Teacher Advice -- January, 2008
Last month I suggested that you give your students the first sentence of story that they were to complete. Another way to inspire a story is to give students headlines. Headlines have a shape; now your young writers must add the particulars. Here are a few headlines:
* Gerta is arrested for working too hard.
* Mafia Don's wife runs off with a nerd.
* Martians are asked to leave tourist haven.
* Willy figures out the key to happiness.
* Billy and Olga fall at Gino's Pizza Palace.
* Weight lifter takes up stamp collecting.
* Teacher confronts a cheater.
* Professor learns an important lesson from his cab driver.
* Francisco burns all of his money.
* Dentist cheats his customers.
* Customer cheats her dentist
* Wilma misunderstands her mother.
* Librarian gets even.
* Sword swallower gets the flu.
* Erna misses the point.
* Next time Sam will listen.
* Minister Jones has an evil idea.
Writing a children's story can sharpen your students' appreciation of detail and voice. Plus, they'll like sharing what they have created. Here are a few ways to get started.
You might ask your students to write a simple story featuring three unrelated objects such as:
a wig, a smile, and the Pacific Ocean
Try provocative titles such as:
salad, a teddy bear, revenge
a grain of sand, an ankle, a broken watch
"The Missing Tooth"
Don't forget first sentences:
"Archie's Strange Adventure"
"Billy and the Nearsighted Donkey"
"Once upon a time there was a lizard who hated her name."
To stir up more interest, bring some of your own favorite children's stories to class. Better yet, ask an author of children's books to pay a visit.
"In the land of Grieg, smiles were outlawed."
"It was time for the king to clean up the moat."
Email your advice to firstname.lastname@example.org.