Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Writing Fantasy in Second Grade

In April, many second grade classrooms will be trying out a new genre with the unit of study on Fairy Tales/Folk Tales/Fantasy. These students have a great foundation for this genre since they know how to write personal narratives and realistic fiction. Now the trick is to get them to explore this type of fiction. The main thing the teacher needs to keep in mind is that these seven-year-olds are going to just be approximating this type of writing.  It won't look like The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe or even Harry Potter.  Remember to take each student where they are and help to make them a better writer. Take baby steps.

The purpose of teaching this genre is to go along with the Common Core State Standards. They are asked to read this genre, so why not write it, too. The thinking is that some day in the future, when these second graders will be taking the high stakes tests, they will be asked to write this genre. We want to give them enough background to help them feel comfortable doing that.

Here is a unit of study that I put together with things from Lucy Calkin's Curriculum Plan for the Writing Workshop.  Hopefully, it will help you in this new adventure of fantasy writing!

Second Grade Writing Unit   Fairy Tales/Folk Tales/Fantasy
Adapted from A Curricular Plan for the Writing Workshop, Grade 2, 2011-1012 by Lucy Calkins and the Colleagues from the Reading and Writing Project

­­­­­Things to Remember
  • This unit is designed to expose students to the power of this genre in teaching story arcs and specific life lessons
  • This unit is designed to give students more practice in writing fiction
  •    It is important to immerse students in this genre through read alouds and discussions about the structure
  • Anchor charts created in other units of study are made available for student use
  • Students will practice comparing and contrasting two or more versions of the same tale
  • Launching the unit:
    • Through literature
      •   The Wolf Who Cried Boy by Bob Hartman
      •   The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza) retold by Philemon Sturges
    • Through Text book (Macmillan Treasures
      •   Farfallina & Marcel; Hermie the Hermit Crab; Pip the Penguin
      • Head, Body, Legs; Telling Tales; The Story of the Giant Carrot; Three Wishes from a Fish; Three Dog Wishes; Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type
      •  Pushing Up the Sky; Why Sun and Moon Live in the Sky; Why the Sky is Far Away; Sky Seeds
      • Mice and Beans
  • Make sure you keep these few things in mind as you get started:
    • Give students a choice about what they want to write
    • Give students a chance to be immersed in this genre before starting to write
    • Still walk through the writing process (plan, draft, revise, edit, publish)
Menu of Teaching Points:  Fairy Tales/Folk Tales/Fantasy

Goal #1: Writers plan before they begin to write
  •   Writers think about what they could change in their adaptation of the story
  • Writers make many adaptations of the story
  • Writers plan their stories in a booklet or storyboard
Goal #2: Writers make important decisions while they write
  • Writers ask themselves many questions as they plan their stories
  • Writers work with writing partners to work out their choices and change their versions
Goal #3: Writers choose one plan and begin to write
  • Writers take a number of pages and transfer their ideas by using sketches
  • Writers are storytellers using dialog, action and thinking
  • Writers act out the scene or tell it over and over to get a clear idea of what to put on the page
Goal #4: Writers reread what they have done and plan what to do next
  • Writers reread to see how to make their stories stronger
  • Writers make stronger beginnings by using: “Once upon a time”
  • Writers use language for transitioning: “but, then one day…” or “Not long after that…”
  • Writers use sentence length to strengthen their stories
Goal #5: Fairy Tale writers use similar story structure
  • Fairy Tale writers use a main character and create a wish or problem for the character
  • Fairy Tale writers build the problem throughout the story with a solution at the end
  • Fairy Tale writers use tension to hook their reader
  • Fairy Tale writers use dialog, action and show-not-tell to keep the reader’s attention
  • Fairy Tale writers make each scene like a ‘small moment’ story
  • Fairy Tale writers use endings with “happily ever after.”
Goal #6: Fairy Tale writers teach readers a lesson
  • Fairy Tale writers think about what they want their readers to learn
  • Fairy Tale writers work with partners giving each other advice
Goal #7: Fairy Tale writers may adapt a story by writing a whole new version of the fairy tale told
                from a different character’s point of view

Goal #8: Fantasy writers use what they know about realistic fiction to help write in this genre
  • Fantasy writers feature a character with a problem just like realistic fiction writers
  • Fantasy writers use magic or an imaginary setting instead of something real as in realistic fiction
Goal #9: Fantasy writers act out parts and storytell over and over again
  • Fantasy writers work with a partner to storytell or act out their piece
  • Fantasy writers use dialog and very small actions into the their writing
Goal #10: Fantasy writers stretch out their fantasy stories
  • Fantasy writers use story arcs to help develop the problem in the story
  • Fantasy writers create obstacles that keep the reader on the ‘edge of their seats’
  • Fantasy writers think outside the box about how to use magic to help their character
  • Fantasy writers use charts around the room (old and new ones) to make good choices in their writing
Ways to Structure Fairy Tale/Folk Tale/Fantasy Writing
  • Write a fairy tale from another point of view: different characters, different setting, different problem
  • Write a whole new piece making up the characters and problem for a fairy tale or folk tale
  • Write a whole new piece using new ideas for magic and make believe for a fantasy story






1 comment:

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