I am writing a chapter book for my fourth grade students! (I hope I progress!)

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Ms.Jasztal, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I am going to attempt to write a chapter book this year for my fourth graders. :) Perhaps I can put some materials with this book to connect it to different things they learn in class.

    What I've thought of so far-

    Just to Escape This Day

    Synopsis

    Nine-year old Ryan Barrow has an extremely ordinary life- soccer practice, Boy Scouts, and of course, school. He has a series of ordinary days until he has the very worst one of all, where he fails his multiplication test, nearly breaks his leg falling off a skateboard, comes close to burning the kitchen down, and walks in on his seven-year old sister Maggie about to flush his tarantula down the toilet. Yet worst of all, every single day he comes to school, he must encounter the most annoying person on the planet- Seth Morgan.

    Now, Seth wasn't always annoying. There was actually a time where they were best friends, back in first grade. Yet by second grade, something traumatic made them go their separate ways. Now fast-forwarding to this one particular day- Seth was incredibly annoying, a 100 on a scale from 1-10, so Ryan was even more fed up.

    When evening fell that day, Ryan made a simple wish- to do-over his day. When he woke up the following morning, his orange polo and blue khakis hung neatly by his bed, just like yesterday. Appalled at first, he asked his mom, "Why would you make me wear the same outfit twice?" When she responded, "What are you talking about?" things got peculiar, especially when he saw the same exact plate of french toast, fruit, and juice that he had for breakfast yesterday and his sister wearing the same exact outfit as she wore. In a daze, he got on the bus, hearing the same exact conversation about classmates daring to outperform one another on skateboards after school. Eventually, he realized that his wish had been granted, so he was incredibly pleased, trying to smooth out the kinks from the previous day.

    Yet Seth was still his annoying self, and Ryan blurted out something cruel in his direction. The rest of his day went fine, but then he realizes for a few mornings, he has not left his horrible day.

    Ryan eventually realizes that he cannot "escape" every day unless he says something kind in Seth's direction. He then realizes that he has to live every day being considerate to Seth, which he has lived without for almost two years.

    ...Basically, Seth is unpopular and an absolute brainiac. When a few kids were mean to Seth at the beginning of second grade, Ryan was appalled inside, but sided with the mean boys on the outside. Ryan and Seth went their separate ways, but eventually, he gets Seth to try things he has never attempted (like skateboarding and soccer) and Seth also teaches him a few valuable lessons about friendship. Of course by the end, they are friends again, and the wish actually gets lifted, but Ryan doesn't even realize at first. He just goes on being kind to Seth.

    I just read this to my dad, and he said it's very similar to Groundhog Day, but it sounds like a new twist. I'll try to put some unique elements in there. There will be characters named Jordan (who actually changes her name to Jordin before the start of fourth grade because she wants to portray herself as Jordin Sparks), Jonathan (who is a lot like Seth, is actually very quiet and Ryan eventually finds out a lot about by the end of the book), Dillon (one of the bullies from second grade, who eventually changes, also), Patrick (who bullied along with Dillon back in the day but never changes), and Emily (who amazingly becomes Ryan's friend as he changes throughout the story).

    I'm sure there'll be more characters and a dynamic teacher who has this class. :lol: I hope to have a lot of fun with this story!
     
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  3. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I started the story:

    September 29, 2006

    It was a typical Thursday at Wadesboro Elementary School, so typical that it blended into every other day I had ever spent at school. Mrs. Wilkins was my second-grade teacher, and she was always really considerate to us, no matter how traumatic a situation we caused. However, things would change completely that day, particularly between my best friend Seth Morgan and me.

    Seth was not the typical second grade boy. He had dark brown hair and thick glasses. He was also a lot smaller than the rest of the boys in our class. It seemed as if every boy towered at least a foot over him. His voice was also very high and possessed a nasal quality. Yet what made him stand out even more was that he was a complete brainiac for his age, reading on at least a fifth grade level. While everyone toiled through Horrible Harry and Time Warp Trio books, he would sit and read books way beyond his age. His favorite of all was Johnny Tremain. He could multiply and divide really well, and he was fascinated with science. When he grew up, he wanted to become a crypto zoologist, while I was completely fascinated at the time with becoming a race car driver. Yet even though Seth and I seemed incredibly different, we possessed a lot of similarities. We met through our fathers before kindergarten because they both worked in carpentry. They got around to talking when my dad mentioned that I was already reading, and Seth’s dad chuckled, mentioning that he had been reading just before he turned four. We then met of course, and the rest was history.

    However on that fateful Thursday, we were on the swings, discussing the rules of chess. Seth enjoyed playing with his father, and I appreciated a lot of what he did, even though I was not as brilliant. All of a sudden, Dillon Randall and Patrick Delmar came marching up to us. Patrick grabbed at Seth’s glasses and vengefully snapped them in half. Dillon then followed Patrick and knocked Seth out of the swing with great force. Seth began bawling his eyes out, and the two boys persisted even more. I just sat there, appalled on the inside but not displaying much emotion on the outside. I was speechless. Suddenly Dillon swung on his heels and blurted out to me, “Are you actually going to keep hanging out with this dork?”

    My mouth was as dry as the Sahara Desert, and if they would have poked me in any way, I probably would have bawled my eyes out. Seth’s eyes were brimming with tears, glancing pleadingly in my direction. He may have been thinking, Please, set them straight, yet I was numb from head to toe. I did not want to be in Seth’s predicament and a crowd began surrounding us (as well as Mrs. Wilkins), so I blurted out the first thing my preposterous mind told me to say- “No, Dillon. I am not going to be his friend anymore.”

    It was like Pandora’s Box had opened at that moment. Seth was devastated with his mouth hanging open. His lip with quivering and he began shaking from head to toe. I was even more devastated that I betrayed him. Yet I could never take that moment back; I had to move on. Dillon and Patrick were beaming with delight that I had caused harm to my best friend. A few particularly mean kids, one named Jordan and another named Brent, began clapping. Seth then ran for his life.

    Mrs. Wilkins broke up the fight and hauled the two instigators down to the front office on their heels. Seth was escorted by a girl named Emily to the guidance office. She was a kind, quiet spirit who cared about everyone in her class. She consoled him while I sat in the swing like a complete fool. An extremely introverted boy named Jonathan than looked at me and snarled, “Good going. You hurt your best friend.” He then disappeared when another second grade teacher, Ms. Morrow, gathered our class to bring us inside. I followed reluctantly, struck, eventually out to become sort of an outcast.
     
  4. DreamToTeach

    DreamToTeach Companion

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I like it! It is like Groundhog Day, but different. I like the character building that will happen with a number of the players, especially Ryan! I also like some of the great vocabulary words you used in the story. I think it will be great! Are you going to share the story with the kids as you write it? Since you said it was FOR you 4th graders, I didn't know if you meant that you were making them a part of it. I think you are adventurous!!
     
  5. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Aug 9, 2008

    That's so cool! I thought of Groundhog Day too, but again the character development sounds great.

    I always wanted to write children's books. I haven't had the inspiration yet, I mean a couple ideas here and there, but it's something I really want to do someday! Go, you!
     
  6. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Aug 9, 2008

    They're not a part of the story, but there is a Jonathan and Ryan in this year's class (as well as last year's class). There is also a Dillon in another class down the hall, but these characters are not modeled after them.

    It's just a cool chapter book for them.

    Everyone changes a lot in the story... even Patrick will have a few great moments.

    I hope I'm inspired to continue writing. I've started a few books before, but never finished them.
     
  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 10, 2008

    I hope you do finish this one--it sounds great!

    One of the most famous Canadian children's authors--Eric Walters--is a teacher (although I'm not sure if he is teaching at this time). The characters in his books are based his students and have been wildly successful.
     
  8. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Jan 21, 2012

    Looking back, I finished this in 2009. The story turned out to be decent; I have shared it with three classes who have greatly enjoyed it. Not with this year's group yet, but they will be exposed to the lovely plot when it is time.

    My current story: Etola's Keeper, plagued by writer's block. It is approximately 100 pages now, but I know I am not even close to done.

    Never asked, but has anyone here ever authored a picture or chapter book? My best friend is planning on attending an illustrating workshop; I am excited for her.
     

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