A Chapter Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix
Focus Trait: IDEA DEVELOPMENT Support Trait: ORGANIZATION

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A Teacher's Guide:

Launching a Fantastic Voyage

organizing the start of a
sci-fi-like adventure

This lesson was built for WritingFix after being proposed by Nevada teacher Cathy Guild 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 A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. Before writing, students should listen to and discuss the writing style of this book's author, especially excerpts from the first seven chapters.

Check out A Wrinkle in Time at Amazon.com.

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

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; adaptation is how one becomes a truly authentic writing teacher.

Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources :

Step one (sharing the published model):  Get a copy of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.  Read Chapter 6, which takes the characters on a journey to learn the secret to why their father has disappeared for so long.  Discuss how the chapter shows and tells the reader about the journey by using adjectives and verbs that make the writing interesting.  Ask you students what kind of fantastic journey they might go on and how they could make their writing interesting for the reader.

Create a list of strong verbs and interesting adjectives with your students to get your students thinking about how they can use these words to make their ideas come to life. Tell your students they will be writing a scene for a story in which the characters begin a journey to a destination that is somehow amazing, extraordinarily beautiful, terrifying or ominous.  They will need to use a mode of transportation in their writing, and even though it may be an ordinary mode of transportation, they need to find a way to make it unusual.  Have students use the Interactive Button Game to get ideas for characters, mode of transportation and destination.


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, because of the embedded discussion tool that comes with each set.  You might also have your students talk about the organization in the writing too.

  • No samples yet!

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 Instructions Page will get your students thinking about their scenes and choices for characters, mode of transportation and destination.

This lesson comes with a pre-writing worksheet to help students launch and organize their ideas. We've also provided a drafting sheet with an embedded idea development checklist. After students have written a draft, have them rate their own use of the idea development trait.

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 Madeleine L'Engle and
A Wrinkle in Time
by clicking here.


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