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

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Teacher's Guide:

Showing How to Deal with Anger

self-reflecting on a time the writer was angry while exploring details and voice

This lesson was built for WritingFix after being proposed by NNWP Teacher Consultant
Karen McGee

The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this on-line lesson is the picture book When Sophie Gets Angry--Really, Really Angry... by Molly Bang. 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 When Sophie Gets Angry -- Really, Really Angry... from Amazon.com, and help keep WritingFix free and on-line. We thank you!

A note for our 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 one becomes an authentic writing teacher.

Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources :

Step one (sharing the published model):  Before reading Molly Bang’s book, ask the students to think about a time when they became very angry with someone---a sibling, a parent, a friend, a teacher. In their journals, students will list several ways that they reacted to their own anger. Discuss that they probably reacted differently to the different people in their lives. Some of the responses might be: hit, scream, curse, cry, slam doors, pout, run away, say, “I hate you.”

Using the OWL (Observe, Wonder, Learn) teaching format, students will look at five overheads of key pictures from the book and 1) Observe what the author did in her book to show us Sophie’s feelings, 2) Wonder what is happening in the story and why. Then you read the story aloud. For the final step, Learn, you will relook at the five overheads and have students tell aloud what they’ve learned about Sophie and what techniques the author used to help us understand Sophie’s feelings. At this point, you will need to discuss with the students that feelings are neither good nor bad, but that all of us need to learn ways of expressing our feelings in ways that hurt no one. “Stuffing” anger is hurtful to the person feeling the anger because anger turned inward can lead to depression.

Students will again open their journals and list several new ways that they might express their anger. You will then ask students to share some of their ideas; chart the ideas for future reference, especially to be used as a Content Word Wall. Be sure to add some ideas from your own experience. I usually share that when I was a teenager, I always knew when my mother was mad at my dad because she rearranged the living room furniture in our home to work off her anger. The chart should offer students healthy ways of feeling anger so that they can then let the anger go.

Step two (introducing models of writing):    Introduce this pre-writing template. With the help of the students, fill out the template using the information from Molly Bang’s book. Pretend that Sophie is using the template to write her own story in response to the prompt: Write about a time when you became very angry. Students can then read and respond to any or all of the student models that come with this lesson. The students should certainly talk about the models' idea development, since that's the focus of this lesson, but you might prompt your students to talk about each model's voice 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): Students will now fill out their own pre-writing template. On the back of the template, they will write three possible leads and ask at least one peer which lead acts as the best hook. On clean paper, students will start their pieces with the agreed upon lead and continue writing their stories. Remind students that they need to use showing language to help paint pictures in readers’ heads.

The interactive button game on the Student Instructions Page might just give your writers some solid ideas for anger-producing scenarios. It also provides words/phrases that might "spark" details and voice. Your students can certainly come up with original ideas not included in the interactive button game. The goal should be to choose a time to write about that allows them to really show anger.

After the students have completed and talked about their pre-write, you can have them write a rough draft on this two-page drafting sheet, which has an embedded idea development checklist on the second page. After students have written their drafts, they can self-assess their own writing, using the checklist.

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 Molly Bang's books by clicking here!

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