Friday, September 26, 2008

Mem Fox, Our Writing Mentor!

One of the most interesting Standard-based Bulletin Boards this month comes from the TDs (Randi Timmons and Cathy Daniels) first grade classroom. The class opened the year with an Author Study of Aussie Mem Fox. As they have been reading Mem’s books, they have been filling in an attribute chart that focused on parts of a narrative story including: Who? (characters) When and Where? (setting), What and Why? (the events) and Fun Language. As the students filled in the attribute chart with each new Mem Fox book they were able to visually see the ways that the books were the same and different, so they were able to “talk across the books of a single author.”

What came next is an interesting twist. The teachers echoed the Readers’ Workshop lesson with writing narrative stories in the Writers’ Workshop (using Lucy Calkins Small Moments: Personal Narrative Writing and Authors as Mentors). After completing Mem’s Attribute Chart, they started a new Attribute Chart in Writers’ Workshop featuring two of the young writers in the class. After each of the kid authors wrote his story during the Workshop, the next day's mini-lesson included filling in the attributes of each child’s story. In this way the children could see that a story by Mem Fox had the same attributes as a story written by one of their peers! Mem had characters. The kid authors had characters. Mem included the setting. The kid authors included the setting...The bulletin board displays the Mem Fox attribute chart and the kid attribute chart with the writing of both young men.

The stories are transcribed below:

When I Went to the Mall One day I went to the mall. We walked a long time. I had a happy time at the mall. I got a dart board. I love my present. You throw the dart at the board. Then it sticks. We ate at the mall. I ate a hamburger. It was yummy with ketchup. My dad had chicken. We started walking. There were a lot of people. My food was good. I loved it. We started to walk away. Then we saw the train. We did not go on the train. The train was red. We looked at the train and the train was going fast. There was a man sleeping in the sand with a butterfly on his nose. There was a croc in the water. There were giant clams and a sting ray. I walked and walked. Then we searched for clothes. We did not buy any clothes. Then we went home. Mom and Dad said, “Isabella and Even, it is time to go.” I was angry that I had to go but I will come back again. Wouldn’t you?

I visited Bacha for 12 days. Bacha lives in Poland. She is an old lady. One day I went to the mountains and touched the clouds. I went in the hanger up the mountains. No wall. No floors. No ceiling. Just chairs! First I got to the top of the mountains. I saw the people small as an ant up on the mountain. I went on the car down the mountain. The car went really high. One car goes up and one car goes down. I like Poland so much. I go on 3 airplanes to get back to Jacksonville. I want to go again!

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

What a great echo across the day! I love this idea and know that teachers reading this will embrace this idea and run with it!