Tuesday, August 10, 2010

12 Sides to Your Story... Simple steps for turning ordinary writing into something extraordinatory

I'm in Whistler with a couple of friends and it's raining-rather novel of late-we hadn't had rain in about six weeks until a couple of days ago but hear the sun is returning tomorrow.  I went to Gabriola Island for a couple of days and refused to bring a raincoat or umbrella so feel a bit of responsibility for the change in weather.

So yes I am actually going to talk about a professional book, 12 Sides to Your Story by Graham Foster. This is one of those nice flip books from Pembroke.  I may have mentioned that I felt quite guilty when author, Melanie Jackson, came to my class, and gave an excellent presentation on plot and I realized that I had been remiss about doing much really creative writing, fictional story writing, with my class.  Non fiction writing seemed to be more of a focus.  Now as someone who had given innumerable workshops on writing this doesn't sound too good but realities of the classroom sometimes vary from the ideal.  After Melanie's visit, we spent time on fictional writing. 

One thing I decided is that I would put more of an emphasis on story writing early this year so that I was interested in checking out this book.  The book is designed to be used by teachers or students but I know there are those amazing students who would conscientiously read this but probably more likely to be used by teachers.  I think it's a good step up for teachers at the grade six to nine level who are already familiar with writing workshop and six trait writing approaches.  If anyone wants some suggestions for materials for good starting points for these,  just let me know.

This book is divided into the following sections:  using story writing strategies; organization; content; sentence structure; vocabulary and voice; conventions; and revising and sharing.  There are good ideas and examples in each section.  I like the layout as well.

I think I am actually staying still for the next few days so am going to force myself into doing some planning for the coming year.  Last summer more closely reading Nancy Atwell's The Reading Zone made me rethink again silent reading and reading strategies that I had been using in classrooms in which I had been working as a literacy coach, and in my classroom it helped me hopefully create more avid readers. I find my classroom practice is influenced by a number of professional books so that my silent reading program has elements  I am also looking forward hopefully this year to have a bit of time to do some co-planning with some of my fellow teachers around reading and writing.  Summer is definitely a great time for battery recharging!  It's no longer raining but still cloudy skies here in Whistler.  Just thinking of the long title of 12 Sides to Your Story-I think I like just thinking about turning anything ordinary into something extraordinatory.


Melanie Jackson, author, editor, piano student said...

I am going to check this book out for sure! Thanks for letting people know about it.

meredyth kezar said...

Thank you, Melanie!