On Monday, I had the privilege of having our writing coach in my classroom where I taught a lesson on how the author we are studying used a repeating line. Then I asked the kids, "What do you think I want you to try today?" Today, I gave a lesson on how Lynn sets up her problem, solution, and has a few events in between. We used her book, Winter Waits. Then I had the students turn to each other and talk about how they were going to be like Lynn today. One of my students, D, told me that she was going to try a repeating line.
Okay, conference time! I watched two boys turn to each other and start talking. I joined in because one of the boys was on my list. He started talking and wanted to add more to his writing. The other boy then asked him, "is this your planning?" "This is my title." "Maybe add more - add characters."
I then interrupted the conference, because I wanted to know more about his thinking. He wanted to add more, but wasn't sure where. I showed him how Lynn stretched her writing with action and description. I also showed him to use spider legs. So he and the other boy went and worked together and reread and then added more. BTW, he had a repeating line in his writing. I was so happy, I had tears in my eyes. I'm just very proud of the hard work he has done. Granted, there's some work to do with conventions, but the ideas are what are so important! Here is what his draft looks like now.
Another conference I had involved a student who often becomes overwhelmed with too many things...so I introduced the question, "How do you eat an elephant?" "One bite at a time." So, I asked him, "How do you write a story?" "One sentence at a time. I have a picture of his plan. I am very impressed with how he knows exactly where his story is going and has important details of the story written, but not in a way that I had showed. I am so glad I got to see his plan. He knows exactly what is going in his story, just not the way that I expected.
I also met with another writer, the D from above. She told me that she was modeling her story after Horton Hears a Who, but she flip flopped the main characters. Her repeating line is "But we didn't get him yet." (or something to that point) She is having the elephants chase the monkey and each time the monkey escapes. I had her revisit her writer's notebook and write down different ways she would want the monkey to escape...Not to pat myself on the back, but I feel like I did a nice job with my conferences today and encouraged these writers to make choices in their writing for themselves, and not for me.