Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Writers Consider the Drama of Their Short Story


The fourth grade classroom I was visiting today was working on the unit of study, Short Stories. Each of the students had finished at least one scene in the story. Today was the deadline for that to be done. During the lesson time, the teacher talked about creating scenes and thinking about how the character influences the drama of the scene.

The class discussed ways they could do this:
  1. Speaking--character
  2. Small Actions
  3. Thinking--character
  4. Character description: What is the character doing with his hands, his face, his body?
The students were to think about how their characters influenced the drama of their story.  They were to slow down the scene and make it seem real to their readers...make a movie in their minds.

During the writing/conferencing time, I was able to talk to four students. Each of them were at a different place in their scene. The theme that I saw for each of them was: needing to slow down the moment to make it more alive for the reader. They had the tools they needed to do this from the focus lesson, but they were not applying it. Tomorrow the teacher will again take this same focus and try in another way to model for them how to slow down a moment. Some things take teaching over and over for it to become a tool students can easily use in their writing.

Sharing time was allowing students to show how they revised their scenes by adding to the story. Many of them did the "spider leg" strategy and some used a ^ where a small thing could be added. This unit of study will continue with more small scenes in the story.