A Picture Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix
Focus Trait: ORGANIZATION Support Trait: SENTENCE FLUENCY

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Lesson & 6-Trait Overview

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Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources

Student Writing Samples from this Lesson

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On-line Publishing:

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(You must be a member of our "Writing Lesson of the Month" ning to post.)

 

Teacher's Guide:

Pros, Cons, and Interesting Hooks

a short essay that examines both sides of a job

This lesson was created for WritingFix after being proposed by Northern Nevada teacher Penny Sanchez at an SBC-sponsored inservice class.

The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this on-line lesson is the picture book How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long. Before writing, students should listen to and discuss the writing style of this book's author.

To our loyal WritingFix users: Please use this link if purchasing How I Became a Pirate 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 :

Step one (sharing the published model):  Teachers should first read aloud How I Became a Pirate, enjoying both the language and enthusiasm of the story. When reading it a second time, teachers should stress what the author has done particularly well: in this case, author Melinda Long introduces the life of pirates through a strong opening sentence that catches the reader’s interest. She also uses great details to illustrate both the pros and cons of a pirate’s life during the boy's imaginative adventure on a real pirate ship.  Have your students list as many pros and cons of being a pirate they can remember after hearing the story a second time.  Tell your students, "Exploring both pros and cons of a job, following a great introduction, is a great organized structure for a story."


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 organization, 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 sentence fluency 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): The interactive choices on this lesson's student instruction page above will inspire your students to think of interesting jobs that might require some research from them to do to write to this assignment.  It will also give students some subordinating conjunctions to put on their graphic organizers, but this assignment works just as well away from the computer; you might have your students research an interesting job from a novel or story you're reading, or from a historical era you're studying. 

For this assignment, students will do some research, and they will purposely seek pros and cons associated with the job they're studying.  One paragraph will talk about their job's pros, and a second paragraph will talk about their job's cons.  They will toy with subordinating conjunctions while pre-writing and drafting, and their introduction will certainly use one.  Encourage students to write a powerful introductory sentence. Encourage students to write a conclusion that links back to the idea they choose for their introductions.

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):   Two 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 Melinda Long's books by clicking here!


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