We have been busy over the last week collecting new ideas in our notebooks as we start a fiction writing unit. As with every unit I teach, there are specific strategies that I teach about how to collect for that genre; the idea is that these can then be used over and over again once you know how they work.
Together throughout the week we read several books together, then looked at an idea we could pull out of that book to use in our writing. First we read The Wreck of the Zephyr by Chris Van Allsburg and talked about how to meld real and imaginary events into the same story. Then we read Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street by Roni Schotter, and talked about how to collect “interesting people” to use as characters. We also tried a strategy that Eva, the girl in the story, uses when she asks “What if?” and then twists the story in an interesting way. On Thursday we read Moira’s Birthday by Robert Munsch, and brainstormed “messy situations” that we could use in our stories to add interest, conflict and fun. Lastly, we tried something that I knew my writers had probably never done, and that I knew they’d love. And they did. 🙂
Let me tell you about it.
The big idea was that kiddos were given pictures from which to get inspiration for a story. The strategy was a lot like something we did at the beginning when we first started our Writer’s Notebooks. The first time around, though, the pictures were from magazines, and this time they were from my iPhoto albums. Yep, pictures of my kiddos–I knew my school kiddos would be excited about this one and give it their all. They really love anything related to my family, which I love, too.
We rotated pictures around the room, two at a time, and kids brainstormed ideas for stories that they could write. Each time they got a new picture, they could then start a new idea, or add on to the one they were already writing. Here are the pictures we used for inspiration:
The activity was really fun, and I am pretty sure that many of these ideas will become the seeds they’ll choose to publish. Be sure also see the posts about it on our blogs. Maybe you could even try it yourself. What stories would you come up with from these pictures? Comment and tell us about it! We’d love to use your stories as inspiration, too! 🙂