A Chapter Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix
Focus Trait: CONVENTIONS Support Trait: WORD CHOICE

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Student Writing Samples from this Lesson

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Teacher's Guide:

Inventing a New Word

and having two characters talk about the invention

This lesson was built for WritingFix after being proposed by NNWP Teacher Consultant
Christy Aker-Minetto
during a workshop for teachers.

The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this on-line lesson is the chapter book Frindle by Andrew Clements. Before writing, students should listen to and discuss the writing style of this book's author, especially from chapter 6 of the book.

To our loyal WritingFix users: Please use this link if purchasing Frindle 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):  Get a classroom copy of Frindle by Andrew Clements.  Read aloud chapter 6, which reveals how Nick changes the word for pen to frindle.  Discuss how the chapter introduces a new word for a common object through its two characters talking.  Discuss how frindle doesn’t mean anything, until Nick gives it meaning. Ask your students how they would go about inventing a new word and checking to see that what they invented really is a new word.

After reading, copy several lines of dialogue from chapter 6 on the board or on the overhead.  Have students review basic dialogue punctuation rules.  Challenge them to write original lines of dialogue, using the punctuation patterns of the examples from Frindle you share on the board.

Tell your students they will be writing a short scene today where two characters talk about a new word that has been invented. One character in the story will unveil the new word to the other.  Have your students use the interactive choice game below to decide what object to rename with an odd word. 


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 students should certainly talk about the dialogue punctuation, but you might prompt them to talk about each model's word choice 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 button game on the Student Instruction Page might inspire your students to invent the new word that their scenes will be about.  If your students need a dialogue punctuation review before they create their scenes, you might want to share WritingFix's Dialogue Punctuation Rule Sheet.

This lesson also comes with a pre-writing and pre-thinking worksheet that was designed by Christy Aker-Minetto.  Click below to open and print it for your students.

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.


Learn more about author Andrew Clements by clicking here.


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