To start this unit of study the students need to think of stories in their lives that were exciting. Usually, seven-year-olds don't think anything they have done is that exciting, but when you share mentor texts like Shortcut by Donald Crews or Peter's Chair by Ezra Jack Keats, they realize that everyday events can keep readers on the edge of their seats.
The following lesson gives you a perfect example of how that is done.
Connection: You have been writing stories all year. You know so much about how to do that. Today, we are going to spend some time studying how to stretch the good part of a story. We’re going to call these “edge of your seat” stories. What kind of story would be an edge of your seat story? Discuss.Teaching: I have an edge of your seat story to read to you. It is called Shortcut. This story is a small moment in time story…a “One time...” story. Remember, we have talked about the “Magic Words of Story,” - how you can begin a story with an “O” word, if you can’t think of a way to begin.
Listen to Shortcut and we will talk about what makes it an “edge of your seat” story. Read story and solicit (from students) why this is an edge of your seat story.
Now we are going to talk about things that would make “edge of your seat” stories. Here are some examples: Jot these down on a list and add a few they might have…A time I was afraid; The first time I did something; A time I was naughty; A time I had a problem with someone; A change in my life.
Students can write key words at the top of their list: scared; naughty; change; etc.
I was thinking about****. (Tell your story briefly)
Active Engagement: Look at our list and think about an edge of your seat story that you have had. Give me a “thumbs up” if you can think of one. Ask for volunteers to share topics, not the whole story.
We are going to go back to our seats and get out our writer’s notebooks. Turn to a clean page and write some ideas that you thought of that you could write about. You are not going to write the story, only ideas. For example, I would put ****. In other words, you put down your ideas for edge of your seat stories just like I do.