Monday, April 8, 2013

Cross Genre Bulletin Board

This month's bulletin board stands on the shoulders of all the writing that the children have done in Kindergarten and First Grade. This unit encouraged children to write in the genre of their choice.  It began as part of a shared event, our Starry Starry Sleepover, which is where the background paper and title come from.  Students were encouraged to write a small moment about the actual event or that write a report on any of the solar system's planets, stars or sun that we had studies, or write a fiction story about aliens and pretend sleepovers.  One student even wrote a procedural paper on how to draw Star Wars figure!  The possibilities were endless.  When students first choose their own genre, they tend to lose some of the foundational knowledge that they have about the genre, so it was evident early on that they were going to need a rubric to help them through the process and to remind them of the standards and expectation for each genre.  Below is the narrative rubric that they used. After the initial writing, the students were free to choose any topic that they wanted.

Cross Genre – Child’s Choice

Name ________________

3rd Nine Weeks, Chets Creek, 2013 

Gives time, place or occasion (setting) and introduces the characters
Time, place or occasion is confusing or may be missing; may or may not introduce characters
Does not establish a context or introduce characters
Develops a story with at least two events
Story is hard to follow
Events are out of order or missing
Information and Detail
Includes details to describe incidents and people; uses dialogue
Includes some detail or may attempt to use dialogue
No detail; no dialogue
Provides a sense of closure
Closing is unclear
Does not include a closing
Drawings match the topic
Illustrations do not add to the story
Few illustrations are included and are not related to the story
Uses capitals at the beginning of most sentence, uses capitals for proper nouns; capitalizes I
Capitalizes inconsistently even with editing
Capitalizes inconsistently and uses capitals in the middle of some words even with editing
Uses a variety of punctuations at the end of sentences
Some punctuation but some is missing
Most punctuation is missing even with editing
Spells almost all sight words correctly using the word wall; uses rules when spelling unknown words
Spells  some sight words from the word wall correctly; writes the sounds heard in unknown words
Writing is difficult to read
Spaces between words so that piece is easy to read
Spaces are inconsistent
Spacing is so difficult that it makes the piece difficult to read
Uses more sophisticated revision strategies such as adding a flap/ spider legs or cutting the paper to add content in the middle of the paper
Uses a caret to add a word
Does not revise

Presented here will be two of the translated narrative pieces with the teacher commentary.

Space Hamsters
by Nicky

One time there were four hamsters.  Their names were Leo, Mark, Jack, and Snacky.  They were special hamsters.

“COOL,” said Leo.  “But what’s that?” said Mark. “That’s a warning light,” said Jack.  “I want a snack,” said Snacky.  “What’s that lever for?” said Snacky.  “Don’t touch that!” said Leo.  But he touched it…

“NO!  We’re not ready to go to Venus!!!” said Leo.  “How do we steer?” said Mark.  “I want a snack!” said Snacky.  “I think I know how to steer?” said Jack.  So he tried and he did it…

And he stepped on the gas pedal and he wasted all the gas!  They screamed, “Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah!!!”  “I wanted a snack for this whole trip and now I’m going to die!!! So now, can I have a snack?” said Snacky. “NNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOO!!!” said the others.  BOOM!!!  “AHAHAHAHA…” “Wait a minute.  I think we’re alive,” said Snacky.  Jack felt a tap, tap, tap and he screamed.  “Ah ah ah ALIEN!”  said Jack.  He jumped into Leo’s hands!  It was another space hamster!

“Oh, hi,” said Jack. “What’s up?” said Leo.  “Hay!” said Mark.  “What’s your name?” said Jack.   “Giovanni.”  “WWWWOOOWWW!! Nice name!” said Jack.  He was sarcastic.  “Where’s your space ship?” said Mark.  “Over there,” said Giovanni.  “Have any gas in it?” said Leo. “Yup!” said Giovanni.  “Yay!” everybody said.  “Let’s get on and go!” said Jack.  “Okay then, let’s go,” said Leo.  So they lifted off!

Space Hamsters



Nicky opens his piece by establishing a context, introducing the time (one time) and the characters (hamsters named Leo, Mark, Jack, and Snacky).  He lets the reader know that these are special hamsters.  He could have helped to orient the reader further by adding the setting so that the reader knows from the beginning that the hamsters are on a space ship.  This becomes more obvious as the story develops.


Nicky develops a story line with humor (Snacky repeatedly wanting a snack). The story flows from take off to landing on Venus and then meeting an alien hamster.  He develops the problem of being out of gas and a solution of finding gas from the alien so the spaceship can lift off to continue the adventure.

Dialogue and Detail

Nicky does a nice job of moving the story along with dialogue.  All of the hamsters speak at some point to carry the story. 

He correctly describes Jack as being sarcastic when he says he likes Giovanni’s name when he doesn’t like the name, which is advanced vocabulary for a first grader. 

Nicky often uses onomatopoeia (BOOM!) and uses all caps to let the reader know when words are meant to be really strong and loud.

Nicky uses several revision strategies including adding word(s) using carets and actually cutting his paper in half when he wants to fuse an illustration with writing other than the original instead of starting a new sheet.


The piece has a concluding sentence (So they lifted off!) that provides closure to the story.

Language Use and Conventions

Nicky usually uses basic capitalization and punctuation correctly. He uses a variety of punctuation including an ellipse to build suspense.  He uses slashes (/) instead of commas when he lists the characters’ names but this shows that he knows that it is a list of things that need punctuation.  He attempts to use the punctuation in dialogue correctly and does a nice job, as a first grader, often using the “talking marks” correctly.

Cinderella’s Sleepover
by Addison

Cinderella asked her mom if she could have a sleepover and her mom said yes.  “OK,” said Cinderella.  “Now I need a list of the princesses that are my friends.  I’ll start right now.  I’m going to invite Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Snow White, Belle, Sophie and Anastasia. Mom can we have a sleepover upstairs?” “Yes,” said mom. 

“Mom, can I buy some things for the sleepover?”  “Yes,” said Cinderella’s mom.  “I don’t know what I should buy.  Now I know,” said Cinderella.  “I’m going to buy a chocolate fountain and some Princess beds and some games like puzzles. I’ll buy some chairs so we can play Musical Chairs and I’ll buy some pillows so we can have a pillow fight. Mom, when should we go to sleep?” “I know,” said Mom.  “You should go to sleep when it is midnight.”  “Yay,” said Cinderella.  “Mom?”  “Yes Cinderella?”  “When should the sleepover begin?”  “I know when the sleepover should begin.”  “When?” said Cinderella.  “The sleepover should start right now.”  Yay,” said Cinderella.

I’m going to call my friends now.  “Ring, ring. It’s Cinderella.” “Hi,” said Ariel. “Would you like to come to my sleepover?”  “Yes,” said Ariel.  I’m going to call my other friends now.  Ring, ring, ring, ring.  “Hi,” said Snow White.  “Ring, ring. “Hi,” said Belle.  Ring, ring.  “Hi,” said Sophie.  Ring, ring. “Hi,” said Anastasia.  “Yay, I’m done calling my friends.  Now the sleepover can begin.” 

“Yay.  Friends, time to pillow fight!”  The pillow fight was awesome.

Time for musical chairs. It was very fun.  Ariel said, “I want to do it again.”  Then she started to cry because she wanted to keep on doing it but at the puzzles, she stopped, because it was so much fun.  “Now it’s time to chocolate fountain.”   “Yay,”said Ariel.  “Yay,” said Snow White.  “Yay,” said Sophie.  “Yay,” said Anastasia.  “Yay,” said Belle.  “Yay,” said Sleeping Beauty.

The puzzles were awesome and we got them all right, and now it’s time for chocolate fountain.  The chocolate fountain was yummy.  Actually it was awesome.  Now it’s time to sleep.  They all snuggled in their beds and in the morning they all left.  It was awesome.

Cinderella’s Sleepover



Addison opens her piece by establishing a context.  She introduces the main characters, Cinderella and her mom, and lets the reader know that Cinderella is asking her mom if she can have a sleepover.


She develops her sleepover story by going through a series of events including who Cinderella is going to invite, buying supplies, calling the Princesses on the telephone, enjoying sleepover fun and then going to sleep

Dialogue and Detail

Addison fills her story with dialogue, especially questions and answers, and lets the talk carry some of the story. 

Drawings illustrate and expand the text.
Onomatopoeia is added when Addison uses ring, ring for the telephone.


Closure is in the sleepover coming to an end as the Princesses snuggled in their beds and then leave in the morning.  Addison also includes a reflective statement, It was awesome.

Language Use and Conventions

Addison has good control of capitals and punctuation.  She uses a variety of punctuation, including trying to punctuate dialogue.  She understands that the “talking marks” are put around the words that the character actually says and she actually tries to figure out where commas and question marks in the middle of the sentence go.  Her piece is easy to read because she spells most sight words correctly and approximates more complex spellings.

1 comment:

Maria Mallon & Cheryl Dillard said...

Our class loved these stories. Great job!!