One thing that can bog down a great story is spending too long on many small details. At least that was my experience when taking 2-3 days to ask a story, finding that kids got bored with all that lack of action and stopped caring where the story went. Still, there’s something great about a vivid scene that’s often lost in otherwise simple, action-packed stories. Thus, I present Most Vivid Scene (MVS)…
MVS feels a bit like One Word Image (OWI), only with a competitive edge. The first time I did this as a whole class without the following competitive edge. Even without any OWI guides, I noticed that the class spent quite a bit of time on the character in our scene anyway, probably influenced by co-creating a character earlier, but I just guided them to consider the entire picture.
MVS also differs from OWI in that there’s no artist. This is because so much gets added along the way that could otherwise alter drawn details. Not having an artist also sets up another combo of more input activities along the way. Why have a single rendition when we could do a Listen & Draw with as many drawings of the scene as students?
So, after leading a whole class description of a really detailed scene via AQUA (Ask Questions Use Answers), MVS can become a timed writing activity for that competitive edge. N.B. just set a short timer to limit output and get back to input. In this activity, groups vie for the highest overall word count for the win. Include special captions any group can sweep:
– longest sentence
– most conjunctions
– most subordination
– most adjectives
Consider placing restrictions, such as 2-3 max adjectives per noun (e.g. avoiding something like “they were happy and tall and funny and clever and mysterious and athletic,” etc.), or anything else that comes up. After groups compete, go back to a whole class Read & Discuss of student writing (making edits on the fly) along with caption awards. Type those up to provide as another reading option to begin class the next day, or print and place in their folders for daily reading options at home.
Here are two samples from class. This is actually the very first writing these students have done (besides the copying during Write & Discuss, but that isn’t writing in the sense of output), and took place after about 38 hours of CI. Since students were in groups, I wouldn’t look too much into things. However, I see similar results here as I do from 2014-15 when I did a looooooooot of writing early on. In fact, these timed writes look pretty close to the ones anywhere from ~20-40 hours with agreement and case all over the place, but clear nonetheless. Oh, and the bottom one continues on the back to 70 words. The scenes below will be great input for other students (and classes) after a bit of editing. So, if individual timed writes beginning after Thanksgiving show similar progress, it’d be more evidence that writing for the beginner doesn’t really improve writing much all; input, and reading does.
Make this a combo by adding Listen & Draw, or Storyboard Dictation to get drawings, Picture Talk them, then compile along with the scenes for new texts on the FVR shelf.
For other input hypermiling combos, follow this workflow:
1) Get a text
2) Read that text
3) Do an activity that gets you a) more texts, b) drawings, or c) both
4) a) Read those new texts, b) Picture Talk the drawings, or c) both
5) Compile texts & drawings into FVR packet