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A Picture Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix

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Welcome to this Lesson:


self-reflecting on fear to write an imaginative tale about overcoming it

This lesson was built for WritingFix after being proposed by Nevada teacher Shari Ashby at our SBC-sponsored inservice class in 2005.

The mentor text:

Harry and the Terrible Whatzit by Dick Gackenbach is practically a classic. In the cellar of the book's young character lives a frightful 'Whhatzit," that the young man must learn not to fear. A really fun tale that'll inspire writers to think about their fears.

Three-Sentence Overview of this Lesson:

Dick Gackenbach’s classic picture book, Harry and The Terrible Whatzit, is a wonderful story about a child and his fear of the Whatzit that he is sure lives in his cellar.  The story shows how through determination and the desire to save his mother, he conquers his fear in the end.  This assignment will challenge the writer to reflect on a time they were scared, to personify the fear into an entity, and then to write a story about them interacting with the entity they have created.  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 quality of the writer's personified fear will depend on thorough self-reflection.  The support trait in this assignment is organization; the graphic organizer that comes with the lesson has students pre-plan a story that has three distinct parts.

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