Ruth’s Slice(s) of Life: A New Minilesson Idea

Slice 1:

All morning I waited for Laurie Halse Anderson’s post about the writing challenge for today. Although a little apprehensive about whether this would be worthwhile, I found myself writing interview questions and then answering them in the voice of a dad. Well past the required fifteen minutes, I was still writing, learning all kinds of things about a fictional character. This exercise sparked my imagination and as the day went on I found a deeper understanding of my main character. By simply viewing her through the eyes of someone else, I developed a more well-rounded understanding.

By the afternoon not only was the phrase “Oh you of little faith,” chastising me, but I had the interview idea filed as something to introduce to students interested in writing fiction (or during a fiction unit of study).

Slice 2:

We cuddled on the couch for before bed books. I silently gave a sigh of relief to see they had raided the library books so I wouldn’t be reading The Little Engine that Could, Hop on Pop, and A Child’s Garden of Verses for the million and tenth time. (Don’t get me wrong, I love these books and rereading them, but sometimes it’s nice to have a break.) Instead, at the bottom of the our before bed book pile we cracked open Nick Bruel’s Who is Melvin Bubble?

The entire story is structured by interviewing different people about Melvin Bubble. There were the expected interviewees like Mom, Dad, and Best Friend, but his Dog, his Teddy Bear, the Tooth Fairy, a Beautiful Princess, and the Meanest Man in the World also weighed in with their opinions. As we giggled with each new perspective of Melvin Bubble, I realized this book would be a perfect companion in a minilesson about the strategy of  interviewing a secondary character about the main character. (I also though it could be a cool set up for students to consider what others may say about them as they reflect on their lives in a small moment, personal narrative, or memoir unit of study.)

And this is how many slices of my life go . . . they often lead to ideas about the teaching of writing. 🙂