Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Classroom update - Mrs. Belko

Michael Ferrari, author of Born to Fly, conducted writing workshops with students on Friday, April 15th.  Mr. Ferrari discussed how to develop main characters and minor characters, plots and subplots.  Mr. Ferrari will join us again at our Young Author's night celebration on Thursday, May 19th.  

Our writing workshops are in full swing.  Recently the 5th-7th grade students have participated in a variety of free-writing/brainstorming sessions in class.  First, they were assigned the task of observing a unknown character to help develop their observation skills.  Students were also given a sensory image sheet.  This exercise was intended to help students visualize a scene they could incorporate into their stories. In class we have discussed the importance of developing characters and determining what the main character wants.   I have provided the students with several different methods (free-writing, mapping, free-thinking) to assist the students in framing their stories.  Students were also given story maps to plot out their story events. This serves as rough outline for their story.  A portion of each period is devoted to writing, discussing the craft of writing, listening to examples of exemplary writing, and participating in critique groups.

I have given students the option of writing a picture story book or a longer work (novella).  Students who chose the picture book are expected to have illustrations to accompany their books.  These illustrations should help to tell the story.  There should be a minimum of ten spreads.  This includes pictures and writing.  They are also required to illustrate a book cover.  Longer pieces of writing must have a book cover and two illustrations.  

"The Courageous Spirit" is the theme this year.  Attached below you can find a copy of the writing rubrics and a more detailed description of the theme.

http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson1022/GradingRubric.pdf

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