Our First Story and Show, Don’t Tell

Oh, my! What a week.  Week 4 with my third grade friends was great.  Great reading lessons, writing lessons, and picture day.

In writing news, we wrote our first story this week!  Yeehaw!  We have been focusing on choosing small moments.  This week we wrote action/reaction plans.  You know how your kids want to write stories that sound like this: We did this and then we did this and then we did this and then we did . . . .

And then you want to stab yourself in the eye.

Anyway, that's how we plan.  I tell the kids that those make terrible stories, but our brains really like to think this way when we're telling a story.  So the first day, we make plans where we bulleted out actions and skipped four or five lines between each action.

The next day, we added in the part that makes a story good.  The thoughts and feelings.  We labeled each one in our plan with a T and an F.  When teaching, I bounce back and forth referring to this as the action/reaction and external/internal story.  Whenevery I say action or external, I hold my hand out.  Whenever I say reaction or internal, I put one hand on my brain and the other on my heart.  

Here's how my plan looked at the end of day 2.  And no, I don't always write sad stories, but I think it really helps them to see that all stories don't have to be hunky dory.  These kids are deeper than we give them credit for.

Here are some copies of plans.  I kept working with everyone until they were "there".  It's a little cookie cutter, but for now it makes the point that you must have thoughts and feelings in a story for it to be worth writing.  Now on to life's little reality: I have to get grades y'all.  So their grade was based on how much coaching it took to get to a solid plan. 

Their first stories turned out pretty great for the beginning of third grade!  This week we'll work on showing not telling feelings.  Here's a page I'm going to use.  You can download it here.

I'm thinking I'll put them together to make a class book.  After that, I really want to do this lesson I found on Miss Radka's Rhapsody.

Hopefully, all this will turn out as great as it sounds in my head.


  1. You just keep on writing your blog like you do! That is why we all read it and love it! :)
    Third Grade All Stars

  2. Oh I'm so sorry you got that email. That was not nice at all. My friend blogs, and she got a very mean email a month or so ago. If people don't like what they see, they shouldn't read it. I, for one, enjoy reading. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us all!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  3. Yikes! I love your blog AND the writing. I think most of your readers realize that writing voices are changing the more we move online and have increasingly casual interactions with each other. Writing is not always the formality it once was. Your tone makes me feel more like I'm visiting with a teacher friend than reading a text book, which I know most prefer. Plus, you’re obviously a competent teacher, which makes me think that if you were turning in a dissertation, you would know not to use sentence fragments, am I right? :) Some people need to lighten up. Keep up the awesome posts! Cheers!

    Another Day in the Silver Mines

    *Sorry I posted this comment twice! It went all wonky the first time!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Love that writing lesson! I may steal it :) This is my first year, and teaching writing is something I'm really struggling with. But this is one lesson that I think will really help improve my kids' writing. Thanks!


  6. I think this person should just get over herself! What a snotty comment! Obviously she never heard of, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Crikes imagine if all of us teachers started dissecting the newspapers and magazines! We'd all have our red pens out and not notice the content at all. You just keep writing like you do, I love your blog!
    Mrs Poultney's Ponderings

  7. Hey Megan - you know I'm a fan. I LOVE your blog and everything you write. A friend actually said that to me about my blog, he wanted to "fix" some of the wording and I love him and know he was only trying to help, but I explained that my blog is one of the only places where I can be free to just express myself and I don't care so much if it's not perfect. Keep on blogging Baby...

  8. Thanks for all of your kind words ladies!!!!! This is what the blogging world is really about.


  9. Ouch! That was really harsh. Who deputized her as the grammar police?

  10. Wow! I am still constantly amazed at how brazen some people are! I can't believe she felt the need to leave a snarky remark like that! You just keep writing the way you do!! :o)

    A is for Apple B is for Blog

  11. I love your writing activities! They look great! Your blog is wonderful...just keep on keepin' on! :)


  12. seriously, I love the way you write!!! I agree with your advice, "if you don't have something nice to say - JUST DON'T SAY IT!!"

  13. I love that you write like you talk. It makes me feel like I'm sitting down with a friend chatting about all the fun, creative and crazy things that go on in our classrooms. It's kinda like when a good friend drops in to say hi, but doesn't judge you because your house isn't picked up. Don't change a thing. I'd be a nervous wreck to drop in and read if all of your writing was spic and span presentable, because, ummmm, yeah, my writing could always use a little spring cleaning. I like it that way. Nice and relaxed, and definitely the real me. I think I'll go sit on my patio, drop in to stalk a few blogs, and watch the breeze sway my flowers. Drop in unannounced anytime. My posts will definitely need to be cleaned up a bit, but what's a little clutter amount bloggie friends? :)


    Griffith’s 3rd Grade Garden

  14. Your Blog Rocks :) Keep on keeping on!

  15. Aww I love how you did that! We're doing personal narratives this week and I'm trying to figure out HOW to get them to that point haha

    Anisa @ Creative Undertakings

  16. WOW! I can't believe someone actually sent an email like that. I'm glad you didn't let it bother you because I love your writing style.

    Hooty's Homeroom