A Chapter Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix

Navigating WritingFix:

Return to the WritingFix Homepage

Return to the Chapter Book Lessons Page

Return to the Idea Development Homepage


Navigating this lesson:

Lesson & 6-Trait Overview

Student Instructions

Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources

Student Writing Samples from this Lesson


Join our on-line WritingFix community:

Students: Publish your writing to this prompt on-line

Teachers: Discuss how you used this lesson on-line


This Lesson's Title:


listening while sketching, then writing for sketches

This lesson was built for WritingFix after being proposed by Nevada teacher Ruby Forte at an AT&T-sponsored in-service class for teachers.

The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this on-line lesson is the chapter book The Sisters Grimm, Book 2: The Unusual Suspects by Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson. Before writing, students should listen to and discuss the writing style of this book's author, especially from chapters 2, 3, and 4 of the book.

Check out The Unusual Suspects (The Sisters Grimm, Book 2) at Amazon.com.

If you are a Washoe County teacher, click here to search for this book at the county library.

Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources :

Step one (sharing the published model):  Explain to students that the book The Sisters Grimm, Book 2: The Unusual Suspects by Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson is about two sisters who are descendants of the Brothers Grimm.  Their parents have been kidnapped and they are put into foster care.  They continually run away from their foster parents because they are treated badly.  Finally, the two girls are placed with their Granny Relda, who lives in the town of Ferryport Landing.  All of Fairy Tale's Everafters are stuck in this town due to a magic barrier.  Humans can come and go as they please, but many humans have chosen to make their home here unaware of their neighbor’s true identities.

As you read these three scenes have the students sketch the picture they imagined.  Don’t be afraid to re-read the passage to the students while they are sketching.

  1. Read chapter 2 (page 25 of our copy), the last paragraph.  Read this entire paragraph.  Explain that this scene takes place in Puck’s room.  Puck is an Everafter who lives in Granny Relda’s home.  His room was built with magic and no one has ever been inside of his room.
  2. Read chapter 3, start with the last paragraph (on page 64 of our copy) and read to the bottom of page 65.  Explain that Sabrina and Daphne have just completed their first day of school.  Daphne has just had the best day of her life; her teacher is Snow White, and they learned about George Washington.  Unlike Daphne, Sabrina has had a horrible day and her teacher is very mean.  Daphne peers into Sabrina’s classroom and this paragraph is about what she saw.
  3. Read chapter 4, (starting on our page 95), the third paragraph.  Read to the bottom of 95.  Explain that with all of his hatred to the Grimm family, Mayor Charming (A.K.A. Prince Charming) has asked the Grimms to help investigate and find out who is responsible for the murder of Sabrina’s teacher, Mr. Grumpner.  This particular scene takes place at the school after school hours.  Sabrina was wearing infrared goggles when they were snatched off of her head.

When students are finished with their sketches, have them share them in their group.  Discuss the words they heard that inspired elements in their sketches.

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 idea development , since that's the focus of this lesson, but you might also have your students talk about the word choice in the writing too.

  • We're looking for student samples for all grade levels for this prompt!  Help us get some, and we'll send you a free resource for your classroom!  Contact us at publish@writingfix.com for details.

Step three (thinking and pre-writing): Use the interactive buttons on the Student Instruction Page to help the students to think of a setting, character and object that might be in their scene.  Have your students write a scene with the character, setting and object of their choice.  Make sure they use word choice to create a mental image for their reader.

Below is a drafting sheet with an idea development checklist that students can fill out after they have completed a draft.

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.

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):   When they are finished revising and have second drafts, invite your students to come back to this piece once more during an upcoming writer's workshop block.  Their stories might become a longer story, a more detailed piece, or the beginning of a series of pieces about the story they started here.  Students will probably enjoy creating an illustration for this story as they get ready to publish it for their portfolios.

Interested in publishing student work on-line?  We invite student writers to post final drafts of their original at WritingFix's Community of Student Writers.  This is a safe-to-use blog for students and teachers. No writing is posted until it is approved by the moderator. Contact us at publish@writingfix.com if you have questions about getting your students published.


Learn more about The Sisters Grimm series by clicking here.

WritingFix Homepage Lesson & 6-Trait Overview   Student Instructions
Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources  Student Writing Samples

© WritingFix. All rights reserved.