Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chapter 7: Conflict...Here Comes Trouble
RF says,"In a good story something happens." I say, "Let it happen". I love this chapter. The friction/heat example is a real world example that you can demonstrate. I enjoy teaching students about Person against Person (PAP), Person against Nature (PAN) and Person against Self (PAS). Many of Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad stories fit these types of conflicts. I agree with RF that the different kinds of conflict are not always "distinct"---often they are mixed together. When studying types of conflict, there are other kinds but these three presented by RF are "doable" for kids. Often students want to tell the "exciting" part (which I label the DURING) at the beginning of their piece. I love the quote on p. 56 by Charles Dickens: "Make them laugh, make them weep, but above all make them wait". We must help students be powerful in their "During" planning!

Chapter 8: Setting...The Missing Ingredient
Setting...the place! Setting helps define characters....
If your setting is camping at night, your character could be a fisherman that enjoys campfires, the night sky and the sounds of animals in the woods. I enjoy using picture books and looking at the settings. I teach students to write about places they know and to give their places creative names like "Cox Park", "Dunston Drive", "Jones Junction", "Peters Park", etc. The ADAW measures Time Frame which includes when and where.

Chapter 9: It's About Time
When writing the "before" in the Narrative, the students always want to write about everything... the whole story. I love the idea on p.70 of "cutting". I usually tell the students to think about what happened 5 or 10 minutes before the "During" when they plan their Before paragraph. They only have one paragraph and they need to focus on specifically what the story is about in the "Before". I used the example on p. 71 about Disney World with a 5th grade class today. It seemed to help clarify what truly needs to be in the "Before" paragraph.

8 comments:

Mrs. Dunston said...

Chapter 9 stuck out in my mind because my students tend to want to list every single thing that happens in their stories. It comes out as a list instead of writing that flows. Thay have a difficult time pulling out one or two key evernts to elaborate on. Their tornado writings had a lot of this. "First, we ... And then, we... Then, we..., etc." I want to focus on this in our next writing assignment.

Vickie Cox said...

Occasionally you have to outlaw some words: When, Then, And... These are words that do not need to begin sentences.

Miss Taylor's 3rd Grade said...

The strategies and tips I'm learning from this book are amazing. I wish I would have read it in high school or the beginning of college. Some of my favorite parts of the book include Fletcher's use of students' writing samples. For example, the girl that wrote about her father's smoking improved her story dramatically. Also, I agree with the wonderful quotes! Now, I want to create an interesting setting for a story. I may have to just pull that book out when it comes time to teach writing in the classroom too. Everything is just worded so perfectly. One of my next goals is sticking to an appropriate time frame.

Mrs. Peters' Third Grade Blog said...

I will have to use this book as a resource in the beginning next year to teach my students about writing. I never know how to make my children understand that the problem is what usally makes a good story.So chapter 7 will be a great tool in helping me with this challenge. Also, I have never put a lot into the setting, but I love how chapter 8 sets this up for you and gives great tools and strategies to help students remember to give the setting some attention. Chapter nine has been a big eye opener!! I have to slow myself down and my students. I am loving this book:)

Vickie Cox said...

I am excited that you are enjoying this book. You are adding "tools" to your Writing Toolbox! You are growing as a writer, too. I have used this book with children. It is great to read to students when teaching the various ideas.

Shannon Hill said...

I am adding tools to my toolbox. I love the suggestions and strategies. I will probably have to read this book again over the summer. I believe chapter 8 stood out more to me. I created an anchor with "when". I used the activity you showed us (Picture book walk) We took a walk through picture books looking for when and where then we created an anchor chart. Then the students created their own. That is what we charted. I wanted it to be their ideas. They now can refer back to these charts.
I also had the same problem with my kids wanting to give away everything at the beginning especially at the before. I love using the fireworks this really helps the kids focus on what they are doing.

aljones said...

YES! All of the students want to give away the farm right at the beginning. I encourage them to slow down and build it up but most of the time the building up is giving everything away. I really would like for my next project piece to focus more on helping them set the stage. I also agree with Kelley, as I read my students piece on the Tornado I notice alot of listing.. and then and then and then! I know they write that way because that is how they talk. I cannot blame them for that, I am guilty of the same thing. I have honestly been told by a professor in college that she enjoyed reading my work purely because she felt as if we were having a conversation. Not exactly the compliment I was looking for since I was trying hard to sound professional.

Vickie Cox said...

Shannon: I think re-reading the book will give you even more insight in writing. When we re-read we usually find something that we missed. I love that you created anchor charts with your students on beginnings.

Anna: Telling it all at the beginning is a natural process for students. They want to tell the exciting parts first. They don't realize that once they "give away the farm" that the story is basically over for the reader. That is why the plan helps to sort and space their ideas. The plan helps slow down time.