Getting to the “Bones” of Writing

Being home with a sick family today has given me the gift of a little extra time. As both my daughter and father are sleeping at the moment, I’m taking the time to look through my tentative lesson plans and see what interesting ideas pop up and, surprise surprise, I almost immediately had an epiphany.

As we get down to the real meat of writing in the coming nine weeks, my students will need to tap in to prior knowledge in order to really understand how written pieces come together, so that they can write their own (amazing!) pieces. Since we’re in the middle of October, what better way to could there be to start this discussion than to incorporate Science (anatomy), Art, and Writing in a hands on class discussion about the “Bones of a Story”?

Give each student a copy of a paper skeleton pattern (such as this one I found on Pinterest)

Introduce the basics of the skeleton they’re holding, i.e. the arms, legs, skull, spine, etc. and relate it to writing by way of a transition sentence such as “Just as Our Bodies need a Skeleton to build muscles upon, every written piece needs its author to provide similar bones to build words on.”

Then have an ‘open discussion’ (class discussion) about what the ‘bones’ of a good story might be. Tell the students that throughout the discussion they should choose the ‘story bones’ that sound the most important to them, and write them on one of the skeleton’s pieces. At the end of the discussion each student will cut out and assemble their newly formed ‘writer’s skeleton’.

I will be using this in conjunction with an anchor chart of a (Haunted House!) so that all of our thoughts on the bare bones of writing will be recorded, whether or not the students include everything on their skeletons. At the end of the class, we’ll hang their works of art on the back wall with the filled in anchor chart…with 4 classes of 5th graders this should decorate my classroom for Halloween without too much effort!

Though I teach fifth grade, this is a lesson that can be transferred to almost any age group (Even pre-k and kindergarten!) and any subject without too much effort. The best thing about it, in my opinion, is the great opportunity for you, the teacher, to HAVE FUN WITH IT! When you have fun with learning, the students will too. Enthusiasm, much like the cold, is contagious!

I hope that you have fun if you choose to use this idea, and would love to hear how the kids like it!

Have a wonderful weekend!

**My beginning speech to get minds rolling in this activity will be something similar to “Welcome to Ms. Tyree’s House of Horror’ibly Great Writing! Today we will be discussing the basic parts, or BONES, of a good story. Just like our bodies needs the skeletal system to build up into a person, every story needs it’s own basic (skeletal) structure. 

Each of you should have a set of pages in front of you (the jointed skeleton pattern). Turn those over and take a look. See how those will fit together to form an articulated skeleton?    As we discuss the ‘bones’ of a good story today, I want you to choose your favorite options for a writing skeleton, and put each one of them on one of the bones in front of you. (It does not have to be EVERYTHING that we talk about, JUST THE ONES THAT YOU FEEL STRONGEST ABOUT!) 

Any questions? If not, lets go ahead and start with what you think are the basic bones of a story. (At this point I will be opening the floor up for students to begin interacting with me. Depending on the mood, attitude, and behavior in each particular class that day, they may be allowed to come up and write their choices on the board OR I may do all the writing)

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Tyree Tomes Update

Tyree Tomes Update

For the past week or so I have been trying to decide the best ways to promote our ‘brand’ throughout the upcoming year. Should I be that annoying social networker who posts constantly so that our page is never out of sight? No, sadly I have a daughter and a life outside of promoting and writing, so I can’t be quite that pushy…although I’m sure I could come close.

Should I then outsource so that we don’t do anything other than sign the paperwork? No, I’m afraid that my father and I are both too controlling for that to work well..besides, Tyree Tomes is ours.

What then should I do?? Well, I was about to decide that last year’s policy of procrastination and day dreaming would work wonders in 2014 but then I realized something…I could do one or two little things a week. Things like updating you, my wonderful readers, on our week’s work, or creating a logo, or this lovely “Keep Calm” picture. These things didn’t take a lot of time. They don’t fill me doubts about my abilities. They just allow me to connect our page with people who might actually enjoy knowing about it.. Imagine that.

I got so into the idea of a logo that there are currently TEN possible Tyree Tomes logos on our Facebook page, waiting for people to like and comment on their favorites. If you would like to be one of those people, the URL is on the bottom of this post’s picture. We would love to see you there, and hear what you think about our logos!

If you would like to read my Father’s blog, which is spiritually based though rarely updated, you can find him at http://tyreetomes.wordpress.com/

Thank you all for reading and for putting in your two-cents on our logos! 😉 Have a Blessed Day!

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Another Free Book – Kindle App Edition

Another Free Book – Kindle App Edition

Who are you reading this week? If you don’t have a Monday book picked out yet, may I suggest my own?

Beginning tomorrow (December 16th) at 12 am and going through Midnight Tuesday (December 17th), the newest Stone Dragon Saga book, Dragon on the Green, will be available for free download.

Pass the word along and see how many I can give away in the two days!

Feel free to leave messages and/or reviews for me wherever I pop up!

Have a blessed day and enjoy the reading!