Summer SAVY 2019: Session 3, Day 3 – Stories Galore! (Rising 3rd/4th)
Day 3 of Stories Galore was by far our most challenging day yet, and let me begin by saying: I was hugely impressed by everyone’s work. Not only did we write for our longest stretch of time so far (more than an hour!), we also received a record number of thank-you’s (ten!) from our TA Elaine for respectful and on-task behavior, and pushed through some difficulties, technical and otherwise, during our first attempts at writerly research.
Our genre of the day today was historical fiction—which, we soon learned, takes a remarkable amount of knowledge to write. We read samples of Avi’s novel The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, taking note as we went of everything the author would have probably needed to look up before he wrote it. The class found that historical fiction writers need to research not only historical events, but also cultural information such as clothing, slang, travel methods, and modes of communication. Meanwhile, we also learned about and defined our target fictional element for the day, point of view, and discussed the different advantages of first person vs. third.
After ORA, the students each chose a time period to write about, and came up with a list of clear and specific research questions. In the afternoon, we took a field trip to the computer lab at the Peabody Learning Commons to conduct our research. This was easily the biggest challenge of the day. Learning to navigate our search engine, Kiddle, and figuring out how to find answers to our questions within longer articles, was pretty difficult, but every single student persevered and came up with useful information. Back in the classroom, we spent the whole rest of the afternoon writing, where Elaine and I witnessed some very impressive blending of fiction and fact: Russian dairy farmers during World War II, a stowaway mouse on Apollo 11, and much more.
Next, we’re on to mysteries. Again, if your student brought home a notebook today, please make sure it comes back!