So, we cut into the watermelon to make it more manageable. (Then, #teacherfail – I BOUGHT A SEEDLESS WATERMELON. <insert every face palm emoji here> Thankfully there were still white seed, so our metaphor continued. Students decided that the cut watermelon was definitely more manageable to eat and talk about.
We then made the connection that the HUGE watermelon was just like our “List Stories”. I went to the park, then I played on the slide. Then I went on the swim. Finally it was dark. I went home. We talked that knowing what happened is very different than knowing all the details.
We went back to our writing journals and brought them back to the carpet. Students shared “Watermelon Stories” in their journals that they may need to revisit. (Note – this totally wasn’t a shaming lesson and totally voluntary. I love pulling examples from our own writing because it makes it much more real.)
As students shared one of their watermelon stories, I asked – “So ___________, instead of writing about the WHOLE __________, what part can you go back and describe?” When students picked specific parts (hitting the piñata, riding the roller coaster), we called these ‘Seed Moments’.
Finally, it was writing time! As students worked, I delivered plates of watermelon as a motivator and reminder to think small. Then, I started conferencing with my habitual list-story writers. 😉
This day, we actually spent our writing time together. Shared Writing is a perfect way to high features of many different mentor texts focusing on the strengths of lots of different students. We decided to zoom into building a sandcastle. Although not perfect, we have a great start to a narrative. Plus, we include some of those great features from Roller Coaster (VERY, wee, A-L-L) and Fireflies (small details about the day).
Since writing it at the end of the day, and we ran out of the time – the next morning during ‘Morning Work’ students came in and started working on their narratives. It’s a perfect way to sneak a few more moments for writing!
This friend is sharing about his recent trip to the zoo, seeing tigers. My favorite line – “One did not look fun. He was lame.” Hahahaha – classic and perfect 1st grade writing. (Note – he does go on to explain the lame tiger behavior.)