As I'm wrapping up the Short Story Unit, I'm thinking ahead to our next unit where the students will write a Character Analysis Essay. Along with my PLC partner, we've changed the class novel from Holes to The Fourth Stall. Today, as I read aloud from The Fourth Stall, I'm simply reading to get the kids engaged in the book. As we get further into the book (and our next unit), they will begin tracking the progress and changes in the main characters.
For this unit, I use a Story Starter each day to create a bank of possible first drafts. These are rough starters, which is okay. There will be time at the end of the unit for students to expand their favorite starter into a full-blown short story. I feel that if they have a large and varied bank to choose from, they'll feel more confident being creative.
This Story Starter was taken from one of the Story Starter Generator websites I'd come across when planning the unit. If I have access to the iPads, I'd generally allow the students to use them to find a prompt, but for this lesson I had no such luck. I simply chose some of my favorites and allowed students to write from those.
Students use the reflection stems to tell me what their take-away is for the lesson.