Friday, October 4, 2013

Writers Use Character Traits to Write Interpretive Essays

This week I was able to finally get to another school where I do classroom visits.  This school is part of Fort Wayne Community Schools and is a magnet school. The 5th grade classroom has 26 students. They are currently working on finishing up the unit of study on interpretive essays.

It was interesting for my first visit to have the teacher do a review of what they were doing in writer's workshop. They had been studying this genre for several weeks, but now they were working in groups of two or three to do a character study of one of the characters from the class Read Aloud they had recently finished.

After the mini lesson, I settled in with three boys who were intently discussing their essay. Max, Sam and Corey had the introduction to the piece done. They were using Sabrina, but had chosen the character trait of being bossy.  They felt this was the character's main trait. They could tell me several places where the character showed bossiness, but their work was proceeding slowly because there was more talking than writing happening. My teaching point for them was to show them how writers sometimes divide up the work and work independently. They were willing to do this. They had a plan of writing their part, coming together to revise and then add it to the essay.  They went off to work with new energy.

Next, I worked with Jenna and Airion. They had finished their draft and even had some revision done. Since I had never read the read-aloud book, I offered to listen to what they had written and let them know what wasn't clear for me.  My teaching point ended up being to show them how writers ask questions as they revise.  The questions we came up with were: What was Sabrina thinking? and When did she change? These girls will be finishing their essay very soon!

It was great to meet these wonderful writers.  I am looking forward to watching and working with these students as they grow as authors this year!

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