I'm a storyteller by nature. It all started in first grade when we had ... Show and Tell. A few years ago, when I saw my first grade teacher, she told me about the time I got up in front of the room and told the whole class about the birds and the bees. I love telling stories.
My stories end up in my classroom. For the most part, they are more appropriate than my first grade stories. A lot of times, I tell stories about people in my life who've taught me a life lesson or have given me a good laugh.
This year, one of my students' assignments was to write about someone who matters to them. For the most part, these papers were the best papers. I really learned a lot about my students, their parents, or their grandparents. I really tried to stress to that their parents or grandparents would be more interesting than a best friend.
I gave the students a graphic organizer of characterization and one of a plot diagram. The purpose of the graphic organizer is to help students know what paragraph goes where. I took a transparency of the graphic organizer and showed them how I would start my paper. Throughout the day, I talked about two people who mattered to me. The first "paper" I wrote was about Grandma Shirley.
My characterization sheet showed grandma's habits, hobbies, sayings, what she looked like, and the trouble she had with breathing from her many years smoking.
The kids laughed as I told them how she'd always say "Run 'em over!" anytime we encountered a pedestrian when driving around in her bright red Mercury.
We took the information about her and put it on a plot diagram to plan my paper. I showed them how I would organize my paper by using grandma's "big stuff" as the climax.
This was one of the easiest lessons I taught. I suppose because I could use my past to show them how to write something meaningful. After my laughter and tears about a crazy old lady who taught me how to sew and knit, many of them wanted to share about their honorable grandfathers, silly aunties, and patient mothers. You know someone who matters to them.