November 29, 2010

Story Surgery

Earlier this year, I taught a mini-lesson on Story Surgery that I borrowed from Ralph Fletcher's Craft Lessons K-8.  Here's a secret...sometimes kids' writing absolutely SUCKS their first draft out!!!!  No really, it can be a big garbled mess.  But here's a bigger secret that I just learned this year...that's okay!!!!  My perfectionist self tends to like a nice and neat first draft, but it is SO much more beneficial (in my opinion) to just let kids write, then teach them the beauty of revising.  Because the first draft is often a little sketchy, I love Story Surgery.  I have my kiddos write on every other line on just one side of the paper for the first draft.  Then, as I am going over the writing with them in conferences, we will look for places that may need more elaborating, or parts that are out of order.  Next (and here's the fun part), the kids will cut apart their draft, and tape it onto fresh paper leaving room for the new additions.

It's very practical, and let's face it, it's fun too.  I keep a set of scissors and some scotch tape in the writing supplies bin (along with whisper phones, thesauruses, and red and blue pens for revising/editing), and while at first I thought they would get crazy with them, they are actually very responsible.  Anyways, this all came up because I noted this case of story surgery getting a bit out of hand...

Story Surgery--yep, those are all taped together!!
Hey, at least she was revising!!! :) 

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