I like to begin with a review and discussion. This time I want them to work in pairs to discuss. Allowing each person time to talk and give their two cents. Sometimes, this smaller discussion brings out quieter students and gives them a chance to share in a safer setting.
Working with an elbow partner, I ask students to share some of the crazy behaviors of Fudge in "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing." I remind them that they each need to share a different behavior with each other. Next, I ask the partners to share where and why it happened in the story. Again, each student needs to share. The third discussion point is on how Peter, his parents, and other characters reacted in the story.
I then ask my class to fill in a graphic organizer that I use when I want them to brainstorm their thoughts in pieces. In each box, students will be able to write down their ideas to draw upon later. I have included it in the resources section. I have found this very useful in helping students focus their thoughts and stay on topic.
We are now going to write up our details or "Meat and Potatoes." I have a previous lesson that helps student organize their writing. Each box on the organizer will contain a different detail that will be important in the retelling of their narrative.
It is important to model that when using the graphic organizer, students can take notes to fit their ideas in the box. Sometimes complete sentences take too much space and more difficult to write. I let them know that sentences will be needed for their draft, but not their brainstorming.
Here is the information I have them put into each box. The event they are writing about has to do with their behavior and is in comparison to that of Fudge in the book.
BOX 1: They need to put the age they were when the event and behavior happened.
BOX 2: Students will explain what the crazy behavior was and what it looked like.
BOX 3: This is where students will explain the setting of the event. I like to remind them that Fudge acted up in a restaurant in one part of the book and I ask them to tell me how Judy Blume set the scene.
BOX 4: What was I thinking?! Why did they act the way they did?
BOX 5: What was everyone else thinking? Who saw it and how did they react?
BOX 6: Why did you stop and have you ever done it again? This one is fun because depending on you students they often realize that they might sometimes act a little immature. This is where they can laugh a little at themselves.
This piece is helping them wrap up their ideas. It ties into the last box I have them fill in, on what made them give their behavior up. I like to go over what a conclusion is and why we have to end our writing with one.
I do think that this conclusion can be one of the most fun for them to write. They can end it on a bit of a funny note. I try to get them to think about writing one sentence about giving up the behavior, but adding a "sort of" piece. This is where students practice concluding their writing with a catchy ending.
I share a story about myself, where I have a tantrum about where we were going to eat as a family in Phoenix when I was their age. I explain how I acted and the reactions I received. The part I want to focus on is the conclusion. I set the stage for students by setting myself up. I explain how I did not get my way, but how my Dad's great idea backfired. The restaurant he chose was awful and we had to go eat somewhere else anyway. I then tie that into how it affected my behavior the next time.
Once all the pieces have been written I have them start putting it all together into a draft. Due to time, this might be easier to save the drafting piece for another writing time.
When you show them how to put it together, I have students follow their boxes and put their ideas into sentences. I model adding an explanation to a detail, to make sure they understand that they might need to add information to their notes.
An example I would use would be sharing the detail of my Dad not wanting to eat where I chose but then explaining it with one more sentence on where he wanted to eat and why.