Sunday, 11 January 2015

Imitating Author's Style using shaun tan Images

Using one of the four Images below, students will create their own story beginnings imitating Jennifer Lanthier's writing style.  

Images come from shaun tan's, "Tales from Outer Suburbia". 

Student handout to accompany these images found in Google Classroom.

This experimental writing is to be put in with your Writing Log Duotang.  

You may wish to submit it formally for a mark at the end of the month. ;)

Students used SEASONAL PARTNERS to expand on their ideas and incorporate different perspectives after each step in the writing process from the worksheet above.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Theme Snowball

How can we write our own insightful theme statements?

Think of this theme exercise like a snowball that starts out small and builds to something great and unexpected because of the help from our peers.

What is theme?  and  How do I find theme in a literary work?  Watch this "How to find Theme" to answer these questions.

Follow these simple steps to create an interesting theme statement:

  1. Read the entire text. "Stamp Collector"
  2. Make a list of all the possible topics in the story.
  3. Identify the one subject that speaks loudest to you.
  4. Think, "what does the author want me to learn about this idea?": Write... The author believes____________________________ about the topic.
  5. Cross out the author believes and revise the statement.  (make sure its specific and interesting)          

See our class model below:

Using Pair Share Square strategy students generate theme statements and identify the best of these ideas to find supporting evidence from "The Stamp Collector".

See our class model below:

Each group recorded their theme statements at the top of the page and crumples it up tossing it to another group.  The group's job is to now find evidence from the text to prove the theme.  

Evidence is written word for word using quotation marks.  A brief explanation is also written to demonstrate the connection between the quote and the theme. (known as providing context)  See image above.

When all groups have found 3 quotes and provided context for the quotes, papers are returned to the original group.  Students are given an opportunity to go through information and clarify any confusion in evidence as a group.

Students write an expository paragraph explaining one of themes in the "Stamp Collector"

Here are 2 student exemplars:

Students watched Mrs. Anderson demonstrate her thinking while writing an expository paragraph which explained one theme in Lanthier's story, "The Stamp Collector".  

See the model below:

Students will complete a second draft and self-evaluate on Friday.  If you are not finished your first attempt, complete it before then.

Today students self-evaluated their work using the mini-rubric below:

Identifying the main idea and support in our original paragraph looks like:
As a class we decided this paragraph's main idea was: Imaginative  and the support was: somewhat detailed and quotes were extremely clear.

This means we need to improve on adding detail.  Using RADaR students then discussed where and how to add details.  

Adding details happens typically after using a quote to explain further.  

Think: Are there any questions the reader may have about the situation?  
             Can I include another example from my life that will make this idea clearer?

See the class model below:

Focus on ADD only today.
We also decided to make our beginning more appealing we would add a hook.  Students recorded this question on their RADaR sheets: How can I write a powerful hook? 

We watched "How to write a Hook." and ADDED it to our paragraphs.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Daily Visual Writing Prompts

Find our choice of daily writing prompts at Visual Writing Prompts.  If you miss one from class, see the dates below. : )

Jan 5

9F Jan 5

Jan 6

Jan 7

Jan 8

This week we've been writing about the theme of "The Stamp Collector". Our first visual writing prompt is about devices bringing us closer together or further apart.

Jan 14
We also watched "Low Battery" to help us think about this topic.

Jan 16

Jan 19
Jan 20
Jan 21 - could be taken literally or symbolically

Jan 28

Jan 29

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The Stamp Collector

To begin our journey as young writers we will closely examine a few texts and imitate the author's style in small pieces of writing.

Students will discover what is unique to Jennifer Lanthier's writing style. First we will read to understand the story and its message. Then we will identify powerful words and sentences in the book and adopt them in a piece of our own writing.  

This student handout can be found in Google Classroom.


When identifying the central message, we need to look to the central character and think about a topic that's most important to them in the story.

BOTH characters are concerned with stories.

What does the author want us to learn about stories? (why are they important / what do they do?)

The author believes that Stories make people hopeful and connect us to each other.

Here are some observations about Lanthier's use of words:

Monday, 5 January 2015

Writing Log

Writers Write!

Today we began a new unit!  We are unleashing our thoughts on the page by writing every day using Visual Writing Prompts.

Our goal is to make writing more automatic and build a writers' tool kit.  We'll share our strengths and help each other improve the quality of our writing.  

Student Writing Log Handout can be found in Google Classroom.

Visual Writing prompts:
Jan 5
Jan 6
9F Jan 5
Jan 7

Students will focus on these 
Powerful Questions:

To gain some first hand experience with our unit's essential questions we experimented with graffiti.  Find this discovery handout in Google Classroom.

LA 7 Fantastic Fiction: Flashback and "Knife"

Fantastic Fiction What are the elements of fiction? How do I identify conflict and explain how it is developed and resolved? ...