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Partnership Writing ages 9-10

The Partnership Writing stage: The most overlooked stage of development in the continuum. Your child shows growing proficiency in handwriting, reading, and spelling, but still finds the hard work of transcription tiring if asked to write for more than a few minutes. Original writing does not reflect the child’s verbal fluency. This is the stage where parent and child write together, with the parent providing the much-needed support to get those precious, quirky insights to the page.

Characteristics

  • Child can write a sentence or a few words at a time, but tires easily.
  • Child needs help with spelling, punctuation, and getting rich vocabulary to the page.
  • Child shows interest in using a pencil or keyboard, but not ready to “go it alone.”
  • Needs modeling for how to take thoughts and help them travel down an arm to the page.

For a more detailed look at this stage of growth in writing, listen to Julie talk about it on her podcast:
Partnership Writing

COPYWORK, DICTATION, REVERSE DICTATION

BASED ON The Writer's Jungle by Julie Bogart of Brave Writer:

One of the tools that we've explored is COPYWORK, DICTATION, and REVERSE DICTATION. When we take a sentence (we've taken ours from books) and look at it closely, examining and noticing and delving into the details, spelling, grammar, and punctuation, noticing specific rule-breakers and tricky bits, we offer kids a chance to analyze the mechanics of language when it is ALREADY in place. The writing is correct at the outset.

Once we've looked at the sentence together, really marinated in the details, it's time for COPYWORK.

The kids copy the sentence exactly, noticing and comparing their version to the original. Capitalization matters, letters in the appropriate relative size, with correct drops below the line (for g,y,p etc.) or rise to the top line (l, d, t, h, etc.). Punctuation matters. As the writing coach, you can simply notice things: "I notice that you have three capitalization errors. See if you can find them and correct them" OR "Notice where the comma goes at the end of the quotation."

If the sentence is too long, the writer will fatigue and get resistant, so start with shorter sentences (or phrases) and work your way up. You might even begin with a single word. Over time, handwriting should become more neat and clean. Expectations can move slowly or more quickly, depending on the physical difficulty for this particular writer.

Once the sentence is correct, and if the writer isn't too fatigued (if he is, do the next part another time), it's time for DICTATION. 

Often, I refer to dictation as being the personal scribe or secretary for your young writer. That is an incredibly powerful way to help the writer develop authorship beyond the nascent skill of his or her hands. The work that I am describing here, however, is about developing faster, more accurate hands WITHOUT simultaneously being the author. 

In this case, DICTATION is simply where you, the writing coach, read the sentence you've just reviewed for COPYWORK aloud, as slowly as necessary, to the writer as they try to "copy it from their MIND." I usually have them fold the perfectly copied sentence over to hide it from themselves as they attempt the DICTATION sentence.

Once they complete the DICTATION (COPYWORK from their mind), they get to look at the original (what you wrote or printed for them, or their own COPYWORK, if it's clean and clear). Now they compare and notice what they missed. 

If they are not melting down yet, you get to have them fold the paper over again and you dictate the sentence to them a second time. This can continue until they get it perfect. Or, it might be time to stop.

The third step, REVERSE DICTATION is often their favorite.

Here is when you write the same sentence, making mistakes, often the ones the writer was struggling with or common errors that you've discussed. Now, in the role of proofreader, the young writer gets to find all of your errors. I offer a "point" per error they find, and I offer hints to find more. They then can get a point for each error that they correct.

After that, they can LOOK at the original, correct version for a final sweep to find anything they missed.

This practice can be done in a very short, simple form several times a week, or once a week for a more sustained practice. It is the single most effective way to help young writers develop the mechanical skills that they need completely apart from the generative writing and wordcraft that they need to develop as authors.

I highly recommend it!

2014-1015 Tuesday Writing Focus and Inquiry with Deb

Dr. Moonflower and Carnivora Fascinerious Panthera

 

By Rosa, Cory, Ellwyn, Sofia, and Deb

 

Chapter 1

 

“I’d recognize that voice anywhere,” said Mr. Manchineel, the school principal as he stepped off the cliff.

“Hasta la vista, Manchineel,” Dr. Moonflower chuckled as he watched the huge man drop out of sight. “Bring her back by sunset, or I’ll feed you one of your very own, particular APPLES.”

 

Mr. Manchineel landed with a thump on Mr. Mazulee’s head and tumbled onto the flying carpet. “Whatcha doin’, Wackineel?” Mr. Mazulle whined as he lost control of the carpet for a moment.

 

“Ah- ah- ah- ah-”

 

Mr. Mazulee ducked just in time.

 

“CHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” Mr. Manchineel’s sneeze sprayed on the carpet, just missing Mr. Mazulee’s large behind as he tumbled away, stopping perilously close to the opposite edge of the carpet.

 

“Oi!” Mazulee cried, panting and staring slack-jawed at the dizzying drop off, then quickly averting his gaze. Unnoticed, a small golden object flew out of Mr. Mazulee’s pocket and dropped to the sea below.

 

As Mazulee righted himself, he blanched. Wherever Manchineel's spittle had touched, the carpet began to sizzle. “Whatcha doing, you barnacle-bottomed, scabby sea-bass?” Mr. Mazulee roared, clinging to the wobbly carpet. “Me rug’s on fire!”

 

Mr. Manchineel simply glared, his eyes bulging and green. “Quiet, idiot. Back to the school to grab the girl. We have ‘till sunset.”

 

 

Carnivora tried to smooth her shirt down as she carefully patted the pocket of her horrible school skirt. Certain that no one had seen her she brushed away the footprints of the lions from the clearing and headed along the trail back to the school. As usual, she had bits of dandelion fluff and tawny fur clinging to her uniform and one of her sleeves was torn.

 

Realizing she was late again, she began to lope down the wooded trail. She emerged just behind the cafeteria and rushed to Ms. Mogblog’s classroom. Everyone was already seated and looked at her with derisive snickers and taunting smirks as she came through the door.

 

She scrambled to her seat. Ms. Mogblog was saying, “You’re not going to believe this.” She leaned her grey head toward her large oak desk and blew the dust off an old map. Just then the ceiling speaker crackled and a disembodied voice said: “Carnivora Facinerious Panthera, report to the principal’s office immediately.”

 

Carnivora knocked timidly on Mr. Manchineel’s door. “Get in here,” she heard and she slipped noiselessly into the room. The principal sat behind his large oak desk. Something sizzled and smoked in a small ceramic dish on the desk. It looked like the remains of handkerchief. He turned his bulbous green eyes on her and said, “You are Carnivora Fascinerious Panthera?”

 

“Yes,” she replied.

 

He drew a large polka-a-dotted handkerchief from his pocket and twirled it. “Climb in,” he said, gesturing to a large black trunk covered in dust. By way of helping her decide to comply he blew his nose loudly into the handkerchief which immediately began to sizzle. He dropped it meaningfully into the ceramic dish where it burned and smouldered to ash. The smoke burned Carnivora’s eyes but she didn’t give him the satisfaction of rubbing them.  

 

Without a word, Carnivora turned and stepped into the trunk. She settled into it and pulled the lid over her head. She heard the lock click.   

 

Chapter 2

 

Minkie Ateles crawled out from under the bushes just as Carnivora headed down the trail. She scurried after the mysterious girl with her mane of wild brown hair and scuffed knees who seemed so out of place in the hideous, rumpled school uniform. Minkie had seen everything and knew the strange girl’s marvelous secret. She found herself much too fascinated to worry about getting home for lunch. Mum would be worried, probably mad as well, but as Minkie padded hurriedly on her bare feet after Lion Girl, as she thought of her, worry about science experiments and story writing faded from her mind entirely.

 

As she approached the school, Minkie saw the girl duck into a classroom and watched the door close behind her. She’d have to wait, so she settled into the crook of a tree overhanging the nearly dead lawn surrounded by the low buildings with their line of doors standing silently at attention like bored soldiers. Just as she pulled her half-whittled pig-dragon and her small, blue pocket knife from her satchel, ready to while away an hour, the door to the classroom opened and Lion Girl stepped back out onto the covered cement pathway.

 

Minkie stowed her things back in the leather bag slung over her shoulder, along with a small green apple she plucked from the tree. She silently dropped to the ground to follow Lion Girl toward a large, sinister building towering ominously above the rest of the school. She slunk over to a tall dead-looking tree with grey bark. Scattered along it’s gangly branches were shiny green leaves and little green buds. It had the same small green apples she had plucked earlier.

 

Quickly she scaled the tree, nimble as a monkey, and leapt to a narrow stone ledge that circled the building on the top floor. She strained to hear anything from inside the building or to see the glimmer of any lights. Hearing nothing, seeing nothing, she carefully stretched her bare toes out along the cold stone of the ledge and began inching her way around the building toward the next set of windows.

 

She leaned forward and peered into the window while also straining her ears. “Get in,” she heard someone say.

She rubbed a spot clean on the window. In the dark room she saw a huge man twirling a handkerchief. He brought the handkerchief to his oversized nose, and the sound that ensued was so vile and so surprisingly loud that she nearly startled off the ledge. She regained her balance just in time to see flame engulf the handkerchief. In the dim glow of the flame she watched Lion Girl step into a large black trunk. The lid closed and clicked.

 

The enormous man rose, picked up the ceramic dish from his desk into which he had dropped the flaming handkerchief, and walked toward the window. Minkie ducked quickly into the shadows. The man spat into the dish and produced another handkerchief which he dunked into the spittle and ash. He began to rub the dampened cloth in a circle on the inside of the window.

 

Minkie gasped as the glass began to sizzle. Moments later shards of smoking glass sprayed everywhere, a piece narrowly missing her face. The man leaned his bulbous nose and bulging eyes out of the hole in the window and lifted a gnarled, greyish hand to his thick lips. A piercing whistle shattered the air and almost instantaneously she heard a voice from somewhere in the air behind her. She shrank even more into the shadows.

 

“Oi! Whackaniell, you have the girl?”

 

“Of course, idiot,” the man in the window said through gritted teeth. “Get over here.”

 

To Minkie’s utter amazement, a flying carpet swooped up to the window not two feet from where she perched, clinging to the cracks and carvings on the side of the building, trying desperately to blend into the stone and shadow. On the carpet she saw a strange little man with a long red beard and an oversized bottom, waving his hands wildly as he maneuvered the carpet, keeping it hovering just below the window. “Heave ho, Wacakanieel!

 

From the shattered window the end of the black trunk appeared. The huge man grunted as he shoved it further out the opening until it broke free and dropped like a stone directly onto the little man’s head.

 

“Whatcha doing, you barnacle-bottomed, scabby sea-bass?” roared Mr. Mazulee from under the trunk. “Why’re you forever dropping things on me head?” He crawled out from under the trunk and scrambled to his feet, the rug tipping precariously. Immediately, he fell again, bouncing up and down on his ample behind, the trunk rocking back and forth like a boat in a storm.

 

At that moment, Mr. Manchineel climbed to the windowsill and stepped off into space. He plummeted to the rug below, landing square on Mr. Mazulee’s head. While the air exploded with more cursing and the magic carpet writhed like a roller coaster ride, Minke made her move.

 

Chapter 3

 

Carnivora dug her fingernails into the wood of the trunk as it pitched and rolled after the horrid and sudden drop. She tried to imagine where it had landed. Someone was cursing and yelling and she felt the trunk shift as if something had crawled out from under it. Suddenly, the trunk tipped frighteningly the other way and the cursing grew louder.

 

She felt a bit queasy with all the tipping and rocking and jouncing and bouncing in the dark trunk. Her head banged on the lid, her elbows cracked against the sides, and her knees knocked her in the face.

 

Tentatively, she reached her fingers toward the pocket of her skirt. They were still there, still safe. She smiled. Just then, she thought she felt something land lightly on the trunk. Moments later, she heard a frantic whispering through the narrow crack where the lid met the body of the trunk.

 

“Lion Girl, are you okay?”

 

 

Far away, in his cave Dr. Moonflower looked up to where the moonlight streamed in through the small hole far above his head.

 

Minke clung to the side of the black trunk like a spider. Her long toes wrapped themselves in the fringe of the carpet, her fingers gripped the cold metal handles on either end of the trunk as she whispered frantically through the narrow slit between the body of the trunk and the lid.

 

“Lion Girl, are you okay?” she whispered again. Still, she heard no answer. The huge man called Wackineel sat like a mountain on the other side of patterned carpet, facing away from the trunk. By his side, the small man with the fat bottom waved his hands about and chattered constantly, cursing and blabbering at the top of his voice.

 

Minke decided to risk getting louder. “Lion Girl,” she tried again, “are you okay.”

 

In the trunk, Carnivora pondered this. Who could this be? Who knew her secret? She did not answer. It might be a trick. She fingered her pocket again, and tried to imagine what she would do when they opened the trunk.

 

Just then, the carpet began a steep descent, curving sharply to the left. Minke clutched the handles of the trunk to keep from being flung off into space. She bit her tongue to keep from screaming.

 

“Hang onto yer hat, gov,” Mazulee yelled, whooping with glee until Mr. Manchineel lost his balance and landed smack onto Mr. Mazulee head. This, of course, caused the carpet to careen wildly, and Mr. Mazulee to explode with curses.  

 

As they untangled themselves, Mr. Manchineel pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket to mop his brow, glaring ferociously at Mr. Mazulee. He struggled for breath and coughed, spitting into the handkerchief.

 

Mr. Mazulee had cracked his head on the edge of the trunk during the commotion and was bleeding. “Help a fellow out, then, whydon’tcha ya skirt-wearing, parrot-loving, scurvy sea dog!” he bellowed.

 

With a tiny bow and a smirk, Mr. Manchineel handed him the handkerchief. “Your head is bleeding, idiot. Clean it up.”

 

Mr. Mazulee screamed as the cut on his head began to sizzle and smoke, and then burst into flame. He ran about on the carpet, his head on fire, screaming and flailing wildly. Mr. Manchineel quietly dodged him, still smirking, until he noticed something dreadful.

 

“Shut up, you doddering idiot. The trunk is gone.”

 

Chapter 4

 

When the trunk fell, Minkie did not let go. Down, down, down the trunk spun and tumbled. Minkie watched in horror, trying not to imagine what would happen when they slammed into the sea. As she fell, she saw a small speck grow larger below. Perhaps she would not hit the sea after all. Bit by bit, the speck became an island rising from the endless blue of ocean.

 

Closer and closer, larger and larger, the island grew enormous as they fell, Carnivora, trapped inside the trunk, and Minkie clinging to it with all twenty fingers and toes as the ground swelled to greet them.  Or was it the ground? She watched in terror as a vast green canopy of trees reached for her from an endless jungle below, until at last she was in it, branches and leaves ripping at her clothes and finally tearing her from the trunk. Head over heels she plunged through the sea of leaves, alone, far from home. She grabbed at the branches and vines whipping by. At last one did not slip from her grasp.

 

Like a fish making a run only to come to the end of the line, Minkie slammed hard into greenery, dangling at the end of a long vine twisting away, far up into the treetops. She was scratched and bleeding, her heart was racing, her hands trembled and shook, but she was alive. Using the momentum of her abrupt stop, she swung the vine toward a huge branch layered with overlapping smaller branches and vines and leaves, almost like a platform. Still holding the vine, she leapt to the relative safety of this island of branches.

 

She didn’t see the trunk anywhere.

 

Carefully, she stood, the branches and vines almost like a floor under her bare feet. Where was the trunk with Lion Girl inside it? She climbed up a ways, wrapping the vine around her waist, trying to get above the mass of leaves so that she could see more. She slipped and soared again out into the void between island after island of twisted,  green forest canopy, now and then catching brief glimpses of the forest floor far, far below.

 

Minkie decided to climb the vine. Wrapping her feet in the ropy, slick vine, she reached up and pulled. Hand over hand, fingers and feet clinging and reaching, she emerged above the treeline. The vine continued above her to the top of a lone tree, brown and wind-blasted, baking in the sun. Dangling in the breeze above the jungle she squinted, peering at tumble of green that spread for miles in all directions below her.

 

There, off to her left, she saw something. She grabbed the vine that had saved her, and launched herself off the platform of greenery with a whoop.

 

Flying through the air, she sailed toward the object she had spotted, and lithely dropped to the canopy where she now saw that bits of shattered black wood made a circle around... a huge female lion.

“Oops,” she said, pushing off again.

 

 

Carnivora saw a girl swinging on a long vine, unbrushed black hair flying wildly, a filthy face, mud-painted clothes and feet. For a moment, Carnivora thought she saw a long tail trailing from the girl’s backside, until she realized that it was merely the vine.

 

The girl’s whoop of glee startled Carnivora, and she quickly ducked behind the trunk of the tree she had landed on, hiding in some leaves.

 

Taraxacum, come,” she ordered. But the lion ignored Carnivora and stood her ground as the Monkey Girl swooped closer and dropped onto the greenery, coming face to face with Taraxacum. Carnivora watched the girl’s face change from wild glee to consternation and heard her say, “Oops.”

Focus with Deb

 


 

THIS FOCUS GROUP BEGINS at 9:40 and GOES UNTIL 10:40. PLEASE BE ON TIME!

 

Writer's Toolkit and Storycraft


 

We are looking at tools for writers, wordplay, and storycraft, AND at creating a safe writing community as the primary goals of the group.

April 28

Chapter 2, continued...

 

She leaned forward and peered into the window while also straining her ears. “Get in,” she heard someone say. She rubbed a spot clean on the window. In the dark room she saw a huge man twirling a handkerchief. He brought the handkerchief to his oversized nose, and the sound that ensued was so vile and so surprisingly loud that she nearly startled off the ledge. She regained her balance just in time to see flame engulf the handkerchief. In the dim glow of the flame she watched Lion Girl step into a large black trunk. The lid closed and clicked.

 

The enormous man rose, picked up the ceramic dish from his desk into which he had dropped the flaming handkerchief, and walked toward the window. Minkie ducked quickly into the shadows. The man spat into the dish and produced another handkerchief which he dunked into the spittle and ash. He began to rub the dampened cloth in a circle on the inside of the window.

 

Minkie gasped as the glass began to sizzle. Moments later shards of smoking glass sprayed everywhere, a piece narrowly missing her face. The man leaned his bulbous nose and bulging eyes out of the hole in the window and lifted a gnarled, greyish hand to his thick lips. A piercing whistle shattered the air and almost instantaneously she heard a voice from somewhere in the air behind her. She shrank even more into the shadows.

 

“Oi! Whackaniell, you have the girl?”

 

“Of course, idiot,” the man in the window said through gritted teeth. “Get over here.”

 

To Minkie’s utter amazement, a flying carpet swooped up to the window not two feet from where she perched, clinging to the cracks and carvings on the side of the building, trying desperately to blend into the stone and shadow. On the carpet she saw a strange little man with a long red beard and an oversized bottom, waving his hands wildly as he maneuvered the carpet, keeping it hovering just below the window. “Heave ho, Wacakanieel!

 

From the shattered window the end of the black trunk appeared. The huge man grunted as he shoved it further out the opening until it broke free and dropped like a stone directly onto the little man’s head.

April 14

We started the second chapter, introducing an ally for Carnivora because we had written, "Certain that no one had seen her" and realized that this was a promise to our readers that, in fact, someone HAD seen her... 

 

Chapter 2

 

Minkie Ateles crawled out from under the bushes just as Carnivora headed down the trail. She scurried after the mysterious girl with her mane of wild brown hair and scuffed knees who seemed so out of place in the hideous, rumpled school uniform. Minkie had seen everything and knew the strange girl’s marvelous secret. She found herself much too fascinated to worry about getting home for lunch. Mum would be worried, probably mad as well, but as Minkie padded hurriedly on her bare feet after Lion Girl, as she thought of her, worry about science experiments and story writing faded from her mind entirely.

 

As she approached the school, Minkie saw the girl duck into a classroom and watched the door close behind her. She’d have to wait, so she settled into the crook of a tree overhanging the nearly dead lawn surrounded by the low classroom buildings, doors standing silently at attention like bored soldiers. Just as she pulled her half-whittled pig-dragon and her small, blue pocket knife from her satchel, ready to while away an hour, the door to the classroom opened and Lion Girl stepped back out onto the covered cement pathway.

 

Minkie stowed her things back in the leather bag slung over her shoulder, along with a small green apple she plucked from the tree. She silently dropped to the ground to follow Lion Girl toward a large, sinister building towering ominously above the rest of the school. She slunk over to a tall dead-looking tree with grey bark. Scattered along it’s gangly branches were shiny green leaves and little green buds. Sprinkled among the leaves were more of the same small green apples she had plucked earlier.

 

Quickly she scaled the tree, nimble as a monkey, and leapt to a small stone ledge that circled the building on the top floor. She strained to hear anything from inside the building or to see the glimmer of any lights. Hearing nothing, seeing nothing, she carefully stretched her bare toes out along the cold stone of the ledge and began inching her way around the building toward the next set of windows.

April 7

What does the character know, what does the reader know, what does the author know? We played with these questions a lot today. We made some small revisions and asked ourselves questions about what might be happening, about who knows what when, and about how important it is for the reader to trust that the author KNOWS what's going on, even though we don't actually yet know exactly where the story is going. We also discussed how to use what we know from theater to create good dialogue embedded in action rather than in static description.

 

Chapter 1

 

“I’d recognize that voice anywhere,” said Mr. Manchineel, the school principal as he stepped off the cliff.

 

“Hasta la vista, Manchineel,” Dr. Moonflower chuckled as he watched the little man drop out of sight. “Bring her back by sunset, or I’ll feed you one of my particular APPLES.”

 

Mr. Manchineel landed with a thump on Mr. Mazulee’s head and tumbled onto the flying carpet. “Whatcha doin’, Wackineel?” Mr. Mazulle whined as he lost control of the carpet for a moment.

 

“Ah- ah- ah- ah-”

 

Mr. Mazulee ducked just in time.

 

“CHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” Mr. Manchineel’s sneeze sprayed on the carpet, just missing Mr. Mazulee’s large behind as he tumbled away, stopping perilously close to the opposite edge of the carpet.

 

“Oi!” Mazulee cried, panting and staring slack-jawed at the dizzying drop off, then quickly averting his gaze. Unnoticed, a small golden object flew out of Mr. Mazulee’s pocket and dropped to the sea below.

 

As Mazulee righted himself, he blanched. Wherever Manchineel's spittle had touched, the carpet began to sizzle. “Whatcha doing, you barnacle-bottomed, scabby sea-bass,” Mr. Mazulee roared, clinging to the wobbly carpet. “Me rug’s on fire!”

 

Mr. Manchineel simply glared, his eyes bulging and green. “Quiet, idiot. Back to the school to grab the girl. We have ‘till sunset.”
 

 

 

Carnivora tried to smooth her shirt down as she carefully patted the pocket of her horrible school skirt. Certain that no one had seen her, she brushed away the footprints of the lions from the clearing and headed along the trail back to the school. As usual, she had bits of dandelion fluff and tawny fur clinging to her uniform and one of her sleeves was torn.

 

Realizing she was late again, she began to lope down the wooded trail. She emerged just behind the cafeteria and rushed to Ms. Mogblog’s classroom. Everyone was already seated and looked at her with derisive snickers and taunting smirks as she came through the door.

 

She scrambled to her seat. Ms. Mogblog was saying, “You’re not going to believe this.” She leaned her grey head toward her large oak desk and blew the dust off an old map. Just then the ceiling speaker crackled and a disembodied voice said: “Carnivora Facinerious Panthera, report to the princlpal’s office immediately.”

 

Carnivora knocked timidly on Mr. Manchineel’s door. “Get in here,” she heard, and she slipped noiselessly into the room. The principal sat behind his large oak desk. Something sizzled and smoked in a small ceramic dish on the desk. It looked like the remains of handkerchief. He turned his bulbous green eyes on her and said, “You are Carnivora Fascinerious Panthera?”

 

“Yes,” she replied.

 

He drew a large polka-a-dotted handkerchief from his pocket and twirled it. “Climb in,” he said, gesturing to a large black trunk covered in dust. By way of helping her decide to comply, he blew his nose loudly into the handkerchief which immediately began to sizzle. He dropped it meaningfully into the ceramic dish where it burned and smouldered to ash.


Without a word, Carnivora turned and stepped into the trunk. She settled into it and pulled the lid over her head. She heard the lock click.  

March 24

HERE's WHAT WE WROTE TODAY:

Carnivera tried to smooth her shirt down as she patted the pocket of her horrible school skirt. Certain that no one had seen her she brushed away the footprints of the lions from the clearing and headed along the trail back to the school. As usual, she had bits of dandelion fluff and tawny fur clinging to her uniform and one of her sleeves was torn.

 

Realizing she was late again, she began to lope down the wooded trail. She emerged just behind the cafeteria and rushed to Ms. Mogblog’s classroom. Everyone was already seated and looked at her with derisive snickers and taunting looks as she came through the door.


As she scrambled to her seat Ms. Mogblog was saying, “You’re not going to believe this.” She leaned her grey head toward her large oak desk and blew the dust off an old map.“ Just then the ceiling crackled and a disembodied voice said: “Carnivora Facinerious Panthera, report to the princlpal’s office immediately.”

March 17th

Began a story together using action, dialogue, and research to entice our readers.

 

“I’d recognize that voice anywhere,” said Mr. Manchineel, the school principal as he stepped off the cliff.

 

“Hasta la vista, Manchineel,” Dr. Moonflower chuckled as he watched the little man drop out of sight. “Bring her back by sunset, or I’ll feed you an APPLE.”

 

Mr. Manchineel landed with a thump on Mr. Mazulee’s head and tumbled onto the flying carpet. “Whatcha doin’, Wackineel?” Mr. Mazulle whined as he lost control of the carpet for a moment.

 

“Ah- ah- ah- ah-”

 

Mr. Mazulee ducked just in time.

 

“CHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” Mr. Manchineel’s sneeze sprayed on the edge of the carpet, just missing Mr. Mazulee’s behind as he tumbled away, perilously close to the other edge of the carpet. A small golden object flew, unnoticed, out of Mr. Mazulee’s pocket and dropped to the sea below. Wherever Manchineel's spittle had touched, the carpet began to sizzle.

 

“Whatcha doing, you barnacle-bottomed, scabby sea-bass,” Mr. Mazulee roared, clinging to the wobbly carpet. “Me rug’s on fire!”


Mr. Manchineel simply glared, his eyes bulging and green. “Oh quiet, idiot. Back to the school to grab the girl. We have ‘till sunset.”

Week #6

Today we had a small group and used a flip-book story starter to begin a fabulous story. So far, we have the following bits and pieces:

"I'd recognize that voice anywhere," said Mr. Makaneill, the school principal, as he stepped off the cliff.  He will be a villain. His name is a kind of poison, so he will be toxic! 

"Hide us before anyone sees us!" said Dr. Moonflower as he turned on the flashlight. He is the most evil of all. His name comes from a nightblooming flower, all parts of which are toxic. It grows very tall, has five petals, large brown seeds, and is sometimes called the Thornapple (lpomoea alba). He poisons people at night, but we haven't yet decided why.

"Oh, no! I forgot my key," said Mr. Mazulee, the salesperson, as he stepped onto the magic carpet. 

"You're not going to believe this," said Dr. Magblog, the astronaut, as she blew the dust off the old map.

And FINALLY, our PROTAGONIST:

"I'll never forget this day," said Carnivera Facinerious Panthera, the lion tamer, as she peered into the small hole. She will keep tiny lions in her pocket that grow.... 

Weeks 2-5

Nancy saw a giant ice castle. 

Violet had a real knack for inventing and building strange devices.

We played with these two sentences. We examined the details of spelling and some other rules, and everyone copied the sentences. Then we corrected a version filled with mistakes, working together. Finally, we wrote the sentences without seeing the original. We took all the letters of the sentences and made other words from them, pretending that if we couldn't make the word then the thing (noses, breathing, dragons) didn't exist. We used tiles to make the words, including, with the second sentence, the word facinerious.*

facinerious (ˌfæsɪnˈɪərɪəs) 

Definitions

adjective

  1. (obsolete) (in the works of Shakespeare) extremely wicked and vile

LOOKING FOR PARENTS

Interested in examining the impact of regular writing "coach" practices on the independent writing fluency of your kids... a great opportunity for reluctant writers or to help writers begin to revise more.

I will work with interested parents on coaching ideas, and will partner with you during the year. I'm looking to see growth in the young writers' independent writing as a result of consistent one-to-one parent coaching and support. 

If you are interested, please complete this formThanks!

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Being a Writing Coach

1. You are building a writer, not a piece of writing.

2. Writing is a process; when we support kids to understand, learn, and practice the process we support them to respect the complexity of developing as a writer.

3. Developing fluency, accuracy, and craft takes time; most kids need to separate the tasks of finding words for their thoughts and getting words to the page.

4. Helping your child is a good thing; it is not cheating.

5. Becoming independently fluent, accurate, and able to craft writing for a reader is the goal, learned much like independent fluency, accuracy, and craft as a pianist or a driver. Mentoring is helpful, the process takes time, and practice is essential.

Small Moment Writing Planner

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SMALL MOMENT STORY

We will focus on personal narratives known as SMALL MOMENT stories (a Lucy Calkins concept).


Start by finding your BIG THING THAT HAPPENED. That’s the big box.

Now, decide if you have two moments before or two moments after that moment to tell. Limit the story to the action just before and just after the BIG THING.

Plan your big moment, work through the nearby moments. Tell your story to your partner. Think of details and dialogue. Picture it, hear it, re-live it. Now, WRITE!

TOPIC FUNNEL

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TOPIC FUNNEL and SMALL MOMENT STORIES

TOPIC FUNNEL

This idea comes from Julie Bogart, Founder of Brave Writer, author of The Writer’s Jungle

  • The Topic Funnel takes a list of ideas ~ as broad or narrow as it starts, from “things I love to do” to “kinds of WWII bombers” and gets to a narrow slice of the topic before the writer begins.

  • Big FUNNEL. Start with your general topic and make a list of what comes to mind. PICK ONE THING from your list. Toss that into the FUNNEL again.

  • Next smaller FUNNEL. Make a list about the ONE THING from your first list. PICK ONE THING from this list. Toss that into the FUNNEL again.

  • Next smaller FUNNEL. Make your list about the ONE THING from the previous FUNNEL. PICK ONE THING...

  • and so on until you have a list of details that tell your specific, SMALL MOMENT story.

  • Write a STATEMENT about the story. Example: I once nearly blew my brother up.

  • FLIP the statement to a QUESTION. First person, past tense is often the strongest way to word it. What happened when I…? OR What’s the story of...? OR How did I…?

Week 1: Investigated the Topic Funnel and Small Moment Story Planner

Week 2: We tried a Copywork exercise for a sentence from SQUIRT story: Nancy saw a giant ice castle. Made our hands STOP WHINING AND GET TO WORK! We discussed the way that c, y, and g all get multiple sounds, how castle has a silent letter, ice has a silent e, and we examined which letters touch the sky and which go underground. Had lots of fun correcting my mistakes in a Reverse Dictation with this same sentence, and executed all my CAPITAL crimes. ;-)