This week in Reading we will continue reading a chapter a day in The Tiger Rising, by Kate DiCamillo. We are starting to learn more about the main character, Rob, and his interactions with the antagonist, Sistine. We are closely following Rob's "not-thoughts" and why he suddenly feels the urge to speak with Sistine and tell her things about himself. This is not the Rob we have understood so far, so we are closely following this relationship.
In addition, students will learn how an author develops a character by repeating actions, dialogue, and setting throughout the story, and how these character developments also affect the story ideas and plot. Students will get a new anchor chart (also found on the RELA tab; Click on Reading, then Unit 1) this week called "Developing Ideas About Characters". They will use these sentence stems from the chart to help them expand their own ideas about a character from their independent reading books. Later in the week, students will have the opportunity to use what they know from this chart to respond to an event from The Tiger Rising as a "check-in" for this part of the unit.
This week in Writing students will be continuing their work on their realistic fiction stories. Students have worked hard this past week developing their characters and getting to know every thing about them, and now we are ready to plan the plotline of our story and begin drafting! Students have learned that after developing our characters, we can better develop our plotline because we can now think back to how our character would handle various situations. To begin the work of creating our story plotline, we will read the mentor text Fireflies which is a wonderful story that does an amazing job of demonstrating a classic story arc in a small moment story. Students will use the example set in Fireflies to plan out their own stories with key events on a graphic organizer that we call 'Story Mountain'. Students will also identify their story arc, which is the 'problem' found at the top of their Story Mountain.
After students have developed the plotline of their story, they will move on to the work of drafting their story scene by scene, starting with their lead (the beginning of the story). We tackle our stories scene by scene so we can spend time making sure we show, don't tell. We will be working on moving from summarizing what will happen in our story to true story telling with dialogue and action.
Through the work of developing our lead students will then really 'get' into their stories. Students will learn that when fiction writers enter this phase of the process, they tend to now just get lost in their story and write, write, write. We mention to the students the anecdote about the Gingerbread Man to relate to their writing process and today's new stage - the old woman takes time to make the gingerbread man and plan all the parts about him (What will I use for the eyes? How will I design his shirt?) but then all of a sudden the Gingerbread Man springs to life, jumps off the counter calling out "Run, run as fast as you can. You can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man!" This is how the students will approach the rest of the drafting stage. They now have fully developed characters and a plotline, so now they can run with their story (of course taking out time to check their Story Mountain to make sure they are staying with their plotline).
We have seen so many awesome stories emerge over the last 2 weeks, and we are so excited for this next stage!!