Ideas Mini-Lessons to help student ORGANIZATION:
Give them some examples:
Label a piece of chart paper "Titles Come From:". List three categories under the title: "Names of Characters", "Words from the Story", "A Place in the Story".
Tell students authors get their titles by using the name of an important character like Miss Rumphius, a quotation from the story like Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle, or a key setting or place in the story like Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold.
Over several days read these books to your students and ask students to tell you from which category the title comes. List the book title under the correct category.
As you read stories aloud later, talk about where the source of the titles and add them to the chart. Leave room to add more categories if you find something else later.
Ahead of time label a piece of chart paper with "Good Beginnings for Stories". Under this title list four headings: "Questions", "Characters Talking", "Action" and "Telling Who and/or Where".
Tell students authors think about how to begin their stories in an interesting way. Read the first sentence of each of these four books and ask students to tell you what kind of beginning it is, using the categories on the chart. Write the beginning sentence and the title in the correct category.
Model the writing of a story of your own and begin it with one of these types of beginnings.
Explain to children that stories do not just stop when the author runs out of time or gets tired of writing. They have endings and this is different from simply writing "The End".
Ahead of time label a piece of chart paper "Good Endings for Stories". Under this title list these categories: Surprise Endings, Happy Endings, Sad but True Endings.
Read aloud I Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. Ask students whether they think this book will fit best under surprise, happy or sad. Most students will probably think it is sad. If they do, add the title of this book to the "sad" category.
On another day read Beware of the Bears! (surprise ending), and add it to the chart. Later, read The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle (happy ending) and add the title to the chart.
Continue to add books from read aloud time to the chart for several weeks. It is really not important that all students agree on what kind of an ending the story has as long as they have a good rationale for their thinking.