Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mentor Text: Voices in the Park

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The book "Voices in the Park" by Anthony Browne has been sitting on my shelf for several years. Until this week, I haven't found a real reason to use it for instruction. I was pacing around my room thinking about perspective and point of view and had that AH-HA moment. I'm almost positive I said, "I'VE GOT IT!" out loud and completely startled my students. By now... they've become used to my outbursts. I knew I had the perfect book to illustrate the difference between point of view and perspective (something we are stuck on in 5th grade). 

I closed my mini lesson on the difference between point of view and perspective by reading aloud and dissecting Voices in the Park. It was a great discussion! However, it wasn't until later that day when the magic happened...

An avid writer in my classroom (such an avid writer that she had to get a NEW writer's notebook this year because her other one was full!) approached me and asked if she could write a "Voices in the Park" story. We brainstormed what her location could be in the story and we settled on the school cafeteria. Then, she was off! Writing a fictional story about the cafeteria from four very unique perspectives.

Last night as I was thinking about my plans for reading time - it hit me! Why aren't we ALL doing what my little writer is doing? What a great lesson!

From there... the lesson was born. We discussed how to brainstorm a location, time of day, or time period in our life. Then, we picked logical "voices" to play the roles in our short stories. 


The lesson lent itself to great extra mini lessons on voice, dialogue, and character development. We pulled Wonder off the shelf as an additional mentor text. One student piped up, "my character is like Justin from Wonder, he NEVER writes capital letters." 

Our finished products will be published on our blogs next week. I'm equally excited for my kids to publish their stories and be able to read and comment on one another's. 

Have a great week!

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