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Lesson 1: A visit to the zoo A visit to the local zoo is always exciting for students.Being able to see animals in action and learn about conservation through an in-person experience is incredibly valuable. How do teachers lock in these experiences for students?
Through trial and error, I discovered a few books and games I keep coming back to, because they break down specific writing techniques with ease, or they encourage using different parts of a child’s creativity to craft amazing stories.
And, just in time for Holiday Shopping, here’s a list of my most beloved tools to use in the classroom (or home school group, or library writing workshop!
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT IT: Breaks down each element of writing with specific examples that real writers use, such as Brainstorming: freewriting method, outlining method, web method, timeline method, etc.
Gives many ways to do the same thing so young writers can experiment with the method that works best for them.
)BOOKS FOR TEACHING: WHAT I LOVE ABOUT IT: Breaks down elements of writing into three major categories: IDEAS, DESIGN, and LANGUAGE with sub-categories like “Describing Character Through Gesture,” How to Stay on Topic” and “Using Stronger Verbs”, each with its own lesson plan, writing exercise and novels as references for particular craft lesson. WHAT I LOVE ABOUT IT: Written for the young writer in simple terms, concise chapters and exercises.
Tons of ideas on what to write and then, how to develop a story from idea through plot and setting to a satisfying ending.While this curriculum was designed particularly for Brookfield, many zoos now feature poetry throughout their exhibits, and these activities could easily be adapted for other zoos or natural history museums.Preparing for your visit One of the last things that your students will be expecting to find at the zoo is poetry, but if you are hoping to provide them with a rich, interdisciplinary experience, it may be a good idea to prepare them prior to coming.Wonderful for the adult writer, but also helps to know where the YA reader is coming from.WHAT I LOVE ABOUT IT: Begins with tips for the teacher: how to set up and conduct the “workshop” method of teaching, including dealing with discipline issues, feedback rules and conferencing one-on-one for grading, revising.When I began teaching my creative writing workshops ten years ago, I approached our local library with little more than spunk and a page of story prompts.I quickly realized that although I was a true “write by the seat of my pants” kinda gal, that style didn’t bode well for inspiring young writers to approach the blank page.Anecdotally, I have found that students become more engaged in writing lessons that focus on animals, and though I am an English teacher, I imagine that giving students an opportunity for creative expression may help those who struggle with ecological and biological studies in the science classroom.In the last few years, I have experimented with and researched ideas for different activities in the secondary classroom.WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK: Fletcher covers all the usual struggles when teaching boys to write: violence in writing, overuse of illustrating, sloppy handwriting, lack of “listening” skills, etc.“Each chapter begins with a thorough discussion of a topic and ends in a highly practical section titled ‘What can I do I my classroom?