My 3rd graders have been extremely hard at work completing their writing project where they write like the author.  In a previous post you saw me do a read aloud for Big Cat, Little Cat by Maryann Dobek.  After reading the story we did a Venn Diagram on lions and house cats.  The students knew they would then need to compare 2 things of their choice.  The next day I modeled the expectations by comparing moms and teachers and writing a mini story to go along with it.

The next day students got to work comparing the 2 topics of their choice with the help of a Venn Diagram.  At first ideas came quickly and then students started to struggle.  I realized it wasn’t a situation of not knowing, but how to get the ideas out.  I grabbed a sticky pad and had the struggling students just start telling me what they knew about their topic.  The ideas came flooding out and I was able to bullet some of those ideas.  I put the sticky note in the corresponding section of the Venn Diagram and they were back on their way to brainstorming ideas.

From there we went into the rough draft stage.  Students organized their stories initially with the stoplight paragraph format.  I was surprised how easy this was for them, but happy they had a writing format that they remembered and worked well for them.  They quickly got to work and they were frustrated that I wouldn’t help them with spelling.  I had to emphasize that this was a rough draft and editing and conferencing with me would be the next step.

Once the students had finished their rough draft they were given a checklist where they had to check to see what they had finished and what they still needed to do.  We conferenced together on spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and word choice and students were sent back to correct spelling errors with their personal dictionaries.

Once all of that had been completed, students wrote their final drafts.  Wow!  This has been a process.  This is the first time we’ve ever taken a story through the full writing process.  I hope this helps them a lot more when they are working in the classroom.  Take a look below at their final stories.  Some of them didn’t follow the corrections we talked about, but that’s another conversation we can have the next time.  But over all this has been a very encouraging and fun process for all of us.