Start the Story Strong!- Developing Writers

My students love to write! I know….it seems odd to have the whole class enthusiastic about their writing but really, my whole class LOVE to write. I am like a proud mama when it comes to watching them grow in their content and enthusiasm. 

The standardised writing test is just around the corner. Next week to be exact. And we, my kiddos and I, feel confident and well-prepared to rock the writing test! (don’t ask me about math, I am an English teacher by nature)
One trick up my sleeve, has been to really push the leads within the writing. Start the story strong! Of course, there will always be the usual onomatopoeia lead and the “Did you know…?” lead. I quite bluntly tell my 5th grade students that those are LAME!! Yup, that exact word. I like to promote the word SOPHISTICATED. We are learning to become sophisticated writers. 

Leading by Example.

 I begin by asking the kids to choose their favorite books and to look at the way the author starts the story. How did they grab your attention? We then write out the author’s leads as examples and share them with the rest of the class. Thinking strategies arise with, ” What is going to happen?” “Is that a mystery?” ” I infer the setting to be dangerous.” etc etc. As we break down the tactics that real authors have used, we categorized those leads into – questions with an air of mystery, flashbacks, picture postcard, dialogue and onomatopoeia (with a BANG! of course). Using my own creative mind ( yes, it has been known) I then created my own short stories, using those leads to model for the kids just how gripping the lead can be. 
I created a set of posters for you for FREE, to use as teaching tools to help with your own class leads. These can be found in my Teachers Notebook and Teachers Pay Teachers stores. 


By this point, the children are just gasping to put their own ideas on paper. We used my “Build A Story St. Patrick’s Style” packet to create our fictional narratives and took it step by step, through the exposition, inciting incident, climax and resolution. The children selected their own protagonist, antagonist and setting and through visualization created detailed characterization and description before they actually drafted anything.
We added all of these literacy skills together and came up with incredible 3-7 paragraph essays of fantastic fiction with an Irish twist. Watch this space for the evidence from my brilliant young authors!

Enjoy! ~ Susan

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