Saturday, December 7, 2013

The December writing lesson has arrived. Courtesy of the Harrisons.

I hope you'll be inspired by photos of a new monthly writer's notebook activity we've been doing:  I call these assigned notebook tasks "Tributes to Literature."  Once a month, I select a story (or poem or novel) that we've read together, and we all create a one-page tribute to that piece of literature in our notebooks, creating a rough draft first, then copying it as neatly as possible into our notebooks as a "second and final draft."  For the last two of these with my 8th graders, I taught a skill from the writing trait known as IDEA DEVELOPMENT with each tribute assignment:
  • For their "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" page, they had to use their five or six favorite descriptive passages (based on their analysis of details and vocabulary choices) and create an image that could use Ambrose Bierce's words as part of the "word art."
  • For their tributes to the story of "Oedipus," they had to look back through their last year's writer's notebook, then steal an idea from themselves to creatively re-tell the story in a unique way.  Some used "Top ten lists" or "Storyboard summaries, or "Recipe metaphors," but all students had to show me the page from their previous notebook that inspired a unique tribute to the story.  We borrowed and tweaked ideas from ourselves for this last one, and the kids had fun mining old notebooks for ideas.
  • More to come.  Soon, I will have finalized "Animal Farm" tributes from my sixth graders and "Chains" tributes from my seventh graders.
I'll have December's "This I Believe" personal essays link uploaded soon...if I can't access tomorrow, I will contact the management.  Thanks for your patience.
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