Friday, November 18, 2016

Write a Pirate Story...Read on to Discover a FREEBIE!


In my pirate themed classroom, my students and I gave ourselves pirate names. The idea came from a pirate book that went home with a student and never made its way back to school! No surprise there. After all, it was
a pirate classroom!

The author of the missing book had a formula for creating a pirate name which I believe was based on Treasure Island's notorious character, Long John Silver. First, you select a word that describes one of your personality or  physical traits. In this case, Long for the pirate's height. Next, you use your given name such as John. Finally, choose something bright and shiny like Silver.

My pirate name is Sweet-tooth Linda Ruby (Sweet-tooth, I love chocolate; Linda, my given name; Ruby, my birthstone)!

Once we had our pirate aliases, we greeted each other every morning with our pseudonyms and chanted our pirate mantra, "We are the Pirates of Perrine! Discover the knowledge! Yo! Ho!"

As a strong advocate of tying together the various curricula taught within a classroom, I combined our study of maps, geographic physical features (isthmus, strait, gulf, etc.), and geographic human features (equator, hemispheres, harbor, etc.) with the literacy standard of writing a narrative (ELA-Literacy.W.3.3, 4.3, 5.3). As a result, my young pirates constructed grid maps for a "Treasure Island" that included those required geographic features as well as the location of buried pirate booty. In addition, they wrote directions on how to reach the treasure using coordinates. 

A third component of this unit was writing a narrative about a pirate who ran into obstacles as she, or he, protected a valuable prize. Of course, the main characters of the stories were given our own pirate names making us, the writers, part of the narrative!

Here's how we went about writing our stories:

Week 1-- Throughout the week I read a variety of pirate picture books to my students, and together we constructed an anchor chart on the narrative elements. For each story read, we identified the important characters and discussed their roles in the story. In addition to describing the setting, we talked about its influence on what happens in the narrative. We established the conflict and reviewed the different ways the main character attempted to resolve it. Finally, we determined the

Weeks 2&3--  Students were provided with a Narrative Elements map, and I modeled how to use it. I began with the main character who was based on me. I describe my character's physical features and discussed a few of her personality  traits. Then I moved on to the villain. Once I was finished with my ideas for my characters, I gave them the opportunity to think about theirs and to fill out the character portion of the map. I proceeded in the same manner for all of the narrative elements. 

When students were ready to begin their drafts, I modeled how I might start. I also made sure they understood that  the main character is introduced, a setting is identified, and little bit of the problem appears early in the story. 

Week 4-- I am a fan of the Six Traits of Writing so for each major writing project I pick trait for our focus. Once the drafts are finished, we begin to revise for the identified trait. I usually give students the opportunity to pair up and give feedback to each other. When revisions are completed, students move on to editing for spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.

Final copies may be handwritten or typed on the computer. Names are drawn and those students are given the opportunity to read their stories to the class. Another option is to pair up students or place them in groups of three to read to each other. One of my favorite ways to share is to visit a younger class and read the stories to them.  

Click below to download this Freebie from my TpT store for more directions for this writing project along with a printable copy of the Narrative Elements Map, final copy response sheets, and a scoring checklist.

Thanks for dropping anchor to visit my blog. You're welcome any time, me heartie!


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