A Picture Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix
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Teacher's Guide:

Fracturing Tales through Titles

using EMPHASIS in a fairy tale scene inspired by a clever title

This lesson was created as a demonstration lesson for the 2005 Picture Books as Mentor Texts inservice class, which was sponsored by WritingFix's SBC Grant.

The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this on-line lesson is the picture book The Wolf Who Cried Boy by Bob Hartman. 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 The Wolf Who Cried Boy 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:

Pre-Step (before sharing the published model): A spoonerism happens when a speaker accidentally interchanges two sounds or syllables in a sentence or phrase. "A fine kettle of fish" might become "A Kine fettle of fish." "It's customary to kiss the bride" might become "It's kisstumary to cuss the bride."

Spoonerism is an eponym (a word named for an actual person) that comes from the reverend W.A. Spooner, who was notoriously prone to slips of the tongue of this type. There are some funny examples of his spoonerisms here. Share them with your class. Laugh a lot.

Then tell them you will be reading a story today whose title is not a spoonerism, but it's kind of close to the idea: The Wolf Who Cried Boy.

Step one (sharing the published model):  Teachers should stress, as they read The Wolf Who Cried Boy aloud, what the author has done particularly well in writing this story: in this case, author Bob Hartman not only has a funny title that drives his whole story, but he also uses techniques that add emphasis to the characters' words.  Pass the book around to different readers, and have them read certain pages aloud with as much fluency as possible.  When a student emphasizes a word or phrase (because of Hartman's emphasis techniques), stop and ask, "How did you know to say that word so it sounded more important to the story?"  Discuss why an author would do this. 

Be sure to point out how the EMPHASIS techniques occur in both the dialogue and in the narration.  You will be requiring your students to add emphasis in both places too.

Step two (introducing models of writing):    Students will be asked to 1) tweak the title of a well-known fairy tale as an inspiration to fracture the story, 2) create a first-person point-of-view scene from the story they envision, 3) use emphasis techniques in both the scene's narration and dialogue.  To help students understand this assignment, put the student sample below on your classroom overhead; using the discussion tool at the bottom of Devin's story will have your students think about this assignment and its requirements.

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): If students can't think of an idea for a story to "fracture," they can press the buttons on the Student Instructions Page, which will give them well-known titles that can be fractured for this assignment.  If your students think of their own titles to use for this assignment, by all means, let them.

Once they have titles chosen where they can switch or change words to make a funny new title, have them talk over their initial story ideas in small groups.  Have them ask each other, "What might happen in this fractured story?"  It's okay for them to think of the whole story first; just be sure to give them time (and permission) to then narrow down their story idea into a scene that they will write for this assignment.

The worksheet below will help them plan the basics of their scene. 

Once your students have completed the worksheet, put up Devin's completed scene on the overhead again to remind them of the assignment's specific requirements.  If you spot students using different EMPHASIS techniques as they draft, share their techniques with the whole class to encourage diverse thinking.

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):  One tool for revision is provided below.  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.

Like this lesson? Access another Fractured Fairy Tale lesson here!

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