Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday Slice of Life: CLAPS

Today was the first day back in a school for me.  I was so excited to visit this 5th grade classroom. I had been talking to the teacher via emails since school started a few weeks ago, but had not had the chance to actually meet these amazing kiddos!
They were getting ready to do Writer's Workshop when I entered the room. They were all writing fiction pieces. They had a sheet they were using as a prop for their draft. Some had finished the first piece and were just going over what they had written. Others were still in the drafting spot.  The scaffolding they used was CLAPS. This stands for Character, Location, Action, Problem, Solution.
I was able to conference with two wonderful writers, Betsy and Madyson.  Betsy's piece was finished...or so she thought. It was about 1/2 sheet long.  I told her I would read it and see if I had any questions about it. She was happy to allow me to do that. 

When I finished reading her piece, I talked to her about how I had a few questions. We talked about how she probably knew the answers to my questions and didn't think about that when writing. I then reminded her about looking at the piece from the point of view of the reader. Even though she knew all the answers, her reader would have no idea. We then picked out three places that she could give her reader a picture of what was happening by creating a small moment in time. She went off to write three small moments to be added to her story.

Next was Madyson. She was writing a fiction piece about two girls, Isabel and Victoria who were actually twins connected to each other, but totally opposite in opinions. How would they deal with that problem? She was having a hard time coming up with solutions. We brainstormed some possibilities she felt comfortable using and went off to write. Not the easiest story to compose!

After the children had gone off to lunch, their teacher and I had time to confer about her young writers. It was a great discussion with us just brainstorming where she was going next and how she would encourage these talented children.

I am so fortunate to have this school and classroom open their doors to me and share their terrific kids!  I'm scheduled to visit again in a couple weeks. This is going to be a fun bunch to watch grow!


  1. What a fun time for you! I guess a true teacher never really retires, the teaching just continues down a new path.

  2. Sounds like a great day - loved he way you described assisting the young writer.

  3. I love how you connected being a writer and being a reader. That's such an important skill to instill at an early age. I'm a seventh grade writing teacher, and that's something I strive to do daily. Rock on.