Summer SAVY 2019: Session 3, Day 1 – Stories Galore! (Rising 3rd/4th)
We had an awesome first day in Stories Galore! In the morning, after getting settled and coming up with our classroom expectations, everyone in the class shared the name of their favorite book. I was amazed to see that no two students had the same one! Clearly, we’ve got a diverse readership here. We then dove right into our study of the genres of fiction by listing as many genres as we could come up with. We learned that genre is another word for type—usually referring to a type of art—and that music and movies have genres too, as well as fiction.
After ORA, we got started with our genre of the day, science fiction. We learned the Encyclopedia Britannica definition of the genre (made-up stories based on scientific or technological advances), and then came up with a list of some scientific or technological advances we might see in this type of story. Some pretty cool gadgets turned up on this list—everything from a device to translate llama speech into English, to a flying Roomba that combats climate change by vacuuming up all the pollution in the atmosphere. After reading an excerpt from our model science fiction text (Larklight by Philip Reeve), we designed and labelled our own space stations, making sure to incorporate at least five science fictional technologies of our own invention.
Once we had our space stations, we were ready to think about one of the most important elements of fiction: character. We learned that all good stories have at least two things: a character and a problem. Individually, each student brainstormed some details about the character who would star in their science fiction story—everything from appearance to preferred breakfast foods to deepest desires. After this, it was time to put our space stations and our characters together and write! I was hugely impressed by this class’ ability focus: everyone worked on their science fiction stories for at least thirty minutes straight. Some kept going as long as forty-five, and would have kept going even longer if we’d had more time. We closed out the day with a quick viewing of the Pixar short “Lifted.” Now on to fantasy for tomorrow!
Additional Reading: Philip Reeve’s Larklight (6-8th grade reading level)