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.