I call it the MSU strategy! My students know it well. MSU-Make Something Up!