with Michelle Cameron
Changing Things Up
One thing I’ve noticed is that we spend a lot of time critiquing, leaving us with very little time to write in class. So this week I changed things up – and we wrote first. Because there was limited time, the kids got the choice of what they’d like to read, either what they’d brought or the story they’d started in class.
From next week on, however, I’d like to request that the writers bring a copy of their work that I can take home with me. We’ll still read some of them in class (and I’ll keep track so everyone gets equal time to be heard) but the rest I’ll take home. This will allow me to give them more in-depth revision than we can do in class, as well as give us more writing time.
If possible, a printed story is best. If that’s impossible, I will take a handwritten one. In both cases, the stories should be double-spaced, to give me room to comment. In addition, I’d like the stories (or additions to works in progress) to be at least 1-2 double-spaced pages. Adding a paragraph or two doesn’t give them time to fully develop their ideas.
We began class today talking about characters that really stuck with them. Some of the ones they named were from Harry Potter – Harry himself, George, Hermione, Ron. Others included Percy Jackson and The Little Prince.
When asked what made a compelling character, however, they started telling me about the plotlines. So we backed up and talked about what made Harry such a great character. They recognized that he was brave and adventurous. Some of the personality traits from those books included intelligence (Hermione) and a mixture of fear and loyalty (Ron).
Then I asked to describe Harry, and everyone mentioned his glasses and scar. We talked about how personality is a strong component of character – but their outward appearance is also important.
Critique of Stories
As noted above, we read a mix of stories today – some just their story starts based on the character prompt and some the stories they’d written at home. Some of the topics that came out of their writing this week included:
As always, this week’s homework is a choice. Note that they will always be asked to write at home – and again, that I request they submit their homework to me (i.e., not write just in their notebooks).
Their enthusiasm and excitement is contagious!