Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Second Grade and Sophomores Work on Children's Stories

Creating Children’s Stories: A Group Effort
 Written by: Mrs. Lanphear & Alexis Olsen

For the past ten days, Mrs. Uhing’s second grade reading group and Mrs. Lanphear’s English 2 class have been working together to write children’s books. Working in both classrooms, one high school student was paired with one, (or two) elementary students. Groups worked together to develop original content on: character, setting, and plot.

Using the website, Storybird, students have worked hard to write beautifully illustrated online books. Storybird encourages “artful storytelling” and invites readers and writers to “discover an endless library of free books.” They also offer “simple tools to create books.” Students used both resources and agree that the website is inspiring.

The first thing groups did when beginning to write their books was to discuss character. They had to develop a protagonist and an antagonist. Characteristics were revealed through actions, interactions, physical traits, and dialogue.

Second, students worked to include all of the essential parts of plot. For elementary students, this meant making sure the storyline had a beginning, middle, and an end. High school students had to be sure the story included exposition, figurative language, conflict, climax, falling action, and a resolution.

Third, and arguably most challenging, was choosing illustrations that made the story come to life. It was hard for the students to find an artist with multiple pictures that fit the story. Not only did students practice their reading and writing skills, they had to learn a lesson on compromise.

Finally, after matching the pictures to the story, they began editing their stories to make them perfect.

In addition to working together, the experience of visiting another building was exciting for everyone.

Some days walking to the other building was cold and windy, but both the high schoolers and the elementary students enjoyed seeing each other and experiencing the other student’s school.

In the end, the high schoolers thought the experience of working with the second graders was great. All of the second graders have vivid imaginations, so it was easy to make up the stories together.

A celebration, including book presentations and author interviews, is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday in Mrs. Uhing’s classroom. Students are looking forward to reading their finished books to children and adults!