Monday, June 11, 2012
Wow! Outlining! I learned it. I did it. I hated it.
Guest author Sally Wilkins, for Kate Messner’s Teachers Write Camp, explained outlining in our Monday Mini-Lesson.
After reading Sally’s suggestions for outlining, I thought of the many trips I have taken. Think about it. Whether you’re just decided to take a drive, or you’re headed for a vacation, in your head or on paper, you’ve got a plan for either trip. A plan: what to take, what to do, how to get there.
When writing a book (long or short, fiction or nonfiction), an outline is that plan. It’s a plan you hope will work, but knowing that detours and sidetrips may occur that will require revision of the original plan.
As a writer, the outline may be a formal outline, a list, a web of ideas, scraps gathered here and there. But when you hold it out in front of you, each part leads to the heart of your idea. The pieces fit together and guide the writing, even if those detours or sidetrips are needed to get to the “real” story that blossoms, that outline is the guide.
So let’s try it.
First Day: Being cool on the first day of school sometimes needs help from friends.
0. I hate school. I haven’t seen my friends all summer. This will be a bad year.
1. Just as get off bus with perfect hair, the rain pours the curls right out of my hair.
2. Jane pulls two of her barettes out of her hair and pulls my drenched hair back into a smooth look.
3. I open my backpack and discover I forgot my pencil case.
4. Robert has a hundred in his and shares ten with me.
5. I went to the wrong class first period. So did Sally. We got our tardy slips together.
6. In English class, I forgot how to spell conjunction. Aaron texted it to me.
7. At lunch, Jane, Robert, Sally, Aaron and I sat together. Aaron forgot his lunch. I gave him 1/2 of my pb&j. This will be a good year.
Title: Oh, no! Ah, Thanks!
Title is also repeating phrase in the story.
How would I direct students to try this?
How did you get ready for school today? What were you looking forward to? What’s gone right so far? What didn’t go right? How did you overcome it? Did any one help you?
One of the things we want to do this year is create a series of anthologies — short stories on themes.
Let’s try our first one about the first day of school — one that starts out with some bad luck, but gets better. [Share outline above.]
Make a group list of character names.
Make a group list of possible bad luck situations.
Make a group list of possible solutions to the bad luck.
Create your outline using your own or our suggestions. How will you end it? Sharing? Rescuing? Compliment? Game? Laughter?
What phrases will you repeat?
Follow the pattern of one of the mentor texts.
Create a similar story outline for preparation for your favorite sport.
Character Warm-Up — This week’s Monday Warm Up about a character poem would be a good way to warm up. The character the students warm up with could be the main character of their story for this outline lesson, helping them to think of the possible events and expresssions.
Possible Mentor Texts:
What story ideas would you plan for the fall?