Thursday, December 16, 2010

Realistic Fiction Charts to Support Student Independence

Are you in the midst of your realistic fiction writing unit?  Are you looking for ways to support students to work independently on strategies you have taught in minilessons?  You may want to make some charts with your students to do the following:

1.  Track your teaching points - the big ideas of your teaching points - in language the kids can remember and read.
2.  Give clear examples of the teaching points.
3.  Provide language or prompts to help them get started with parter talk or the next step of the writing process.

Of course, there are many possible charts you could make in this unit.  Here are a few I have used with kids in first and second grade classrooms in Manhattan that support independent work based on the three things I mentioned above.

Below:  An example of a chart that tracks some of the big teaching points.

Below:  The next two charts give students some of the language they can use 
while working with their writing partners to work on their fiction stories.

The chart below shows students ways they can "show and not tell" in realistic fiction stories.  These are the same strategies many students used in narrative writing.  Under each strategy are two post-it notes.  The small one is an example of the "tell," what I could say in my story.  Next to it is the more elaborate, "show" post-it, showing what it would look like to get that message across to my reader when I use that elaboration strategy.

 Below:  Close ups of the demo writing on the post-its from the chart above.  The character I have been using in my demonstration writing is Essie, a young girl who loves football and has just moved to her new neighborhood.  She is searching for new friends and her mom wants her to try some new activities.  In one of my stories she refuses to go to dance class.  The examples on the chart are from that story.


  1. Sarah,

    These are awesome! Thanks so much for sharing them with all of us! I think this can help so many teachers teach kids to do this unit with more independence!!!

  2. These charts are just what I needed!