Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Let's Talk About Books! Writing Workshop

     I am linking with Mrs. Jump's Class for the Let's Talk About Books Linky!  You probably know by now that I love books.  In fact, I have not been sleeping enough this summer because I have been staying up too late sleeping!  I know, I know!  
     I am sharing a book with you today that I actually read this winter, but just haven't gotten a chance to share.  It is a phenomenal, must read, if you teach writing workshop.  
"It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does."
-William Faulkner

     As a former first grade teacher, my background with writer's workshop really stemmed from the basics and we didn't spend a lot of time with character development.  As I began teaching third grade this year, I realized that my students struggled with developing the characters and settings within their writing. 
     This book guides writers through the process by first observing characters and their mannerisms, behaviors, voice, goals, motivations, and things they do, etc.  Next, students get to know characters that are already present in books and real life.  Third, students begin to use what they observed and learned from other characters to develop their own characters.  Fourth, students start to look at character voice.  They look at the point of view that the author would have and the character would use. 
      The BEST part about this book for me, is that it gives you lessons that can be used as is or adapted as needed for your grade level.  It doesn't say, you MUST do this, but rather, here is an idea and this is how it might work in your classroom.  Being that it is aligned with the Common Core Standards for grades 3-8, I know that there will be some lesson ideas that will need more adaptation than others.   Here are a few sneak peaks from Amazon's Look Inside feature:

      By the time I read this book last year, I felt it was too late to jumpstart this in my classroom.  This year, however, I have planned to use this in my writer's workshop.  When we begin narrative writing, I plan to incorporate many of these activities.  I feel that they will guide my students to creating deep characters, with meaningful events, conflicts, etc.  Hopefully, I will be writing about this during the year to share their successes!
      If you are in need of a some support with your writing instruction and character development, check this book out.  You can grab a copy on Amazon!

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