with Michelle Cameron
Online Journal Submissions
It’s hard to believe, but I’m almost done working with your kids. My last day will be May 5.
Before our last day, we will put together an online journal. The journal will include only your child’s first name and age, so there are no worries about identifying them. But you will certainly be able to share the link to your child’s stories and poems with family and friends.
We discussed today which story the writers are going to submit. This is what they came up with:
· E – Crabzilla and (perhaps) Splatter
· V – Sophie’s Adventures and a poem
· OC – Pencil story and a poem
· B – Zoo story and a poem
· S – Clara
· OO – Candle story
· N – not certain yet
· A – Heaven & Hell story
· C – Pompeii
The children may change their minds – but only until this Friday, when I would ask that everyone submit me their stories via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. This will give me a chance to review their stories or poems and make some suggestions.
So their homework this week is ONLY to finish, edit, and revise their submission so that it is as perfect as they can make it. It’s perfectly okay to have you look it over and help them through the revision process.
Next Monday I’ll sit down with each one and review my suggestions. Then they’ll have a week to make those edits and re-submit.
Today's Story Critiques
Among the comments we made:
· Make sure you spend enough time at the beginning of a story so that we root for the main character.
· If a character is doing something dangerous, make sure they hesitate before doing it.
· It’s great when you can give your reader enough clues to lead your reader – and even better when your clues make your readers doubt their conclusions.
· Fables and allegories are lovely ways to tell a story.
· Try to avoid using sentence tags, especially with adverbs – try and show how the character feels by explaining what their face looks like or their body is doing.
National Poetry Month
Because it is National Poetry Month, I shared a famous poem by William Wordsworth, “Daffodils.”
Before we began, we talked about the line “A poet cannot help but be gay,” and of course they knew that Wordsworth did not have the contemporary meaning in mind. By discussing it first, I deflated any tittering when we got to that line.
I then read the poem and the children circled words they didn’t know. We discussed the poem’s meaning and then defined the new vocabulary.
Then we “exploded” the poem. First the children read it in a round-robin, each one taking 2-3 lines. Then I asked them to find lines that “spoke” to them, and we went around the circle three times, just voicing those lines. And – as they already knew I’d do – I asked them to write a poem or story that was inspired by one of the lines.
Many of them chose to write poems, which did my heart good. As we talked through the poems, some of the issues that surfaced included:
· The fact that poetry is compressed language, which means unnecessary words should be eliminated. This includes “prosy” words and full sentences.
· That a slightly obscure poem can be clarified by the use of a great title.
· That more description helps ground us in the poem (or story).
See above. Please do make sure the kids email me their submissions by Friday afternoon!