A Chapter Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix

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Lesson & 6-Trait Overview

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Teacher's Guide:

Short Adventure Stories

helping students organize an adventurous and detailed tale

This on-line lesson is dedicated to the memory of Michael Borilla, who was the fifth grade teacher of WritingFix's webmaster. Decades ago, Mr. Borilla hosted a short adventure story contest for his students (including our webmaster), which you can read more about by clicking here.

The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this on-line lesson is any of the Choose Your Own Adventure books by R. A. Montogomery. Before writing, students should listen to excerpts from and discuss the structure of these popular books.

To our loyal WritingFix users: Please use this link if purchasing The Abominable Snowman from Amazon.com, and help keep WritingFix free and on-line. We thank you!

A note for teachers : These lessons are posted so that you may borrow ideas from them, but our intention in providing this resource is not to give teachers a word-for-word script to follow. Please, use this lesson's big ideas but adapt everything else. And adapt it recklessly; that's how you become an authentic writing teacher.

Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources :

Step one (sharing the published model):  The entire Choose Your Own Adventure Series of books (which originated in the early 1980's) were unique in that they put the reader in control.  Choices could be made at the end of chapters, and based on their choices, readers were directed to the next chapter's start page. This was hypertext, before hypertext was a term on the Internet.  Young readers loved these books, and they still do.  Most of the CYOA Series are still being published.

You actually don't need to have a copy of one of R. A. Montgomery's Choose Your Own Adventure Series to teach this writing lesson, but talking about the series itself will start an interesting discussion among your students, and having an actual book to share and look at will get them even more excited about the writing task at hand.

Start by asking your students, "Who ever read any of the Choose Your Own Adventure books?"  Even if students haven't read one, they generally understand the format of the books.  Talk about what they know and remember of them.  If you do have a copy of one, show it off, and encourage your students to start reading them.

Ask your students to generate a list of "elements of a good adventure story," by themselves or in small groups.  Share and then create a classroom list.  Try to highlight or encourage the following two elements on the classroom list: 1) an interesting adventurer; and 2) strong details that center around interesting actions.

Step two (introducing student models of writing):  In small groups, have your students read and respond to any or all of the student models that come with this lesson.  The groups will certainly talk about the organization, since that's the focus of this lesson, but you might prompt your students to talk about each model's sentence fluency as well.

WritingFix Safely Publishes Students from Around the World! In 2008, we first began accepting students samples from teachers anywhere who use this lesson. Hundreds of new published students now go up at our site annually!

We're currently looking for student samples for other grade levels for this lesson!  Help us obtain some from your students, and we'll send you a free resource for your classroom!  Visit this lesson's student samples page for details.

Step three (thinking and pre-writing): The interactive choices on the student instruction page will inspire your students to think of ideas for their adventures, if they have any trouble coming up with an original idea

This lesson comes with a pre-writing worksheet for students to use as they plan out their adventure stories. Xerox one for each student, and make an overhead of one for you. On the overhead, model how you would pre-think before writing, if you were writing an adventure story using this prompt.  After they pre-write their ideas out on the two-page graphic organizer, you can use the two-page drafting worksheet as a place for them to write out their stories using actual paragraphs.  Encourage revision (especially for organization and sentence fluency) as they transfer their pre-write ideas to the rough draft sheet.

Share Original Graphic Organizers (for Pre-Writing)
from Your Teaching Toolbox.

We share graphic organizers with our peers, we find them in books, and we think we should also be able to find tried-and-true ones online at WritingFix. This year, if you create an original graphic organizer (or adapt one of ours) when you teach this page's lesson, and post it, we might just end up publishing it directly here at WritingFix, and we will post it here, giving you full credit.

  • Original graphic organizers for specific lessons, like this one, can be submitted as an attachment at this link. Look for the "Reply to this Box" beneath the post. To be able to post, you will need to be a member of our free Writing Lesson of the Month Network.

Step four (revising with specific trait language):   To promote response and revision to rough draft writing, attach WritingFix's Revision and Response Post-it® Note-sized templates to your students' drafts.  Make sure the students rank their use of the trait-specific skills on the Post-it® Note-sized templates, which means they'll only have one "1" and one "5."   Have them commit to ideas for revision based on their Post-It rankings.  For more ideas on WritingFix's Revision & Response Post-it® Note-sized templates, click here.

Share Original Revision Techniques or
Adaptations from Your Toolbox.

Inspired by Barry Lane's Reviser's Toolbox, the WritingFix website encourages its teacher users to adapt our lessons, especially the tools of revision we have posted here. If you create an original revision tool (or adapt one of ours) when you teach this page's lesson, and post it, we might just end up publishing it directly here at WritingFix, and we will post it here, giving you full credit.

  • Original revision ideas from teacher users of WritingFix can be submitted through copy/paste or as an attachment at this link. Look for the "Reply to this Box" beneath the post. To be able to post, you will need to be a member of our free Writing Lesson of the Month Network.

Step five (editing for conventions):  After students apply their revision ideas to their drafts and re-write neatly, require them to find an editor.   If you've established a "Community of Editors" among your students, have each student exchange his/her paper with multiple peers.  With yellow high-lighters in hand, each peer reads for and highlights suspected errors for just one item from the Editing Post-it.  The "Community of Editors" idea is just one of dozens and dozens of inspiring ideas that is talked about in detail in the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Workbook for Teachers.

Step six (publishing for the portfolio):  The goal of most lessons posted at WritingFix is that students end up with a piece of writing they like, and that their writing was taken through all steps of the writing process. After revising, invite your students to come back to this piece once more during an upcoming writer's workshop block.  The writing started with this lesson might become even more polished for final placement in the portfolio, or the big ideas being written about here might transform into a completely different piece of writing. Most likely, your students will enjoy creating an illustration for this writing as they ready to place final drafts in their portfolios.

Interested in publishing student work on-line? You might earn a free classroom resource from the NNWP! We invite teachers to teach this lesson completely, then share up to three of their students' best revised and edited samples at our ning's Publish Student Writers group.

To submit student samples for this page's lesson, click here. You won't be able to post unless you are a verified member of this site's Writing Lesson of the Month ning.


Visit the Choose Your Own Adventure Website by clicking here!

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