The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this on-line lesson is the picture book Dog Breath by Dav Pilkey. Before writing, students should listen to and discuss the writing style of this book's author.
If you are a Washoe County teacher, click here to search for this book at the county library.
A note for teacher users: 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 :
Step one (sharing the published model):Dav Pilkey’s story Dog Breath involves a family's distress over their dog, Hally Tosis, and his horrible breath. The author uses a unique approach to writing about this ordinary topic, which is a sub-skill of the writing trait Idea Development. The writing activity below is centered around ordinary animals with interesting problems. What student wouldn’t want to write about a horse that is too hairy or too short?
Teachers should point out, as they read the book aloud, what the author has done particularly well to tie together the writings and illustrations in the story of Hally Tosis. The problems that Hally faces are wonderfully described with great details. Pilkey gives equal time (through his descriptions) to each piece of the story, which is called pacing.
Challenge students to think of an original story idea of an animal with a silly problem. The interactive word game on the student instructions page will give them unique ideas on which they can base their stories.
Step two (introducing 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 discussion tool that has been included with each model. You might prompt your students to talk about each model's organization 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 pagefor details.
Step three (thinking and pre-writing): If your students are struggling to hatch an idea for an original story idea, the interactive button game on the student instruction page might inspire your students through its random combining of animal options with ideas for "silly problems." Students can certainly find successful ideas for this writing prompt through discussion and brainstorming away from the computer, but the computer word game is a great generator of ideas and possibilities. Once students have chosen an animal with a silly problem for their stories, the pre-writing worksheet below (along with the teacher model for the overhead) is a tool that was specifically designed for this on-line lesson idea.
For pre-writing, have students use the worksheet below to begin thinking up unique story details. Once students are preparing to move from the worksheet to a draft, remind them to front load their original stories with memorable descriptions that really help us visualize the problems their animals might face.
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 atthis 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 freeWriting Lesson of the Month Network.
Step four (revising with specific trait language): Tools for revision are provided below. You can use one or both, depending on how much time you have to spend on this assignment.
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 Dav Pilkey's books
by clicking here!