I start today’s lesson by asking my students, “Boys and girls, would you like to hear the best story?” My students have many replies, such as “Sure, what is it?”, or “Oh, this should be good!”, and even, “I know what’s the best story! It’s…” and many more. But then I get serious and say, “No, really. Do you want to hear the best story?” Now, I’ve got all my students wondering what could possibly be the BEST story! That’s when I pull out The Best Story, written by Eileen Spinelli! I say, “See, The Best Story! I can’t wait to share this story with you! It’s the best!” A few of my students chuckle at my little joke!
Before I begin reading, I ask the students, “Why do you think Eileen Spinelli called this book The Best Story? Turn to your neighbor and discuss what you’re thinking!” I let students turn and talk for a moment, and then I wrangle them back in with “If you can hear my voice, say, “Oh yeah!” (Students say, “Oh yeah!”) If you can hear my voice, say, “This is going to be the best story!” (Students say, “This is going to be the best story!”). Then I say, “Okay, third graders, here we go! But as I’m reading, think about why Eileen Spinelli might have called this book The Best Story. What does she want you to learn from this story?” Then I begin reading!
After I finish reading, I ask my students, “So, what was Mrs. Spinelli trying to tell us?” I ask the kids to turn and talk to their partners for a moment, and then I let some of the students share. One of the students says, “She was trying to say that when you write a story, it will only be really good if it’s your own story!”
I say, “Oh my goodness third graders! Did you hear that? I love that thinking! I think our class just did a great job recognizing and identifying the narrator's (or author's) point of view! I agree with that statement! I, too, think that Mrs. Spinelli wants us to learn that when we write a story, it should be our own ideas, and then we can appreciate it the most, and call it the “best” to us! That’s because this is our “best” work because it came from us! That deserves a power woosh!" Then I teach my students a new power woosh that goes: 1, 2, 3... Your story is the best story!... Woosh! (See my Power Woosh video in my Strategy folder for more on Power Wooshes!)
Now that the students have identified what the author or narrator's point of view was, I want the students to identify their own point of view. I want them to decide if they agree or disagree with the point of view in the text. So, I say to the students, “But wait, I have a question: Do you think it’s a good idea to think about some other authors’ stories to decide how we might want to our own stories? What is your point of view?”. One of my students says, “Well, yes, it’s okay to think about ideas other people have, because maybe you want to do something kind of like that in your story, but still, your story should be yours!” I say, “Great! I love your point of view! And, my point of view actually matches yours! It’s actually a really good idea to read lots and lots of stories to see what other authors do, but when we go to write, we should try to write our own ideas! Awesome!”
To wrap up today’s lesson, I let the students know that tomorrow we’re going talk more about stories. In particular, I want my student to understand the component of narratives so that they can begin to write their own narratives in future lessons, so we’re going to learn about what parts are needed to write a solid narrative! An important reminder that I will share with the students throughout will be that we need to remember that the ideas we put in our narratives should be our own, and this well help us write the "best stories"!