Erica and I are team teaching two classes at Roland Park Middle School. Our first class is a group of 12 sixth grade students, and our second is a group of about 20 eight graders.
We started out by bringing in a lightly edited for content Dave Sedaris piece, and as a group went over the way he sculpted himself as a character, and what writing techniques he used to present himself to his readers. After an in depth discussion of this we had our students write pieces about themselves and encouraged them to incorporate what they had learned from our in class discussion.
The next week Erica and I brought in a piece by a travel writer that depicted Paris in an humorous and engaging way. We went over how the author amplified the setting in his piece, and stressed the importance of a well developed setting in a fiction piece. We assigned a creative piece where the student wrote a brief story that centered around a location.
The third week we brought in 'A Tell-Tale Heart' by Poe, and then we gave the students a basic outline to assist them in writing their own ghost/scary stories. We discussed the basic elements in a stories structure (main characters, setting, plot- introduction, rising action, climax, resolution, etc) and had them outline their stories for us. We reviewed the stories and then this current week we took the entire hour to write the stories and have individual conferences with the students about their rough drafts.
Erica and I hope that the students will finish the final drafts of their stories after next weeks class so that we can take them and turn them into a book that we can give to each student to keep. We also want to have the students read the stories allowed during the class before Halloween.