A Literature-Inspired Writing Lesson from WritingFix

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Teacher's Guide:

Ulysses: Time Traveler

bringing a world famous hero to a time (and place) near you!

This lesson was built for WritingFix after being proposed by Nevada teacher Ruth Oxborrow 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 adaptation of The Adventures of Ulysses by Bernard Evslin. Before writing, students should listen to and discuss the writing style of this book's author, especially from pages 124-128 of the book.

To our loyal WritingFix users: Please use this link if purchasing The Adventures Of Ulysses 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:  Before beginning this lesson students should be exposed to Greek Mythology by reading several short Greek myths and doing a web search of Greek gods, heroes, monsters, and myths. This website we found particularly helpful and comprehensive as a classroom tool: Mythography by Loggia, and doing your own search for helpful websites may prove effective too!  Research done in Greek mythology should be discussed as a whole class.

Step one (sharing the published model):  The book The Adventures of Ulysses by Bernard Evslin should be used as a read-a-loud while studying Ancient Greece. As a class, read aloud the chapter describing Ino’s Veil, (pg. 124-128 in The Adventures of Ulysses by Bernard Evslin). Distribute copies of this section to small groups of students and have them find the most interesting adjectives in the passage and write them on a large sheet of paper.  The students can then sort the words into self-chosen categories, such as: color, feeling, imagery, etc.

Discuss with the class all the adventures that Ulysses has been had and why he is unable to go home. Each “adventure” is short but the underlying conflict is that he is angering Poseidon.   Even if they have little knowledge of Ulysses' adventures, focus on the idea of how Poseidon creates new obstacles for Ulysses, preventing his successful return home to his wife and son. 

Ask students this idea-developing question:  "If Ulysses came ahead to modern times, what kind of modern day transportation might he use to get back to ancient Ithica?  What other mythological characters might go with him?"

Inform student that today they'll be writing a story where Ulysses is in a modern day setting and is preparing to set out on a modern day adventure that will take him back to Ithica.

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 Post-it® Note-sized template that has been embedded on each model.  You might prompt your students to talk about each model's organization and 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): Post the lists of words that your student groups have created around the room.  Students will begin their pre-write by completing the graphic organizer attached to this lesson.  Before beginning to write, students might meet with a partner and share ideas and adjectives. 

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 also comes with a pre-writing worksheet. You can open and print the graphic organizer by clicking the link below.

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 Bernard Evslin by clicking here.

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