To set the stage I want the class to start thinking about elves. To do this I want to read the class some stories about elves. There are some good poems and short stories on the internet about elves. The one story I like to read at this time of year is the Shoemaker and the Elves by the Grimm Brothers.
I use them to start talking about characteristics of elves and what they know about them. This is a fun discussion and the class has some very similar ideas. I tried to keep them more focused on the idea of Santa and elves and not those written in other science fiction stories.
Now that we have a good thought process going and the excitement of elves is in the air, it is time to start their brainstorm as an elf. I ask them to take out their white boards and begin brainstorming what their life as an elf might be like.
As they write, I prompt their thinking further with questions. I ask them to list what their job is, what they eat, when do they work and when do they rest, and other things like what they do when they take a break. I continue to have them write and work on their brainstorm.
With most of them having a good idea of what they want to write, I want to give everyone a chance to develop their thinking further. I want all of them to feel like they have a good place to start their writing.
I ask the class to put their markers down and to help me out. I ask some of the same questions again, but instead of writing I want to hear what they wrote.
Now it is time to allow students the chance to take on the personality of an elf. I give them time to write and develop their thoughts. I walk around and help students with editing and revising. I do not form their ideas, but answer questions that they might need to help develop their ideas.
As students finish I proofread and either collect their writing or ask for another copy. A few students finish early and so I have them decorate their writing paper.