Summer SAVY 2019: Session 1, Day 3 – Tremendous Transformations in Writing (Rising 3rd/4th)
We started the day with another writing experiment, which students definitely enjoyed. They got to know their character a little better by putting them into a new setting and seeing how they react. The students were able to understand their character better by discovering strengths or weaknesses that were brought out by the change of setting. They wrote for about 15 minutes, at the end of which some begged to keep writing for another two hours!
Good writers are great readers, so we put the pencils down and transitioned into reading The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater. After reading, the students had the opportunity to use the Fictional Analysis Wheel to dig deeper into the story. Students gained remarkable insights into theme, conflict, and characterization. We saw how one small transformation–the orange splot that appeared on Mr. Plumbean’s roof–led to a chain reaction of transformations of a place and its inhabitants. After analyzing the story, students considered what they had noticed Pinkwater do as a writer that they could apply to their own writing.
We are building both endurance and enthusiasm as writers, so we wrote for a whole 25 minutes! We are creating stories about well-developed characters that undergo transformations as a result of some conflict or challenge. Students are invested in their stories and excited to continue!
The next transformation we discovered was the transformation of words and how they transform our writing. For example, “clever” and “cunning” are synonyms, but they describe a character completely differently. Other examples include “argument” and “fight” or “smell” and “stench.” Ask your SAVY student about these word associations! Words can create different pictures and different feelings we have about a character. Imagery is when an author appeals to one of the 5 senses. To explore this concept, we looked at the poem “Fog” by Carl Sandburg, which uses language to creatively compare a fog to a cat. This poem demonstrates the use of language to create a picture in the reader’s mind. We also discussed the use of similies and metaphors to compare objects that can help create imagery. We also considered imagery in the book Owl Moon. The students listened to me read the book and I asked them to sketch an image based on the words they were hearing that created images in their mind. The author, Jane Yolen, is a master at creating images with words. This was a great example for your blossoming writer to take away skills to make their own writing better. They were given an opportunity to go back to their story and practice using imagery and figurative language to enhance their writing.
After lunch, we read Ralph Tells a Story. This book follows the journey of a young boy who cannot seem to write a story! Hearing about Ralph’s predicament helped us understand the tools necessary for writing a story and what to do when you get stuck. Some tools we discussed are memory, questions, imagining, observing, and many more. We even got tips from Ralph himself!
Write, write, write! That was the theme of the afternoon. We spent a large chunk of time working on the first draft of stories and conferencing. Each student conferenced with either myself or Ms. Sheyanne; students also had the opportunity to conference with each other.
Tomorrow will be a BIG day for revision! Reading their story drafts has been so exciting, and I look forward to seeing their finished products!