I definitely become the writing drill sergeant this year. And I'm sure my students will say..."CHRISTINA, NO MORE PERSONAL NARRATIVES!" I have them revising like college students during thesis season. Ok, maybe I have to tone it down...but I'm seeing progress!
Recently, we've worked on the idea of "Show Not Tell." Parents at home are like "Huh? This teacher is crazy!" Hey, if authors can do it so can my fourth graders. We are authors too! The goal is to really engage your reader. Have them on the edge of their seats wondering what will happen next.
What do we love to read? Our favorite books are action packed and make us feel something. So I say lets see what our favorite authors have done and lets mimic some of this in our own writing.
"Yes DAFT!" Dialogue, Action, Feeling, and Thought are in every great piece of writing. Throw in some clever word choice, comparisons (simile and metaphors), well thought out bridge words, and a little attitude (tone), ban the usage of the words went and said, and you have yourself a great first draft.
What I have seen? Students playing around with font size, CAPITALIZING and underlining words to make the piece more dramatic. Students are "skidding," "dashing," and wiggling from one place to another! They sure love their sound effects with many interpretations of a fire alarm: "BEEP, BEEP, BEEP to Err Err Err to Wha Wha Wha!"
The ideas are there that's for sure! Next, we'll be using our senses to add more details, before we hit up organization and a little Writer's Polishing Session.