Saturday, November 1, 2014

Writing and Edward Tulane

Our Class is reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane as part of The Global Read Aloud. You can read about the GRA here.  So what does Edward Tulane, scary funny creatures, and descriptive writing have in common?  I'm glad you asked.

First, let me back up a bit.  Each week we read a different poem to practice fluency and look at elements of grammar.  This week Jack Prelutsky's, The Creature in the Classroom, was our poem of the week.  We noticed the different synonyms he used for the verb "ate" and we also talked about adverbs.  The poem describes all the different things the creature ate, but it never tells you what the creature looks like, so we made our own. 

 I pulled out several different colors of construction paper, 
googly eyes, yarn, pom-poms, scissors, and glue. 

 They could use anything they wanted to create their creatures.  
Anything EXCEPT markers, crayons, or colored pencils!

Well, we couldn't just create creatures, even if it was Halloween and Pajama Day all rolled into one!  So I decided to have the students write narratives about their creatures.  I wanted them to focus on introducing the setting and their characters in the beginning of their stories. We took a look at how published authors introduce their characters, since we are all authors, by the way.

And guess which book we used?  You got it.  Kate DiCamillo does a terrific job of introducing the setting and describing Edward Tulane in the first 2 pages of her book.  In case you've forgotten here is her opening sentence:  "ONCE, IN A HOUSE ON EGYPT STREET, there lived a rabbit who was made almost entirely of china."  She then goes on to describe Edward in great detail.  I reread those pages to the students and then we quickly brainstormed different settings for their creature stories:  "Once, under a bed in an old wooden mansion . . . Once, in an underground tunnel in China . . . Once, in a classroom at Cheatham Hill lived a creature. " You get the picture.

 Next, we went out in the hall so they could get a better look at their creatures 
as they wrote their descriptive paragraphs. 

Then they shared their introductory paragraphs as the rest of the class checked to
 make sure they had done a good job with their descriptions.

Now that their introductory paragraphs are complete, they are ready to work on the rest of their story. I believe it's time to introduce my third graders to Google Docs.

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