After focusing extensively on reading yesterday, today we focused on writing. One of the articles featured in yesterday’s reading task was from Teaching Kids News. The article by Nancy Miller entitled “Japan’s 2011 Tsunami Sends Balls 8,000 Kilometers to Alaska” explained how a soccer ball and volleyball that were swept out to sea ended up being reunited with their owners. Today’s challenge required students to step into the skin of either the soccer ball or volleyball and to write a fictional story about the journey experienced from its perspective. Using facts from the article, learning from their inquiry into movement, and understanding about strong story development, students began crafting creative tales. Prior to writing, students identified the following criteria for a scholarly story:
- realistic details
- word choice
- sentence structure
- figurative language (onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor, alliteration)
This prompt prompted a plethora of plot possibilities including:
- meetings with sea creatures (ea urchin, beluga, krill, barnacles, birds / seagull).
- sharks (bite, poke, nudge, slap, swallow).
- deflation and sinking.
- encounters with boats (ship, yacht, ferry, aircraft carrier, submarine, propeller).
- being nabbed in a fisherman’s net.
Prior to beginning, students also considered the following options to hook their readers:
- small moment
After students got started, we paused to share some of our stories’ starts.
- Live Science
- National Geographic
- The Guardian: The School Beneath the Wave: The Unimaginable Tragedy of Japan’s Tsunami
In an effort to dig more deeply into the idea of struggle and survival, we shared a read aloud of the book The Caged Birds of Phnom Penh by Frederick Lipp. Prior to reading, we paused to make predictions about the text, based on the title and Ronald Himler’s illustrations. To guide our predictions and our ponderings, we used a summary-style mneumonic device – SWBST-F (Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then, Finally). This graphic organizer will be used again on Wednesday when we revisit the text. Then, as we read, we paused after each page to peruse the pictures, ponder the plot, find figurative phrases, and consider connections to our compass point conversation.
Our discussions were deep and diverse, often diverting to delve into interesting individual incidences (here in Kinshasa, in our home countries, and from our travels around the world) that have influenced our ideas and impacted our lives. How will all these things intersect as we conduct our inquiry?
We also began to explore metric prefixes today. How could we incorporate these into our stories?
Of course, being a rainy day, we also had some fun with dominoes. It is interesting to see how problem solving, movement, and struggle and survival collide with these creations.