Set aside a small amount of time over the next few days to allow students to brainstorm in small groups new unique qualities. You might switch the groups each day, so students hear different perspectives.
Very important: Sometimes students write down an idea in an alphabox, then a better idea for that letter comes to them at a later time. Encourage your students to cross off mediocre ideas and replace them better ideas, if they think of them as they think more and more about this task.
When each student has a complete alphabox, they can then think about transferring their best ideas into a notebook page they can use to inspire writing during upcoming writer's workshop blocks.
Here is the frame I used to create my own notebook page:
My Unique Superhero
||Save the middle space for a picture of your finalized superhero!
For inspiration before and while they create their own pages, show students your own model of a finished notebook page and/or my teacher model, which I have included (at left) with this prompt as my personal attempt to inspire you to create your own, but I will be understanding if you want to use mine as yours. If you are teaching your students to use Mr. Stick in notebooks to serve as a journal or notebook "mascot," it can actually be really fun to make your teacher model to show them; my wife and I had great fun working on the alpha-list together, then we each selected one of the traits from the list to create our combined superhero.
Your kids can gain real inspiration from having proof that you had fun as you created your own notebook page; at WritingFix, we truly believe kids can have fun while learning as long as the teacher is modeling what smart and fun looks like at all times. Sample notebook pages from a teacher are inspirational!
Click here for a really large version of my notebook page, which allows you to really zoom in on details or print on a poster, if you have that ability.
Give students several days to work on this page. They must start with their finalized choices for their alphalists. Challenge students to make sure that their twenty-six item list of noun phrases are somehow different from all their classmates; no two students should have the exact same list.
Once the lists are created, students can choose two (or three) of the powers/attributes to invent a totally original superhero. I ended up choosing my E box (Electrical Fingers) and my T box (Time Traveler) to create "Electric Dave" who--thanks to an accident at the electrical plant--now has enough electricity in his body to travel through time. I picture him going back in time to help with historical incidents. I am ready to write on a future writer's workshop block.
The goal is to have your students create a similar character that personally inspires them.
After seeing my page, my students always want to add color, which I allow them to do, provided they do it when they finish another classroom task early. Colored pencils should be on hand!