Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Create A Book, Wk 2

Yesterday was my second Create-a-Book class. This week we talked about characters and setting. The students had come to class with story ideas this week, so I asked them to open their notebooks and write the name of their main character at the top of the page. Then I wrote these questions on the board, for them to copy and answer in their notebook:
family members?
hair color / eye color?
favorite color?
favorite food?
least favorite food?
favorite school subject?
least favorite school subject?
personality? ( shy, outgoing, gentle, loud )
character traits? ( honest, kind, impatient, etc)
favorite activities? ( sports, music, Scouts, church, etc)
other important information:

This is to get to "know" your character, even if this information is not actually going to be included in your story!

Next, we talked about 5 Ways We Get to Know a Character

  1. The writer tells directly
  2. Through the character's words
  3. Through the character's thoughts & feelings
  4. Through the character's actions

  5. Through the response of other characters in the story

We looked at some examples taken from children's books. Which of these ways was the author using to describe his character?

Harry was a white dog with black spots who liked everything except...getting a bath. ( Harry the Dirty Dog ) #1

Of course no one had ever seen Mr. Hatch wearing a tie, or smelling of aftershave, or smiling. So he got a lot of attention. Mrs. Weed tripped over her dog. Mr. Dunwoody nearly fell off his ladder. And little Tina Finn spilled all the toys #5

It was a great relief to Heidi to know that the windows could be opened and that one could look out, for she still felt as if she was shut up in prison. ( Heidi) #3

To learn about Setting, we looked at some pictures ( images printed off of Google Images ) of things like a parade, a snowy backyard, a family around a campfire, a basketball game, and Disney World. We went around the room, and the kids responded to the questions : Imagine you are there. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell or taste? What do you feel/ touch?
Passages from Heidi , The Cricket in Times Square, and Little Town on the Prairie, had wonderful descriptions of setting, and we identified words that described the time and place, and appealed to the 5 senses.
Homework this week is to fill out a worksheet to describe the main character in their story, and also a worksheet that describes the setting using the 5 Senses.

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