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Summer SAVY 2019: Session 1, Day 4 – Tremendous Transformations in Writing (Rising 3rd/4th)

Posted by on Thursday, June 13, 2019 in Grade 3, Grade 4, SAVY.

Wow!! Today was surely our best day yet! Knowing today was our big day for serious revision, we started the day by thinking about what we had each accomplished with our stories so far and what we hoped to achieve. Each student set a personal writing goal, and we basically wrote ALL morning long, with one break to talk with fiction writer Caroliena Cabada about revision strategies. Caroliena shared her idea that as her writing changes through revision, she also changes, which helped us think about how revision connects to transformation.

Throughout the morning, our writers showed remarkable focus, determination, and persistence as they worked to meet their own goals. Once individual writers felt finished, they exchanged their stories with other writers to gain feedback with the goal of strengthening each story even more. It’s amazing to see what someone else’s feedback can illuminate!

Before lunch, we took a few minutes to reflect on our progress, and we found out that every single writer either had met a goal or made significant progress toward it! (Some of us have written multi-chapter stories that may take longer to type!)

After lunch and ORA, we returned to our class concept map to reflect on how we had experienced transformation during the writing process. Our concept map keeps getting more and more interesting! It was so exciting to hear students share their own experiences of transformation–everything from gaining new skills which will lead to even more skills to seeing ONE character transform into a whole story!

We then read Mrs. Katz and Tush by Patricia Polacco, focusing on the small but significant shifts that occurred throughout the story as well as the author’s overall message or theme. Next, we played “Three Shifts and a Theme,” which was challenging, but fun! After everyone helped brainstorm story shifts (from various stories we know or have read) on index chards, each group received three shift cards and had to work together to figure out what message a story containing these three shifts might convey. For example, a group might end up with cards that say:

– A kitten grows into a cat.
– The weather changes.
– A magical being appears.

If these three events happened in the same story, what theme, or big message about life, might the story give us? (None of our groups received this exact combination today, so this is your chance to play “Three Shifts and a Theme” with your SAVY student!)

Later, our writers reflected on thematic development within their own stories. Sometimes writers have a thematic idea in mind while writing, and sometimes not, but either way, themes can emerge or develop. This reflection activity required some deep thinking. Hearing everyone’s themes was exciting! You may want to ask your SAVY student about his or her thematic idea, or you might see what themes you notice as you read the finished story for yourself!

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