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A Picture Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix

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Welcome to this Lesson:

Different-Story Stories

exploring a book's themes, then writing a new story that teaches the same theme

This lesson was created by NNWP Teacher Consultant Corbett Harrison. Check out all of Corbett's on-line lessons by clicking here.

The mentor text:

Fox by Margaret Wild is a brilliant picture book about loyalty, friendship, and owning up to your mistakes. The text twists and turns across the pages, making it almost an adventure to read. Check out the cool flame metaphor that is applied to character of the fox; it's maintained both visually and with the text.

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 very first Picture Books as Mentor Texts workshop.

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 you can access the new lessons and training materials I have been developing since 2009.

Three-Sentence Overview of this Lesson:

After enjoying the amazingly well-written story of Fox, students will work in small groups to generate possible themes that the book is trying to teach its readers. Themes will be shared whole-group, and a class list of the best themes will be posted for all to choose from. Students are then challenged to create a completely original story that teaches one of the class's chosen themes. Teachers: Click here to see the entire lesson plan.

6-Trait Overview for this Lesson:

The focus trait for this writing assignment is idea development; to plan and then write a story based on a pre-determined theme is an excellent way to learn about idea development.  The support trait in this assignment is organization; writers are challenged to begin their original stories with an intriguing first sentence.

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