We worked together as a class to create a continuum of beginnings. We thought about all the different ways we could begin a story, and then arranged them with the more sophisticated beginnings at the top of our chart, and the more basic beginnings at the bottom of the chart. In retrospect, I would have added an arrow to the side.... but there wasn't room left when I was done, so I just added it on the whiteboard next to it.
1. Use a motion word or sound.
2. Pose a question.
3. Use a quotation.
4. Just jump into the story and start "talking" to the reader.
5. Restate the prompt. Rearrange the words to create an opening paragraph.
My students really responded to the idea of a "continuum" of beginnings to chose from. In another conference after this lesson, one student said that he liked that the could "start with number 5" as a beginning to get over his writer's block, and then edit it later to be something more interesting. As a teacher, I loved how this lends itself to differentiation for the students!
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