For the past several weeks we have been immersed in the stories of William Steig. We finished our chapter book, Dominic, just this morning, and the children will be writing a book review this afternoon. We have also read quite a few of his picture books, including Zeke Pippin, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, The Amazing Bone, Tiffky Doofky, and Gorky Rises. I chose these books to read first because they all share common characteristics. As we finished each book, we analyzed it together and added information to our classroom chart:
Hero and Species
Villain and Species
Solution and Ending
In each of books mentioned above, there is a hero who has an adventure. He/she is soon beset by villains of one type or another. There is a magic item that helps the hero, and allows (eventually) he/she to go home, usually to be given a blanket of hugs and kisses.
Today, we started thinking about our own William Steig inspired stories. Each child was given a Story Organizer to help them think and create. Story organizers can be hugely effective in the sometimes daunting face of writing. In this case, I have found that they help in:
- Helping students structure writing project
- Encouraging students to make decisions
- Making it easy for students to classify ideas and communicate
- Allowing students to examine relationships
- Guiding students in demonstrating their thinking process
- Helping students increase reading comprehension
- Making it easy to brainstorm
- Encouraging students to organize essential concepts and ideas
- Making it clear how to break apart a story into the main elements (intro, rising action, climax, etc.)
We will continue working on our stories over the next days and weeks. I can't wait to hear how they turn out!