A Picture Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix
Focus Trait: IDEA DEVELOPMENT Support Trait: VOICE

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Welcome to this Lesson:

Planning a Fierce Wondering Story

a list of story ideas brainstormed in a Writer's Notebook

The picture book that inspired this lesson was the 2010-2011 school year's Mentor Text of the Year.

The mentor text:

Amelia's Notebook (written with the help of author Marissa Moss) is a perfect example of a creative student's writer's notebook!

Greetings, fellow teachers! My name is Corbett Harrison, and in 2001, I helped the Northern Nevada Writing Project launch this WritingFix website. For ten years, we sponsored lesson-building workshops throughout our region, and the best-of-the-best lessons created by our participants were posted at WritingFix for all teachers to freely access.

The lesson you find here is one that I personally created as a demonstration lesson during our Year of Writer's Notebooks project.

If you enjoy this lesson's big ideas and want to hear more about the work that I do to inspire student writers of all ages, I invite you to visit my personal website--CorbettHarrison.com--where you can access the new lessons and training materials I have been developing since 2009.

This is a writer's notebook-friendly lesson! This write-up has been recently revised to incorporate the creation of a writer's notebook page as part of its pre-writing process. A teacher model of the notebook page can be seen at left. On the teacher instructions page for this lesson you can read the step-by-step instructions for this writer's notebook task , which makes use of our webmaster's "Margin Mascot," Mr. Stick.

You can visit WritingFix's Writer's Notebook Resources Homepage to access more lessons and prompts revised to inspire effective modeling of writer's notebooks for our student writers.

perfect classroom guide!

Quick Overview of this Lesson:

After the teacher shares an interesting "Fierce Wondering" with the students (inspired by chapter two of Ralph Fletcher's A Writer's Notebook: Unlocking the Writer within You), the students look at a page from Amelia's Notebook to discuss her fierce wonderings. Teachers make two class lists of interesting "fierce wonderings." Students copy their favorite "fierce wonderings" onto a special page in their Writer's Notebooks, then add some original ideas to their list. After the teacher comes back to Amelia's Cloud Story at the end of her book, students choose a "fierce wondering" that could make a longer, interesting story for their writing portfolio. Teachers: Click here to see the entire lesson plan.

6-Trait Overview for this Lesson:

The focus trait in this writing assignment is idea development; the process taught in this lesson supports the idea that a well-kept writers notebook can be a marvelous place for students to explore ideas they wish to develop through writing.  The support trait in this assignment is voice; students are to attempt to impersonate some of Marissa Moss's techniques for giving a narrator a voice with a real-sounding personality.

Recipient of the NNWP's
Excellent Writing Lesson Award:

Because of the quality of its resources and ideas, this WritingFix lesson was selected by the Northern Nevada Writing Project as September 2010's Writing Lesson of the Month. It was e-mailed to thousands of teachers who are members of the NNWP's Writing Lesson of the Month Teacher Network.

To quickly access all the WritingFix lessons that have been chosen as "Lesson of the Month," click here to visit the on-line archive. You can have a link to a high-quality writing lesson sent to you every month.

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