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

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Lesson & 6-Trait Overview

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Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources

Student Writing Samples from this Lesson

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On-line Publishing:

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Teacher's Guide:

Paulsen-inspired
Nature Poems

visualizing details to create tone and mood

This lesson was built for WritingFix after being proposed by Nevada teacher Maureen Copenhaver Arroyo 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 Woodsong by Gary Paulsen. Before writing, students should listen to and discuss the writing style of this book's author, especially from chapter 1 of the book.

To our loyal WritingFix users: Please use this link if purchasing Woodsong 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 :

Pre-step…before sharing the published model:  Students need to have knowledge of some style of poetry as this lesson does not teach how to write poetry but leaves it open to any style or length.  Students should also know the difference between drawing and sketching images, as this is not an art lesson! Teachers click here to use a website for poetic forms, or feel free to do a web search on your own!


Step one (sharing the published model):  Teacher reads aloud chapter one of Woodsong by Gary Paulsen, which contains a very profound account of understanding “the woods” through an experience he witnesses of predator versus prey.  As you read it aloud, students will visualize any images they create in their minds and sketch them on a blank piece of paper. 

After reading the chapter, give students time to label their sketches with any words, phrases or ideas they have either taken from the text or from their own words.  Share some sketches or ideas aloud to encourage different images (such as the images of the beauty of nature, the fear of the deer, the amazement of the narrator, the excitement of the dog team or the horror of the catch).  Students then will pick one image and the emotion or tone connected to it (i.e. beauty, amazement, excitement).  This emotion/ mood will act as the title of a poem. Click here for a list of emotions if you don't have your own! 

The last step is to have students compose a poem.  The length and poetic style is at the teacher’s discretion.  Be sure to encourage students to portray their chosen emotion throughout the entire poem as this will build their voice.  Using active verbs, exact adjectives and good poetic styles will help build upon their word choice.  Use the three button interactive game for ideas of different poetic styles and emotions.  To expand on the images of nature beyond this chapter we've included the second button "aspect of nature". 


Step two (introducing student models of writing):  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 should certainly talk about the voice, since that's the focus of this assignment .  You might prompt your students 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 buttons on the Student Instruction Page might help inspire your students to begin brainstorming for this poetry assignment

Students will need a blank piece of paper for sketching and labeling.  Students will begin their pre-write by completing their sketch and labeling it with words. Before beginning to write, students should meet with a partner and edit for ideas. 

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 Gary Paulsen and Woodsong by clicking here.


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