Question about Writer's Workshop

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by Ms.T, Jun 23, 2007.

  1. Ms.T

    Ms.T Comrade

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    Jun 23, 2007

    I do writer's workshop on a regular basis with my 2nd graders. It goes very well. But this last year I had a big problem with students writing stories about other kids in the class. Mostly they were just silly stories like "X gets in a car crash" or "A and B get married and have kids".

    Sometimes the other kids are good sports, or like being the topic of a story, other times there are hurt feelings. I tried saying no writing using names of other kids in the class, but I don't want to stifle their creativity.

    Also, I really feel that kids should be able to write what they want. Sometimes they make up violent stories though (so and so had a gun, the characters get into fights, etc.).

    How do you deal with these {seemingly petty, but not really:rolleyes: } issues with your students?
     
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  3. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    They have to ask the student they want to write about for their permission. They should be able to write what they want, but even adult writer's have to change the names of people in their books, or get permission... at least most of the time!

    I think this is fair. I have done this for quite a few years, and there has never been a problem. Usually, when asked, the other child will say, "what's the story about?" And if he or she doesn't want to be part of that story, they can say no.

    What you don't want is kids going around asking everyone as a way to avoid writing. If someone wants to write about someone in the class and the people at the table say no, sometimes I will have them write a line in place of the name, and they can ask during lunch or recess.
     
  4. sayuri

    sayuri Rookie

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    Jun 23, 2007

    my students also need to ask permission before using a name in the story. i explain that it shows respect for another person if you ask before using.

    in regards to the blood & guts thing, i tell my students that i really don't like to hear about those types of things. we make suggestions for each other about "alternative" storylines that don't get as violent. it forces them to be a little more creative in their vocabulary too.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 23, 2007

    Giving them CHOICE is one thing- writing unaceptable subject matter is another. Give choice within parameters. If they want to write FICTION you should do a fiction unit of study. Make rules about not writing about real people.

    Elementary kids write best about their own lives- (personal narratives- nonfiction!!!) encourage and TEACH about small moments in their lives to write about, make a chart of writing ideas (birthday parties, play dates, sleep overs, vacations, pets...)
     
  6. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    The students are being exploratory, but as the others said, there is an issue with going too far. Either do what czacza suggested about not using any real names in the class- or tell the students what is acceptable before writing. Maybe give a general prompt at times that cannot go the route their exploratory selves desire to take it...
     
  7. knittingbec

    knittingbec Comrade

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    Maybe your class could brainstorm a list of fun-sounding names that aren't names of kids in your class. I know girls in my class loved writing with "fancy" names like Ariel, Sabrina, Victoria, etc. Maybe just having a chart paper with a long list of boy, girl, and animal names would help.
     
  8. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    I agree! 2nd graders shouldn't be writing blood & guts stories, especially since they haven't experienced life yet to know about these things, they are probably just writing about what they see on t.v. I teach my 2nd graders to write about what they know. I definately teach a "Small Moments" writing unit & encourage them to write small moments often, even for free writes. You can also teach a unit on Fictional writing as well which I've done and I didn't have one child write a horror movie.:) I had them draw a ficitonal character to start, give the character a name, describe the setting of the story and give the character a problem and a solution. They do all this before even writing the story, which gives them a guideline to follow & it really helps them expand on their creativity. This will also prevent kids from writing stories about classmates getting hit by cars etc. Have them make up a fictional character.
     
  9. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jun 24, 2007

    Sadly, this is sometimes based upon the child's actual experiences from their home environment.
     
  10. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    You're right about that. I work in an inner city school so I understand. I'm just saying that it is okay for them to write about life experiences (if they are actually their life experience) but it is also okay for them to write about moments in their personal lives. Maybe they can write about the time when their brother got shot, but maybe teach them how to narrow the story down to a "small moment" out of their lives so that they can describe in their stories how they felt when it happened, what their thoughts were when they saw their brother for the first time, describe what that moment was actually like-for them. This will allow room for creativity, but eliminate the "The Day My Brother Got Shot" big, watermelon stories, and keep them writing tiny, seed stories. A piece of that day that was important. I teach my kids to not write "watermelon" stories but write "seed" stories out of that big watermelon event. I hope this makes sense.
     
  11. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    It does, and I love the analogy!
     
  12. knittingbec

    knittingbec Comrade

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    Oooh! I love the watermelon/seed analogy too! I'll have to file that in my brain for future use!
     
  13. Lotte

    Lotte Companion

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    This is what I do too.
     
  14. Ms.T

    Ms.T Comrade

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    Thanks, all, for your comments. I think I will adopt an 'ask the person for permission' rule for using names.

    Sadly, most of my students are refugees (or if they aren't their parents are) and have moved here from the war-torn countries of the middle east in the past few years. It blows my mind the things that they talk about. Most of them have seen people dying/being killed/war happening. It's no wonder they write about violent things. :(
     
  15. hanvan

    hanvan Connoisseur

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    I like the "asking a person"...I had a student that was "stuck" on writing stories about lizards. If I had to read one more story about his lizard I was going to die. I mean how much can a lizard do? I modeled how to write about something different and made everyone choose something to write about that was different than their last story.
     
  16. froglady

    froglady New Member

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    In the classroom where I student-taught, the teacher handled this at the beginning of the year by saying that the world already had so much violence and that it didn't need any more. I go one step further and, during our anti-bias period of the day, talk about how it is their generation's difficult job to figure out how to lessen the violence and hatred of other people. (My kids loved knowing that they had to figure out answers that adults couldn't figure out. Very empowering stuff...) Thus, no need to write about guns, killing, etc in our Writer's Workshop.
     
  17. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    When I was teaching about seed stories and making connections, we went out for a silent walk and I asked each student to notice just one thing. Then we came back in and each one told what they noticed. We oohed and aahed over all the different perspectives. Then I asked them each to tell me what their thing made them think of. It was a powerful lesson.
     
  18. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I wonder if this is the way that Beverly Cleary wrote in elementary school.. all about this strange little mouse, lol. ;)
     
  19. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jun 24, 2007

    And that James Howe, always writing about white vegetables!
     

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