3 days Lifting the Qualities of Effective Fiction Writing. 3 4 days Stretching Out the Problem and Imagining Creative Solutions to Stories

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1 Grade 1, Unit 3 Realistic Fiction Adapted from Realistic Fiction (Unit 3) in A Curricular Plan for the Writing Workshop, Grade 1 by Calkins Section of the Unit of Study Minilesson Focus Points Time (approximate) 6 days Writers Draw on Everything We Know to Write Realistic Fiction Stories 3 days Lifting the Qualities of Effective Fiction Writing Writers dream about stories to write and then when we get to our writing time we often just write the first page to the books we might someday want to write. After we have written some first pages, we choose one and write that story. Writers dream up characters we want to put in our stories. The characters might be just like us or like other people we know. Writers imagine different kinds of problems our character might face and write lots of first pages to different story ideas that we ll turn into book Writes can use a planning booklet to imagine different ways a story could go. When we have an idea then we can sketch the pictures very quickly into our regular writing booklet to begin to write the story. Writing partners can talk together about possible ways the stories could go and act out those different ways and then ask our partners to help us decide which one is best. When writers finish one story, we quickly start another one. We imagine how our stories will get stronger and even better by thinking about what our character likes or doesn t like and how this might lead to the problem and solution in our story. Writers use everything we know to make our stories the best they can be. We use different kinds of punctuation, clear handwriting, spell with as many sounds as we can hear in words, and use the word wall to spell word in a snap. We also read our stories aloud with our partners, making sure our writing makes sense and sounds right. Writers stop and think about the important parts of our stories (when the character first realizes the problem, and when the character faces trouble or something gets in the way of solving the problem, or when the character finally solves the problem). We go back to those parts and slow them down by showing not telling the character s feelings, using lots of dialogue, action, and thinking. Writers use storytelling strategies to write our stories. We start with a lead, tell details about the setting, storytell what the character is saying or doing. We can act out the scene or close our eyes and picture how the character is moving, what he or she is saying, thinking, and feeling. 3 4 days Stretching Out the Problem and Imagining Creative Solutions to Stories Writers make their stories stronger by stretching out the problem and not giving the solution away too quickly. We can think about what trouble will get in our character s way to make the problem harder to solve. Writers can stretch out the problem by showing how the main character reacts to the problem, including what he or she says, thinks, and does. As we do this, we ll think about how who the characters is will influence how he or she reacts.

2 5 days Choosing Our Best work to Revise and Publish Writers write powerful endings to their realistic fiction by writing a few different endings and trying on each one to see which fits best. Writers need to make sure our endings make sense. We can ask our partners, Would that really happen? or What would a character have to think or do to make that happen? Then we can revise the way the problem gets solved to make sure the story is realistic. Writers always revise. We can add or take away parts to make our stories even better. We can add or take away from our stories by using paper flaps or strips. We can take apart our booklets with staple removers and add or remove pages to make our books longer or shorter in certain places. Writes work with partners to think of what to add in and what to take out of our stories. Our partners help us figure out what is missing and which parts need more information. Writers revise to make mind movies in our story and imagine we are the main character, living through each part. We try to write down, bit by bit, exactly what we are imagining so our readers can picture it, too. We know the tiniest details help our readers out a lot. Writers can revise in another way. We can think, Which page is the most important? Where in my story does the main character have the biggest feelings? Then, we can rewrite that page from top to bottom, using a flap or a new blank page, this time stretching out the moment even more including details that show feelings and slow down the actions. Writers can use our favorite realistic fiction books as mentors to help make our best stories even better. We can look at our justright books and ask, What are ways this writer stretched out the problem? Writes know its important that our stories make sense to our readers. Often, we go back and make sure our writing sounds like we want it to. We reread, adding in anything that we forgot or fixing something that we think is not quite right. We can use extra pieces of paper or strips to add in what s missing. We can ask our partners for help. Writers reread to make sure that what we have written is clear and easy to follow. We add in words that we forgot and punctuation we haven t used. Writers do our very best when spelling new words. We make sure word wall words are spelled correctly and sometimes if longer words are tricky to spell, we spend extra time thinking about them. We can try to write the word different ways, listening for sounds and thinking about possible ways to write those sounds, or even close our eyes and imagine what the word might look like. Then we look across the ways we ve spelled the word and pick the best one. 1 Day Publishing and Celebrating Minilessons or focus points can be taught in other times during writing instruction than just the minilesson time. Some could be taught in the middle of the workshop as a short teaching point, some might be saved as a short teaching point during the share time of the writing instruction. And some may just be needed in small group work or in individual conferences.

3 Some guidelines that may support teaching along the way: Preparation for the unit: Prepare a few of your own realistic fiction stories as mentor texts to have available for various minilessons. Gather a few of the class realistic fiction read alouds such as Peter s Chair by Keats or When Sophie Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang as mentor texts. Also, have a few of the just-right books that children are reading at various levels as models of the type of realistic fiction they are reading themselves as mentor texts. Because your students have grown in stamina and writing proficiency you need to prepare paper that supports this growth. Now there should be 6 or 7 lines per page and prepare some pages where there isn t a box for an illustration. Students may still be writing 4 5 page booklets but prepare some 6 page booklets to help them to begin to write longer stories. Also provide a supply of flaps, extra pages, tape, scissors, and staple remover for revising. Have available one new folder for each child that will become his/her revision folder. Bring in anchor charts from the small moments unit and begin to prepare some charts with new skills for this unit. Throughout this unit during storytime (not writing instruction time), it is helpful to develop a class story with one class character as a model for the storytelling and writing that the children will be doing. Continue to add a few words each week to the word wall and continue to coach students in the use of the word wall. Children should be writing more at this stage longer stories with less focus on the illustrations. Now they should be drawing very simple sketches. Writers Draw on Everything We Know to Write Realistic Fiction Stories Children will storytell and plan their stories first by telling stories across their fingers or as they turn pages of a 4 6 page booklet. A major focus of this unit is getting students to rehearse their stories by planning the problem and solution. They can also act out little scenes in the story to help with this rehearsal. Begin the unit by sharing with the students that fiction writers think of a character that is like them and about things they know about. Give specific examples like having a younger sibling, or a pet, or playing soccer, or drawing pictures. By giving these types of examples and having the students focus on real life type of activities children will get the idea that this is not about writing science fiction or about replicating some of their video games with characters. This is about writing about real things that happen in our lives. The difference in this realistic fiction and their small moments is that now they get to make up the character s gender, name, age, and even different character traits than their own. During this first lesson, you need to support them in brainstorming 5 or 6 good story ideas over a few days of writing time. During the active engagement they could practice brainstorming one story idea across their fingers. Then at their seats, they can practice storytelling at least 1 or 2 other ones. They engage in this storytelling activity for only about 10 minutes and then choose at least two of their stories to write out the first page of each one. The goal after two three days is to have at least 3 good story possibilities started with one page that they will be able to go back to and work on throughout the unit. Through all of this the concept that you want children to understand is that writers do lots of brainstorming before they settle on their one story. They are always thinking of better ideas. During the first three lessons, you continue providing support for the brainstorming of ideas especially about choosing characters and problems that the characters might face. You can share how a character s likes and dislikes can lead to trouble. Use some of the class read alouds as examples. Discuss how the character finds solutions to their problems. Writers ask themselves, What kinds of trouble have my characters been getting into? Could my character get into similar trouble? How might my character solve the problem differently? Remind children that they can be like writers of the books in their classroom by thinking about their stories even while they are home. They can storytell to their siblings or parents. Remind them by storytelling a story many times, it becomes easier to write the story.

4 Another strategy to point out if some children are struggling coming up with characters and ideas is to remind them they can think of the books they love and just change them around to make their own story. The structure of thinking they might us might be: Think of (favorite book) and how (character) really wanted (the goal) but something new gets in the way and then... After about 3 days of writing introduce a mini-booklet concept for planning different ways a story can go. Show the children how to take a sheet of paper, fold it in half and then fold that half into half so that there are 4 squares. Model now to sketch very quickly (half a minute on each page) how the story might go with each page representing one part of the story. Do not write words at this point. Model how to think through the entire book. The child would take only 3 minutes to make this mini book and then could make more than one version of the same story. As they finish the minibooklet they can storytell across the booklet. This work would take 5-10 minutes. This activity is helping them to imagine the problems the character gets into. Once the minibooklet is completed, the child can then sketch the pictures across the pages of a full size booklet or even begin writing the story. He could include more details in the illustrations in this booklet and even add speech bubbles, thought bubbles, labels, and other details. BUT these are just quick sketches. You are supporting children in moving from more extensive drawing that they did in kindergarten and early this year to less focus on illustrations and more focus on writing the words. Partners can spend time acting out their science as they are writing. One partner acts out an idea with a dramatic voice and the partner helps put words to the paper as the story evolves. One thing that students will need help with is storytelling rather than summarizing. Teach them to think, What exactly is happening at the start of my story? If this was a play or a movie what would the character be doing? Remind students that they won t use I, we, my but will use the character s name or he, she, they, and their. As the days of writing time progress, students need to understand as they finish one story they just keep writing more stories without reminders. Model for the children how as a writer you develop the main character by thinking about what the character likes and doesn t like. We also think about what the character is like, act it out, and then write what we acted out. Think, How does the character do things. Is she shy? Timid? Frantic? Another way for the children to think of this is by thinking about the problems they have faced in their own lives and giving the character a new way to solve the problem. After children understand that they need to include a goal for the character, help them understand that there is usually something in the way of accomplishing this goal trouble or a problem. You can remind them of some of the read alouds or even the stories in the Biscuit books or other just-right books they are reading. You can also point out this concept in The Three Billy Goats Gruff or Three Little Pigs. In the first few weeks, students are drafting 2 4 stories in a week. Lifting the Qualities of Effective Fiction Writing Remind the students of writing strategies they have learned in past units using effective punctuation choices so the reader s voice will change, making the writing and spelling legible and as accurate as possible, and rehearsing their writing aloud with a partner to make sure all the words and parts are there. Remind them to stretch out the important part the way they did in Small Moments by adding in dialogue and small actions and describing the setting. Writers also add in emotions of other characters. Remind them of some of the strategies from the Small Moments unit like beginning the story with the weather or showing the main character doing or saying something very specific. The only difference in this writing is that instead of beginning with I put on my soccer shoes and raced to the car they will write, Sammy put on his soccer shoes and raced to the car putting in the character s name and using the 3 rd person pronoun.

5 As the children think of these small actions, it might help them to move their bodies to mimi those actions to help them to think of all the small details. Stretching Out the Problem and Imagining Creative Solutions to Stories The focus of this section is helping students to elaborate the problem in their stories. They can show how the problem sometimes gets worse before they get better. The more they can make the problem hard to solve, the more tension there will be in their story. They can show how the character reacts to the problem what they say, think, and do. They can contrast how different characters react. What they have noticed in their reading (leveled texts) about how different characters react differently to the same problem. They can introduce some new characters. All of this can envisioning work can be done with their partners. Some language that may help the children as they stretch out the problem is to use words like, all of a sudden, suddenly, well, just then, before long, all at once, before he/she knew it and If... wasn t enough. As children write about how a character reaction to the problem they can also show how other characters in the story react in different ways to the problem. They can also elaborate the inside story by adding what the character is thinking or by saying how another character will feel about what this character did. Teach children how to write strong endings in which characters solve the problem. They can confer with partners and imagine how the story might end in a realistic ways. They should ask one another, Would that really happen? What would a character have to think or do to make that happen? As children work on their endings, you can point out that they could write one ending that will solve the problem to satisfy the reader. Then they could try another ending with a twist that will leave the reader wondering. They could try a third ending where the problem doesn t get solve, but instead, the character changes and decides that the problem no longer matters to him or her. Choosing Our Best Work to Revise and Publish There are more revision strategies here than what you will have time or need to teach. Some of them could be mid-workshop teaching points, some saved for teaching points during the share time at the end of the writing time, and some will be for individual students during conferences. Ask children to choose their very, very best writing from the previous weeks of work in the unit. Share that this is what writers do. Then teach them how to revise by rereading their writing and noticing where there are gaps. Point out the charts from previous units and this unit and ask the students to think what they will work on to make their piece the very, very best it can be. They then use the revising tools that are available. Provide each student with a revision folder and a colored pen, swatches of paper to add paragraphs onto their drafts and flaps to tape over parts they decide to revise. Teach them to use staple removers to make their books longer or shorter. Help students to understand that punctuation can guide the reader to certain feelings in a book. Point out the different feelings that would be evoked in one sentence if it ended in a period and then the same sentence if it ended in an exclamation point. As you teach children to work with partners to think of what to add in and what to take out of our stories, you could think about how the characters are feeling and write details that describe what those feelings might look like, on the character s face or in the way the character moves his or her body. Remind children that the reason to revise is to allow them to elaborate by telling a small portion step by step. They will need support in understanding that they need to storytell the story and create the little scenes they see int heri mind using dialogue and small actions. Point out that they revise to draw out the meaning of the story, thinking about why this story matters and then write to highlight that meaning. They can do this by asking, Which page is the most important? Where in my story does the main character have the biggest feelings? Once they choose this important page, then they can rewrite that page reliving the moment and depicting it with details which might end up now being two pages of text which would include dialogue and small actions.

6 Another revision strategy to teach is to create more literary beginnings or endings to the stories. Model how they can try writing a few different versions of a lead or an ending or any part of the story and think which version works best. They can study mentor texts that have been read alouds or just-right fiction they have been reading and name what the writer did in his or her beginning or ending. They can ask, What are ways this writer stretched out the problem? What are ways the writer developed the character? and then try those same strategies. They can ask Did I stretch out my problem? Could I get my character to try something to solve the problem but make the first attempt at solving the problem not work, just like... As you remind students to reread their writing to make sure it is clear, you might want to remind them to reread and make sure they have used the character s name all the way through and not first person pronouns instead. Reflection and Assessment Have each student complete the self-assessment. If some students are still very emergent in their reading and writing, you could have individual conferences with them, ask the questions orally, and record their answers for them.

7 NAME DATE WOW!! We are ready to celebrate our realistic fiction books and all the hard work that went into them. What did you do really well in your realistic fiction book? What was difficult for you? Tell me one new thing you learned in this unit.

8 Grade 1 Realistic Fiction, Unit 3 Benchmarks for Unit Rarely Sometimes Most of the Time More Than I Expect Writing Habits and Processes Generates topics and content for writing Before writing, thinks through a character and a problem Cycles through planning, writing, and revising without needing teacher intervention to progress. Rereads own work often with the expectation that others will be able to read it Solicits and provides responses to writing Revises, edits, and proofreads as appropriate Applies a sense of what constitutes good writing (applies some commonly agreed upon criteria to own work) Polishes 1 realistic fiction books Writing Purposes and Genres Evidence of a plan for their writing including a character, problem, and a solution Demonstrate an awareness and an ability to reproduce some of the literary style dialogue, gestures, story grammar, plot lines, developing one major part of the story Attempts to further develop the main character Imitate the strategies used by some of their mentor authors Language Use Writes the character s name (instead of I) and writes with third person pronouns Storytells instead of summarizes Sometimes mimics sentence structures and word choice from the mentor texts Writing Conventions Spells high-frequency word wall words correctly Writes write text that usually can be read by the child and others Draws on a range of resources for deciding how to spell unfamiliar words, including strategies like segmenting, sounding out, and matching to familiar words and word parts Automatically spells some familiar words and word endings correctly Uses punctuation accurately and sometimes uses conventions borrowed from a mentor author to add emphasis such as exclamation points Adapted from Stephanie Parsons in First Grade Writers Unit adaptation by Carrie Ekey, November, 2011

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