Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Writing Process

Daily, I'm thankful that I paid attention in college and took great notes. Today I was especially thankful when it came to my writing plans. My students and I are working towards writing personal narratives, but first we had to talk about the process of writing! I know my students have heard the language before but we needed a refresher. 

Here's where my handy Writer's Notebook from college came in handy. Oh, that's redundant. Quick think of a synonym for handy

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Anyway, I introduced the story "The Tiny Seed" by Eric Carle to my students. I was fairly certain they had either read this book or it had been read to them at some point in their educational careers. Although, I was hopeful it hadn't been used for this purpose. As we read the story, we focused on the development of a tiny seed as it conquers mountains, snow, rain, tiny hands and so on.  Near the end of the story, the tiny seed had blossomed into a beautiful flower.  By the end, we watched as more tiny seeds flew from the beautiful flower to create more flowers around the world. The illustrations were absolutely stunning. Would you expect anything less from Eric Carle?

After the story, we opened up OUR writing notebooks and began sketching the writing process. As suggested by one of my fabulous literacy professors, we compared the process of writing to a developing tiny seed. As you can see in the pictures below, each step relates to our little seedling. Throughout the process, our seed grows and blossoms into a beautiful flower. Then, once we finish our final project we're back to square one with more seed stories. 

Above you see my "sketches" of the writing process. Any artist probably wouldn't let me categorize these as sketches. Oh well. Tomorrow, our entry will be "Seed Stories" for our narratives. Using our heart maps, feet maps (future blog post), memories, and various webs we'll begin picking "seeds" to develop.

Check out the incredible creations two of my students made in their notebooks. I had 22 excellent entries, but I limited myself to only picking two. 

I especially love the ultimate party scene that the gentleman above picked to illustrate celebration. He added that on his own. :)

As we venture into personal narratives territory - I ask for advice! What mini lessons or mentor texts do you use in your classroom? Do share! 


  1. I like Owl Moon, the Relatives Came, and Enemy Pie!

  2. I have used...
    Those Shoes
    Patricia Polacco's books
    Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
    Owl Moon
    A Chair For My Mother

    Hope you can use some of these!

  3. We just finished personal narratives! I start narrative story writing with a wordless book, like Chalk. It helps the kids to know the story is in their mind, even though we may not have the words for it yet.
    BTW, I didn't think of a synonym for handy, I just had a Blue"s Clues flash back to the Handy Dandy Notebook.


  4. I love all of Patricia Polacco's stories as mentor texts for personal narratives!

  5. Enemy Pie! It's a favorite! We are doing mentor texts right now in 2nd grade. I don't have the list in front of me but I'll hunt it down and get it to you!


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