I’m working in a fifth grade classroom this week who studied Chris Van Allsburg and are now working on their own fantasy stories. I must admit I was a bit skeptical about the teacher’s decision to begin the year with fantasy writing, but after a few days in the classroom, I think it’s a brilliant idea. Here’s why:
- The students are really excited. I’m beginning to believe it’s the dream of every fifth grader to write fiction. Their imaginations are running wild.
- It’s a great opportunity to use mentor texts and learn how to “read like a writer.”
- They are able to refresh their memories on the writing process. They are working on these projects and will soon take one draft to publication.
- It’s a genre they’ve not attempted before in writing workshop. What a way to celebrate being a “5th grade writer!”
- It’s meeting Indiana State Standards in a way that is meaningful to students. What a way to “go in through the back door” of the standards book.
And it’s been a refreshing challenge to me. I’ve never written a fantasy story and so I’ve been learning along with them. Tomorrow (for WNW (Writer’s Notebook Wednesdays)), I’m going to share my notebook entries surrounding this project.