Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Interpretive Essays Using Book Characters

I spent Sunday afternoon at Jefferson Point, an outside shopping mall in Fort Wayne.  No big deal, lots of people do that. What made that day's visit special was meeting with two fifth grade teachers from different school districts. The idea was to share ideas from their classrooms...and share they did...for over two  hours on a SUNDAY!  They talked about how they had taught specific genres in writing. They shared work their students had done. And, finally, they shared email addresses so the networking could continue.
 One of the classrooms is finishing up their interpretive essays with characters this week. In this room, the students had posters with a name of a character on each one. They were all from their read-aloud book: because of mr. terupt  by Rob Buyea. The posters were placed around the room. Students were paired with a partner and in their notebooks they were to list characteristices for each character. Then, as partners, they went from poster to poster to add characteristics in marker. After several minutes, they shared the posters.
This class could take one of those fiction people  from their read aloud book or pick someone from a former read-aloud or picture book they had read. They could even pick someone from a story in their basal. The essay would have the same format as the personal essays they had just written earlier this month. 

The students picked a thesis statement for their character. But first, the whole class made a list of possible statements for several of the read-aloud characters. Students could use one of those or do their own for their character. Remember, it didn't have to be from this book!

As the students finished their pieces, they would check the rubric to be sure they had completed every area. At the end of writing time, everyone sat in a huge circle. They each shared what character they had written about and from what book. How exciting it was to hear students speak confidently about writing in such an important genre!

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