Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Great conversations!

There's a great conversation taking place at RealWritingTeachers. Troy Wilson, author of Perfect Man, is this week's guest author. I've saved the entire interview and all the follow up questions--it's 20 single-spaced pages so far! I'm full of ideas as a result of this author interview.

I've also been jotting notes for an after school writing club I'd like to offer to the kids in grades K-3 at our elementary school. I've been talking about this club for about eight months. I think I finally have some fun ideas. I want to work with the younger kids so I can help them with stories to submit to the Reading Rainbow contest (open to grades K-3). I thought I could get some 4-6th grade leaders to help by recording (probably writing them into a notebook) the stories the kindergarten and first grade students tell them.

Rough ideas:

Week 1: Discuss the purpose of keeping a Writer's Notebook. Decorate our notebooks and pens.

Each of the following weeks,
  • I'd lead with a picture book.
  • Then, I'd go over some author interview notes (when I have them available).
  • We'd probably do some craft, game, song or other activity related to the book.
  • We'd discuss concepts that are easy to identify in the book.
  • We'd practice the concept in our own writing.

Since the contest also includes illustrations, I'd introduce some picture books with unique illustration styles (paint, felt, clay, collages) and include interview comments from illustrators.

Early--maybe the first or second week--we'd talk about where writers get their ideas, and we'd start brainstorming for their individual projects.

Some of the things we'd discuss in our weekly club meetings: plot, conflict, characters, showing vs telling, sparkle words, overused words, action verbs.

A few weeks in, we'd start sharing our ideas and we'd discuss how to give feedback on the work of others.

As we got closer to the April deadline, we'd work more on our writing and less on the crafty things.

Each child would complete a story with illustrations and submit it to the contest. To wrap up our club year, we'd have a Writers' Cafe dessert/coffee/hot cocoa night where kids could share their work, either in book format or by reading it to the guests.

What do you think? Too much? Too little? Am I nuts?

I know...at this rate, I'll never find time to write!


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